Virus Hunter - W. Ian Lipkin

W. Ian Lipkin is a professor in the Epidemiology Department and directs the Center for Infection and Immunity (CII) to build new tools to detect disease faster and simpler to better contain epidemics.

Pivotal Work

Lipkin played a key role in curbing the sars virus outbreak by creating a test using a polymerase chain reaction technique to amplify viral DNA for detection, even in blood samples with minimal infection, to diagnose quicker than other methods

Current Precision Prevention Work

Lipkin and his team have since improved the technology to create a test called VirCapSeq-vert, which screens a single sample for the presence of hundreds of viruses. This tool contains 2 million genetic probes to detect and "pull out" unique DNA sequences using a magnetic process to identify the virus type. This platform could revolutionize how first responders react to deadly outbreaks to accelerate diagnosis, inform quarantine deliberations, and improve tailored medical treatments to save both lives and money.

They are currently expanding the technology to also detect bacterial as well as fungal DNA to provide a full picture of infections