Simplifying detection

DETECTING the deadly hepatitiS-B virus will now be easier, thanks to a new technique developed at the Delhi-based International Centre for Genetic Engineering and Biotechnology. Instead of the usual uncom fortable procedure of puncturing a vein to get gobbets of blood to conduct the test, just a little prick in the finger to get a few drops of blood will suffice.

The test doesn't require the separation of blood serum to isolate the virus particles for analysis. Instead, DNA -the most vital genetic material - is first amplified 50 times using the polymerase chain reaction, and then examined by staining it with ethidium bromide. The entire affair is less time-consuming, adequately cost effective and less prone to contamination in clinical laboratories. Thousands of blood banks, depending mainly on professional donors for their supplies, will now be able to detect the deadly virus more conveniently with the help of this technique.

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