Making Viruses Take the Bait

During the Zika virus outbreak in 2015-2016, scientists eager to study the mysterious virus were hampered by the low abundance of virus particles in any given sick patient. The process was “like fishing for a minnow in an ocean,” writes Leah Eisenstadt.

A new computational method could change that. Broad Institute scientists’ “CATCH” method—publicly available on GitHub—can help design “bait” for any strain of any virus known to infect humans—even those hard to spot in clinical samples due to their low abundance. The method could help detect outbreaks of diseases like Zika and Lassa earlier and more cost-effectively.

Broad Institute (news release)

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