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Smooth sailing: 'cruise ship virus' tackled by UH, Baylor College of Medicine

resence of Norwalk. If no light is reflected, then no protein/antibody bond has occurred and the patient does not have the Norwalk virus.

"This process may seem complicated, but it is actually much simpler than current tests for Norwalk," Ruchhoeft said. "By having the virus bridge the cube to the surface, you don't need to go through complex sample preparation steps, like extracting DNA, amplifying it and so forth. You could envision making a system work at a doctor's office or at an entry point to the cruise ship."

The ease with which Norwalk is spread makes it important to the field of biodefense, as well, which is a key point with the RCE helping to fund this research. According to Ruchhoeft, while the center is certainly interested in a more effective diagnostic tool for Norwalk, it foresees using this approach for other diseases, as well.

"If someone else has the antibody for other pathogens, then we can use it to coat the retroreflectors," Ruchhoeft said. "If we're successful in detecting the Norwalk virus, it opens up the possibility of creating a similar diagnostic tool for a variety of other infectious diseases."


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Source:University of Houston


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