Rapid Infection Detection
April 20, 2017
Scientists adapt a genetic engineering tool to the task of quickly diagnosing infections.
BOB HIRSHON (host):
A high-powered germ detector. I’m Bob Hirshon and this is Science Update.
CRISPR is an acronym for a powerful gene editing technique that can find and replace bits of DNA. Now, in the journal Science, Broad Institute geneticist Feng Zhang and his colleagues report that a CRISPR-based tool called SHERLOCK can quickly identify germs like the Zika virus from a urine sample.
FENG ZHANG (Broad Institute):
It’s a different way of using CRISPR not for editing the genome but to detect and diagnose biological material.
Today, identifying some germs requires a blood test and days of lab work. Zhang says SHERLOCK will ID germs in a few minutes from a urine or saliva sample, at a cost of about sixty cents. The team also demonstrated SHERLOCK’s ability to identify different cancer cell mutations, allowing doctors to choose the best treatment for a particular type. I’m Bob Hirshon, for AAAS, the science society.
Story by Bob Hirshon