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A speedy way to know what bug ails you


Narrator:       Flu season is upon us. This is Science Today. It can take up to a week to identify what kind of virus ails you. But that may soon change, thanks to a collaboration between the University of California, Irvine, and the Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory. UCI physicist Zuzanna Siwy says they're working on a simple and fast method to quickly detect viruses.

Siwy:  It's really important to recognize very early if a respiratory problem of a given patient are caused by common cold viruses or rather by an influenza virus, so that would be really important to know during our visit at the doctor's what is really wrong with us.

Narrator:       In the lab, the researchers are working with a simple device that includes a membrane with a tiny nanopore, a salt solution and an electric current that can move viruses, letting researchers identify them by shape and what electrical charge they emit.

Siwy:  The technique would be so fast that one could imagine getting an answer within an hour and that's a pessimistic estimation.

Narrator:       For Science Today, I'm Larissa Branin.