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November 17, 1978

New microscope techniques take the stage

JAMA. 1978;240(21):2233. doi:10.1001/jama.1978.03290210015003

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The world under the microscope continues to expand. At the recent meeting of the American Society for Microbiology in Atlanta, the application of a new method for viewing viruses in their fluids was described.

In general, biopsy or autopsy specimens have been most amenable to scrutiny by the electron microscope (EM). Now, using the pseudoreplica technique, Andre Nahmias, MD, and associates from the Emory University School of Medicine have detected viruses in body fluids with the EM with considerable speed and accuracy.

In the pseudoreplica method, an impression of a specimen adheres to a grid that is placed under the EM for analysis. What is viewed are virus particles unadulterated by extraneous material. Specimens can be processed for viral examination in less than half an hour. Viruses are distinct and definable, according to Nahmias.

A major asset of the method is its rapidity. In addition, the technique facilitates definition of