Hepatitis E virus (HEV) causes liver disease that infects an estimated 20 million people worldwide each year and kills more than 56,000.

New York: Scientists have developed an easier, cost effective ‘oral fluid’ test that uses saliva to diagnose liver disease and may eventually help develop its treatment.

Hepatitis E virus (HEV) causes liver disease that infects an estimated 20 million people worldwide each year and kills more than 56,000.

“HEV isn’t as well known as the other viruses that cause hepatitis, an acute or chronic inflammation of liver tissue,” said Christopher D Heaney, associate professor at Johns Hopkins University in the US.

Currently, the only way to test for both recent and past HEV is through a blood test that checks for antibodies to HEV or blood or stool tests that check for HEV genetic material.

Both sample types can be difficult to collect from patients in the field, and evaluating them requires resources that are often limited in low- to middle-income countries.

Researchers developed a new HEV test that uses saliva rather than blood or stool.

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