Talk

Advanced search

"Seeing" the virus..... would it be possible to.....

(5 Posts)
OldQueen1969 Mon 01-Jun-20 23:28:00

Devise a scientific way of highlighting visually the virus on surfaces or even in the air?

Having watched way too many true crime youtube videos in lockdown, where blood residue can be detected via UV light etc, it got me wondering if this could be a valid way of tracking the virus? I have a forensic mind but little true scientific knowledge so wondered if this was anyway possible?

OP’s posts: |
PasserbyEffect Mon 01-Jun-20 23:38:56

That'd be great but am not sure how you'd do that in practice. Viruses are tiny. You would need something that reacts exclusively to the virus, and changes in a visible manner upon contact. Something similar to virus-specific antibodies could fit the first criteria. But antibodies are tiny too. You would probably need to engineer something on top, at the molecular level, to trigger a visible reaction (am talking out of my ass, not a biologist or a chemist, just someone who used to work with some)

OldQueen1969 Mon 01-Jun-20 23:52:21

Thanks for the reply - it probably is the stuff of science fiction but interesting to muse around the idea......

OP’s posts: |
PasserbyEffect Tue 02-Jun-20 00:52:24

It's not completely sci fi, though, in the sense you can do things like grow bacteria in Petri dishes, and eventually something visible shows up. And you can design chemicals to trigger reactions which makes tiny things visible to the human eye (like, there's simple tests to check if you have such or such antibodies in your blood, or pregnancy hormones in your wee)
But for viruses, I suspect you might need to "grow" them first before there's enough of them for you to see anything with your own eyes (complete wild guess, just thinking aloud)

However, you can collect samples from various surfaces, and analyse these in specialised machines (looking for specific DNA bits), and the result will show through a computer.

And if you shine strong enough UV light on a surface for long enough, you can kill viruses.

So, not too far off (and definitely more sensible than Trump suggesting ingesting bleach)

I'm quite hopeful scientific advances will eventually help us out of this crisis (assuming the virus itself doesn't beat us to it, and simply becomes naturally less potent over time!)

JaggedHedge Tue 02-Jun-20 07:19:04

I think there's hope sniffer dogs will be able to "smell" the virus - I'm sure I read an article about using dogs at airports to sniff out infected passengers?

That might be the closest we get..

Join the discussion

To comment on this thread you need to create a Mumsnet account.

Join Mumsnet

Already have a Mumsnet account? Log in