A team of scientists has developed a new technique for the safe extraction of COVID-19 virus from the skin of healthy volunteers.
The team developed the technique to detect COVID and other respiratory viruses in the skin cells of healthy individuals and then extract COVID virus from those cells.
The technique could one day be used to identify individuals infected with respiratory viruses, as well as those with respiratory diseases such as COPD, the researchers said.
“This is the first demonstration of an efficient and cost-effective method for extracting COVID in healthy volunteers,” said senior author Dr. David G. Anderson, of the University of Wisconsin-Madison, in a news release.
“We have demonstrated a promising alternative to current COVID testing methods, which require large amounts of tissue to be prepared and the preparation of tissue samples from healthy volunteers.”
The researchers noted that while the method has several limitations, the technique was able to extract COIDS from human skin cells with a 90% accuracy.
They also said the technique could be applied to COVID vaccine recipients, as the skin is a natural reservoir of the virus.
“This work shows that there is potential for new, safe and effective COVID treatment techniques that are not only economical, but also safe and convenient,” said Dr. Gregory B. Kappel, of Vanderbilt University, in the news release .
“The challenge with COVID control measures is that they have not yet been proven effective and that many patients are unlikely to recover,” said Anderson.
There are more than 2,000 respiratory viruses circulating in the United States, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
COVID-18, which is transmitted by the Aedes aegypti mosquito, is the most common respiratory virus in the U.S. and kills more than 4 million people every year, according the Centers For Disease Control And Prevention.
The researchers are working on new tools to study the effectiveness of the method, including more detailed characterization of COIDS’ effects on tissue integrity and cellular structure, and their potential to extract viral DNA from human cells.