German Researchers Develop First Test for Zika Virus

The first batch has already been shipped to Brazil.

Photo courtesy of Torange (cc)

Part of what makes the Zika virus so scary—other than the fact that there’s no cure or vaccine—is that only one in five people infected will show symptoms. It’s a relatively surreptitious outbreak; an infected woman might not know she’s carrying the disease until she gives birth to a child with microcephaly.

But that will soon change. German biotechnology company Genekam has developed the first test to quickly detect Zika pathogens in a blood sample, according to Deutsche Welle, the country’s state-run international broadcaster.

“Our test examines DNA and works with chemicals that react to the Zika virus only,” Sudhir Bhartia, one of the developers, said. “Similar pathogens like dengue fever won’t show up in the results.”

Genekam has already shipped its first batch of kits directly to Brazil. In a less dire situation, the test would have to be approved through a long testing process, but authorities made an exception because of the rapid spread of Zika in South America.

However, access to the tests is limited. Only certain practitioners are authorized to administer the test, and the kits have been delivered only to specific labs that have a sufficient amount of resources and equipment. Luckily, the test is affordable, costing about 5 euros ($5.45 U.S.) for each use.

The test comes as a welcome development amidst the ongoing Zika outbreak, which has spread across 22 countries in the Americas, according to the CDC. Brazil, the epicenter of the disease, reports 3 to 4 million cases of Zika. There have been several reported cases in the United States, all from people who recently returned from affected regions. The World Health Organization has declared the virus a “global emergency.”

Last week, British biotechnical engineers began releasing genetically engineered male mosquitoes to quell the wild Aedes aegypti population, the species that carries Zika (as well as dengue fever and chikungunya) in Brazil.


We've all felt lonely at some point in our lives. It's a human experience as universal as happiness, sadness or even hunger. But there's been a growing trend of studies and other evidence suggesting that Americans, and people in general, are feeling more lonely than ever.

It's easy to blame technology and the way our increasingly online lives have further isolated us from "real" human interactions. The Internet once held seemingly limitless promise for bringing us together but seems to be doing just the opposite.

Except that's apparently not true at all. A major study from Cigna on loneliness found that feelings of isolation and loneliness are on the rise amongst Americans but the numbers are nearly identical amongst those who use social media and those who don't. Perhaps more importantly, the study found five common traits amongst those who don't feel lonely.

Keep Reading Show less

He photographed Nazi atrocities and buried the negatives. The unearthed images are unforgettable.

He risked his life to leave a "historical record of our martyrdom."

via Yad Vashem and Archive of Modern Conflict, 2007

In September 1939, the Nazis invaded Poland. By April 1940, the gates closed on the Lodz Ghetto, the second largest in the country after Warsaw.

Throughout the war, over 210,000 people would be imprisoned in Lodz.

Among those held captive was Henryk Ross. He was a Jewish sports photographer before the Nazi invasion and worked for the the ghetto's Department of Statistics during the war. As part of his official job, he took identification photos of the prisoners and propaganda shots of Lodz' textile and leather factories.

Keep Reading Show less
WITI Milwaukee

Joey Grundl, a pizza delivery driver for a Domino's Pizza in Waldo, Wisconsin, is being hailed as a hero for noticing a kidnapped woman's subtle cry for help.

The delivery man was sent to a woman's house to deliver a pie when her ex-boyfriend, Dean Hoffman, opened the door. Grundl looked over his shoulder and saw a middle-aged woman with a black eye standing behind Hoffman. She appeared to be mouthing the words: "Call the police."

"I gave him his pizza and then I noticed behind him was his girlfriend," Grundl told WITI Milwaukee. "She pointed to a black eye that was quite visible. She mouthed the words, 'Call the police.'"

Keep Reading Show less
Good News

Rochester NY Airport Security passing insulting notes to travelers caught on tape

Neil Strassner was just passing through airport security, something he does on a weekly basis as part of his job. That's when a contract airport security employee handed him a small piece of folded cardboard. Strassner, 40, took the paper and continued on his way. He only paused when he heard the security employee shouting back at him, "You going to open the note?"

When he unfolded the small piece of paper, Strassner was greeted with an unprompted insult. "You ugly!!!"

According to Strassner, and in newly released CCTV of the incident, the woman who handed him the note began laughing loudly.

Keep Reading Show less

Facebook: kktv11news

A post on the Murdered by Words subreddit is going viral for the perfect way a poster shut down a knee-jerk "double-standard!" claim.

It began when a Redditor posted a 2015 Buzzfeed article story about a single dad who took cosmetology lessons to learn how to do his daughter's hair.

Most people would see the story as something positive. A dad goes out of his way to learn a skill that makes his daughter look fabulous.

Keep Reading Show less