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Genomic "signature" in blood can reveal exposure to colds or influenza, even before symptoms appear

Scientists have identified a genomic "signature" in circulating blood that reveals exposure to common upper respiratory viruses, like the cold or flu, even before symptoms appear.

The tell-tale viral signature reflects a set of subtle but robust changes in genes that are activated as the body responds to infection. The signal from the signature is strong enough in symptomatic individuals to clearly reveal whether their infection is viral or bacterial. It can also discriminate between who has a viral infection and who does not - all from a single tube of blood.

"This work is still in a relatively early phase of discovery, but we are optimistic that these findings may lead to a whole new way of diagnosing infectious disease," says Geoffrey Ginsburg, M.D., Ph.D., director of Duke University's Center for Genomic Medicine in the Institute for Genome Sciences & Policy and the senior author of the study appearing in the journal Cell Host & Microbe.

Via- EurekAlert

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