Dec. 04 2015

This Precision Medicine Technology Was Hailed as a “World Changing Idea”

A new diagnostics technology developed by the Center for Infection and Immunity at Columbia’s Mailman School of Public Health is featured as one of ten “World Changing Ideas” in the December issue of Scientific American.

First described in a September article in the journal mBio, the technology known as VirCapSeq-VERT represents a breakthrough in genetic testing that will give clinicians a fast, efficient way to broadly screen for viral infections. The new method can detect and characterize the genetic composition of every virus in blood, urine, saliva, tissue, spinal fluid, and environmental samples with exquisite sensitivity and accuracy. It is also affordable: the technology can screen 21 samples within 48 hours at an estimated cost of less than $100 per sample.

"VirCapSeq will enable physicians, public health practitioners, and basic scientists to investigate the role of viruses in health and disease, reduce the risk of pandemics through rapid response to outbreaks of infectious disease, and decrease the morbidity and mortality of viral infection through early and precise interventions," said Ian Lipkin, director of CII and John Snow Professor of Epidemiology.

Read the article.