Researchers at the Moscow Lomonosov State University (MSU) in partnership with colleagues from the Russian Academy of Sciences have developed what they claim is a new express test system to pinpoint the influenza A type virus. The method is said to enable the identification of the virus and the determination of its concentration in biological fluids “within a few minutes.”
The MSU chemists suggested that the surface enhanced Raman spectroscopy (SERS method) be used to diagnose viral infections. The approach is based on a feeble optical effect called Raman scattering; optical excitation comes into contact with substance molecules, is scattered, and reveals in its scattered radiation spectrum new spectral lines that were not present in the initial light. By analyzing the scattered light spectrum the scientists could conclude what the substance’s molecular composition was.
“We determine the presence of at least 10,000 viruses in a biofluid specimen. So far we’ve been testing our method on model fluid taken from chicken embryos infected by various flu virus strains; but in future, SERS will help determine viruses beyond the influenza A type one,” said Anastasia Novoseltseva, a postgraduate chemist at MSU and one of the developers of the method.