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New test opens the door to routine testing for prion diseases

A study in mBio this week describes a new test for detecting prions in blood and blood products that could enable doctors to detect prion diseases in patients before they become symptomatic. It could also help put healthy individuals back in those Red Cross blood donation buses.

The technique, called enhanced Real Time Quaking-induced conversion, or “eRTQ”, couples two tests together: an immunoprecipitation method and quaking-induced conversion. According to the results described in the paper, the method can detect prions in blood plasma and is around 10,000 times more sensitive than prior tests.

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