Urine Based Rapid Molecular Diagnosis of Zika Virus (# MP23-03): Zika, a vector-borne disease, is associated with serious complications for exposed individuals. In pregnant women, exposure to the virus has been shown to cause brain defects in newborns including microcephaly and neurological and autoimmune complications. Researchers in Michigan explored whether a urine-based diagnostic could be effective in detecting Zika exposure. Using urine samples with Zika virus added researchers compared PCR testing to a new technology developed by the team: reverse transcription loop mediated isothermal amplification (RT-LAMP). RT-LAMP was shown to effectively identify Zika-positive samples in under 30 minutes (vs. hours needed for conventional PCR). This test could be used to more easily monitor patients potentially exposed to Zika, particularly pregnant women or those wishing to conceive.
HPV Prevalence in Males in the United States from Penile Swabs - Results from NHANES (# MP11-03): HPV is a common sexually transmitted infection, with some strains of the virus associated with malignancy and others with genital warts. Despite the availability of a vaccine to protect against HPV, the vaccine has not been included in routine vaccination schedules. Using a nationwide sample from the National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey (NHANES), which included penile swabs tested for HPV, researchers from Syracuse reviewed data for 1,520 men ages 18-59 and found that more than half tested positive for the virus. More men tested positive for the strains associated with penile cancer than strains that cause genital warts. Circumcision did not have a protective effect against HPV, with circumcised men showing a two-fold increased risk for these infections. Only a small portion of men had received vaccination for HPV, suggesting a need for more widespread use of vaccination.
“The occurrence of HPV and Zika virus is on the rise throughout the world,” said Dr. Branningan. “It’s important parents learn more about HPV and the benefits to its prevention. Additionally, the ability to more quickly detect and treat patients with Zika has the potential to vastly advance public health. This novel urine-based diagnostic technique will help improve detection and lead to a more rapid application of treatment.”