The University of California, San Francisco is holding a symposium today on preparing for the Zika virus. The school says topics will include epidemiology and prevention, vector biology and control, clinical management and policy, and the basic science of the virus.
Of especial interest for those following progress on the diagnostic front, Dr. Charles Chiu is scheduled to speak at the 1:00 p.m. (PT) session. Chiu told KQED's Sheraz Sadiq last month he was working on a new test to diagnose Zika in under six hours. Since then, Chiu said that although he'd completed testing of the technique on blood samples, he couldn't comment on its effectiveness while the results were being peer reviewed for publication in a scientific journal.
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A rapid test for Zika would be important because currently in the U.S. it can take up to three weeks from the onset of infection for test results to arrive. A faster tool for diagnosis would help public health officials to identify Zika hot spots, allow doctors to quickly inform pregnant women if they’ve been exposed, and aid in better containing the disease’s spread.