Tuesday, September 8, 2009

Viruses have fingerprints, too, you know.

Researchers at the University of Georgia developed a new way to figure out whether that cough is just a simple case of the cold or the dreaded onset of something less desirable.

The process, in short, essentially involves sticking a swab up your nose and shooting lasers at the resultant virus-y product. Through enhanced surface Raman spectroscopy, the scattered light off of the DNA or RNA of the virus reveals what scientists call a molecular "fingerprint", unique to every mutation of most viruses. By a quick glance at the fingerprint, doctors can get a very accurate idea of what a patient might have within 60 seconds of collecting the swab sample.



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