With the spreading of the Zika virus now throughout Latin America, medical researchers ratcheted up their efforts to find a better way of testing for possible infections and as well as a vaccine that could effectively protect people from this dreaded disease.
Researchers at Houston Methodist and Texas Children’s hospitals announced they have created the first rapid detection test in the U.S. meant for diagnosing people who are suspected of having the Zika virus.
The new procedure for diagnosis is designed to scan the urine, blood, amniotic and spinal fluid from an individual to determine if he or she contains any traces of the genetic material of the virus.
It developers hope the test would cut down the amount of time it normally takes to make a diagnosis that is conclusive from nearly one month to only one day.
While the two hospitals will make this rapid test for Zika virus available to their patients for now, both plan to offer this procedure to other medical facilities patients as well.
A spokesperson for the Houston Department of Health said that the researchers were finalizing their certification of the diagnostic procedure for the Zika virus.
Previous testing for the Zika virus involved the sending of samples to the Centers for Disease Control or to public health locations at the state level that can detect the virus.
Certain hospitals are attempting to develop diagnostic tests for the virus, said the spokesperson and expects other places will announce their own disease testing as well.
At the same time, University of Texas Galveston scientists are working closely at this time with officials from the government of Brazil for a possible vaccine for Zika, which has hit the South American country hard along with nearby nations.
That team has studied the disease, which is mosquito borne for 50 years and even issued a warning back in 2009 of the illnesses’ dangers.
One of the researchers said that until the disease hit Brazil so hard and appeared in other countries, no one was that interested in what Zika was.