Ian Lipkin at Columbia University is scouring samples to look for viruses, and he has found 400 new ones since 2002, reports Carl Zimmer in The New York Times. "If scientists are lucky, they'll identify one novel virus in their whole life," says Anthony Fauci, the director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases. "Lipkin really stands out from the crowd." Instead of using microscopes to find viruses or tracking them down through antibodies, Lipkin searches for viral genes. To do so, he and his team developed MassTag PCR, which combines PCR and mass spectrometry to determine what kind of virus they are dealing with and recently, they have begun to adapt genome sequencing tools to their searches. With sequencing tools, the team found a new virus, called Dandenong, that killed three women after they received organs from the same donor.
Nov 26, 2010