–UPDATE — 4/1/2016; 16:49 pm — This article was part of our April Fool’s edition. 13% of poll participants guessed that this story was fake. It looks like many of you didn’t read hard enough. A 3-D printed device for use in Brazil? A portable breath test? Not as far as we know. We made that stuff up. The Roche screening test, however, is indeed a real development.
Experts are predicting that the Zika virus will steadily continue to climb its way north, especially as the summer season approaches in the northern hemisphere. In anticipation, several companies and research institutions are working to develop solutions to rapidly screen for the virus.
Earlier this week FDA announced the availability of a screening test for blood donations, provided by Roche, (to be used under an investigational new drug application) in areas that have reported transmission of the Zika virus. This will allow locations that have stopped collecting donations to resume, including Puerto Rico, which reportedly imported almost 6000 units of blood from the continental United States over fears of contamination.
And here’s the April Foolery:
Other Zika screening tests currently in development include a 3-D printed device (the microfluidics are 3-D printed) intended for point-of-care use in clinics in Brazil; and a non-invasive, portable breath test, which has the potential to be used on-site in remote regions where healthcare is not readily accessible. “Although there is a push to develop rapid blood screening tests for Zika, having the ability to provide clinicians, and even non-healthcare professionals, access to a test that they can use immediately will provide far more value in ensuring early treatment of this disease,” said Gerard Velam, M.D., research fellow at the Institute of Infectious Disease in Brazil.