A home test for Zika? CRISPR may make it possible

Scientists develop new uses for powerful genome editor

Original source: Science

CRISPR, the powerful genome editor, may one day be used to detect infections or cancers in blood samples.

Three papers published in Science show how CRISPR-based systems dubbed DETECTR and SHERLOCK distinguished the Zika virus from the closely related dengue virus in samples, as well as the cancer-causing human papillomavirus.

The researchers showed that such systems could be simplified to work on test strips that resemble home pregnancy tests. It will take at least a few years to develop these products and prove they work, but they could become cheap, effective new diagnostics.