In today's "Advances in New Pathogen Discovery" Colloquium at ASM, Joseph DeRisi, University of California, San Francisco, spoke about viral detection, specifically the ViroChip. In studies, the ViroChip has proven to perform with accuracy at least on par with PCR fopr know elements, DeRisi said. Any probably hits could be confirmed by Solexa sequencing.
DeRisi told attendees about two interesting projects his team is working on using the ViroChip. In one, researchers are testing children in Nicaragua to see how the device performs in an area where people are exposed to different pathogens, have different vaccinations and eat different foods.
In the other, the group is studying bee colonies transported from orchard to orchard around the country on the beds of semi-trucks. The researchers are sampling 50 bees a week from 20 different hives (as well as a bee-keepers' choice to take into account their experience and knowledge of healthy hives) over the course of a year, along with local insect populations at each destination, to see how introduced pathogens impact the colonies.