A new technique for detecting flu viruses has been developed that is so powerful that it could detect them in a petunia plant.
It’s not just a novelty to scientists; the technique is already being used to identify flu strains in other crops.
The team behind it is at the forefront of a growing field of new flu-detecting technology, which could lead to more accurate diagnoses.
Flu vaccine-maker Mylan’s new system has been used to help prevent a coronavirus pandemic.
Its new detection method can detect a strain of flu that is found in petunia plants in the US.
“This technology can be used in all types of crops including many more that are susceptible to disease than the pandemic, such as potatoes and peas,” Mylan Chief Medical Officer Dr. Daniele Pincarelli told ABC News.
“This is a technology that is able to detect and distinguish between a pandemic strain and a different crop.”
The technique works by analyzing a strain’s DNA, which is then compared with other crops’ strains to determine if the two are closely related.
In this new research, the team found that their new system could accurately distinguish between two strains of the influenza A virus in a range of plants including peas, carrots, corn and rice.
One of the key advantages of the new detection system is that it doesn’t require a person to know the strain of a particular plant.
It uses a technique called fluorescence in situ hybridization, which uses light to distinguish between different plant types.
Mylan is the first company to use the technique in a production plant, Pinclelli said.
Pincleli says it has been applied to more than 300 crops, including potatoes, peas, corn, carrots and rice, as well as a wide range of vegetables.
He says it’s the first time flu-related plant-specific detection has been done.
While the new technology is not a “one-size-fits-all” solution, Pincholano said it could help identify more strains of flu in the future.
With the new research in the pipeline, the company is working with researchers at the University of Texas, Austin, and the University in Arizona.