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September 17th, 2011
Fast or accurate? Those are typically your choices for flu diagnosis. But a new biophotonics approach offers both speed and accuracy, and low cost as well—all things that are supremely helpful during outbreaks, especially because antiviral drugs are most effective in the early stages of disease.
Gold nanoparticles—coated with antibodies that bind to specific strains of flu virus—form the foundation of the approach. By measuring how the particles scatter laser light, University of Georgia researchers have been able to detect influenza in minutes at less than a penny per exam. "We've known for a long time that you can use antibodies to capture viruses and that nanoparticles have different traits based on their size," said Ralph Tripp, Georgia Research Alliance Eminent Scholar in Vaccine Development in the UGA College of Veterinary Medicine. "What we've done is combine the two."
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