SoyChemist writes "Last week, the FDA approved a test that can check for twelve viruses at once. The device is made by Luminex which has a long history of building instruments that can check for almost anything — bacteria, viruses, antibodies, disease genes. In this case, doctors can simply swab their patient's nose or throat then send the sample to a lab where the viral genetic material is copied and stuck down to color-coated beads. Each type of bead recognizes a different virus. A scanner reads off which beads have DNA on them — thus identifying the pathogens. The new test can detect several types of influenza, but not H5N1, and is the first system approved to detect human metapneumovirus. It is a good step towards taking the guesswork out of medicine, which is desperately needed since viral infections are extraordinarily hard to diagnose, and antiviral medications like Tamiflu only work on some types of virus."
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