Brazilian scientists design Zika detecting test

Brasilia, Feb 11 (IANS) Brazilian researchers have developed a molecular test that allows the presence of the Zika virus to be detected in a patient in just five hours, the media reported on Thursday.

The University of Unicamp said the exam allows the Zika virus to be detected in blood, saliva and urine samples, Xinhua news agency reported.

This research was led by experts from Unicamp, along with others from the University of Sao Paulo (USP) and the Sao Paulo State University (Unesp).

Starting next Monday, the exam results will be used to test samples from suspected Zika patients from the Campinas Clinical Hospital in the state of Sao Paulo.

Samples showing Zika positive will be sent to Brazilian laboratories studying the disease, so that the virus may be isolated and used in attempts to decode its genetic sequence. This will hopefully lead investigators on new paths to fight the disease.

The new test is likely to replace the two current ones used to diagnose Zika, which take several days.

Currently, Brazilian health authorities need up to five days to detect Zika in blood samples and up to eight days to do so in urine samples.

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