New diagnostic CRISPR test can identify Zika and antibiotic resistance

Researchers have used the gene editing technology CRISPR — Clustered regularly interspaced short palindromic repeats — to create a diagnostic test capable of identifying viral infections, bacterial infections and cancer, according to research published in the journal Science.

The diagnostic system called SHERLOCK — Specific High Sensitivity Enzymatic Reporter UnLOCKing — works by targeting RNA changes that occur during infection. With SHERLOCK, researchers were able to identify Zika in serum, urine and saliva. Next, the test proved effective at identifying bacterial pneumonia and was even able to discern between different types of drug resistance among the bacterial strains. Lastly, the test proved effective at identifying genetic mutations associated with cancer.

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The high sensitivity of the testing system opens the possibility of new rapid and robust molecular diagnostic systems, according to a release.

More articles on infection control: 
3rd measles case confirmed in Minnesota — source of illness still unknown 
Flu still widespread in 18 states; 4 new pediatric flu deaths reported 
MRSA outbreak among infants at UC Irvine hospital undisclosed for months: 9 things to know

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