A Virus Sleuth Called Dna

When they diagnose infectious disease, doctors often do tests to confirm their suspicions. If a test can't I.D. the pathogen directly, it may find indirect evidence, such as highly specific antibodies the immune system makes to fight infection. Such tests have drawbacks, however: They can't measure the amount of virus in the patient; antibodies often remain after an invader is gone; and sometimes, antibodies don't appear until long after the patient becomes infected--and infectious.

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