An improved test for Zika virus could prevent birth defects.
The results of a recent study from Beaumont Hospital in Royal Oak, Michigan, show that Zika virus can be identified by a urine test that does not require administration by a doctor and that delivers results in less than 30 minutes.1
The test and study’s developer, urologist Laura Lamb, PhD, sees great promise for identifying not only Zika but also other viruses and infections for which they are now working to develop similar urine-based testing. “Detecting these viruses earlier allows us to provide treatment faster and potentially save lives,” she said in a press release.
The Zika virus can be transmitted from infected mothers to their unborn babies and cause microcephaly and other lifelong birth defects. Dr. Lamb noted, “Couples trying to conceive might not even know they are infected and at risk.” More than 5200 cases of Zika virus have been reported in the United States over the past 2 years, according to the CDC.2
As soon as the test completes the research phase and receives additional funding, it is expected to benefit at-risk individuals worldwide.2