By: Lisa Podolsky, B.Sc Life Sciences, Tel Aviv University
Have you ever gone to the doctor following cold sores in your mouth, and waited over a week for the results??? The fact is, you are probably infected with the herpes virus. And the longer you wait for a diagnosis, the less likely antiviral therapy will lead to a positive outcome.
But, not to worry!! Apparently, there is a new test that has been developed to identify herpes in the blood .
Now, let’s begin by asking ourselves, what is herpes? The answer is that herpes is a virus. Did you know it’s estimated that between 60–95% of adults worldwide are infected with the herpes simplex virus-1 (HSV-1) ??
Well, it turns out that the symptoms of this strain of the herpes virus are usually limited to sores or blisters. It doesn’t end there, however; the virus stays in your body in a latent state, which is basically similar to falling asleep. In this state, amazingly, it has the ability to hide from your immune system!
In some cases such as stress or strong sunlight, the virus will travel back to your skin and cause an eruption of cold sores [3, 4].
At present, diagnosing HSV-1 may take up to a week to complete, and although alternative tests have been offered, they are still time-consuming and present more complications, which in some cases require a specialist .
According to a study, this new test does not require an immune response to the herpes virus and is extremely sensitive and faster than previous tests used to detect HSV. Additionally, because the test reduces the cost of a diagnosis, it can more effectively be used in hospitals or doctors’ offices .
To sum up, the faster Herpes is diagnosed and treated the better, which is exactly what this new test should allow doctors to do. Additionally, its advantages are a huge hope for wider applications, such as diagnosing HIV faster and more accurately.
All in all, the new herpes test is promising, and it will be interesting to see how the market accepts it once introduced.
- Muzard, Julien, et al. “Rapid, Highly Sensitive Detection of Herpes Simplex Virus-1 using Multiple Antigenic Peptide-Coated Superparamagnetic Beads.”Analyst (2014).
- Pebody, R. G., et al. “The seroepidemiology of herpes simplex virus type 1 and 2 in Europe.” Sexually transmitted infections 80.3 (2004): 185-191.
- Nahmias, André J., and William E. Josey. “Herpes simplex viruses 1 and 2.” Viral infections of humans. Springer US, 1984. 351-372.
- Whitley, Richard J., David W. Kimberlin, and Bernard Roizman. “Herpes simplex viruses.” Clinical Infectious Diseases (1998): 541-553.