Scientists have developed a new diagnostic device that can potentially identify thousands of different pathogens from human samples.
Called the “GreeneChip,” this device consists of a glass slide onto which are attached nearly 30,000 pieces of genetic material taken from thousands of different viruses, bacteria, fungi and parasites. When human fluid and tissue samples are applied to the chip, these probes will stick to any closely related genetic material in the samples. This allows the rapid and specific identification of any pathogens therein-even those related to but genetically distinct from the ones represented on the chip.
The device has been successfully tested in detecting a previously undiagnosed fatal case of malaria that occurred during an outbreak of Marburg hemorrhagic fever in Angola in 2004-2005. They say this device may also be used in monitoring the emergence and epidemiology of infectious diseases.