PHOENIX — Researchers at Arizona State University are developing a test for the Zika virus that would cost just $1 each, the school said.
“You read the test results through a color change on a piece of paper,” Alexander Green, a professor at ASU’s Biodesign Center for Molecular Design and Biomimetics, said. “We try to keep our reactions confined to a single temperature, so you don’t need complicated equipment for changing the temperature.”
In other words, Green said, there is no need for refrigerators, freezers or other expensive equipment to run the test. The papers will keep up to one year.
Green said, from what he’s seen in the current study, the test is pretty accurate despite Zika often being found in very low concentrations in blood. If it proves to be useful, Green said the test could revolutionize Zika treatment and containment.
“If we know exactly where people are getting infected, we can focus our efforts on controlling those mosquito populations carrying the disease,” he said. “And we can make sure people in those areas take precautions to avoid being bitten.”
A person can become infected with Zika through the bite of an Aedes-species mosquito, sexual intercourse with an infected person or sharing bodily fluids with an infected person. The most common symptoms are fever, a rash, joint pain and red eyes.
Most people won’t die of the disease. However, the Zika virus can cause brain damage to unborn children.
The most common type of damage is microcephaly. A newborn with this will have a smaller-than-normal head. The child may have a smaller brain that didn’t develop properly.
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