Current virus detection methods often take significant time or can be limited in sensitivity and specificity. The increasing frequency and magnitude of viral outbreaks in recent decades has resulted in an urgent need for diagnostic methods that are facile, sensitive, rapid and inexpensive. Here, we describe and characterise a novel, calcium-mediated interaction of the surface of enveloped viruses with DNA, that can be used for the functionalisation of intact virus particles via chemical groups attached to the DNA. Using DNA modified with fluorophores, we have demonstrated the rapid and sensitive labelling and detection of influenza and other viruses using single-particle tracking and particle-size determination. With this method, we have detected clinical isolates of influenza in just one minute, significantly faster than existing rapid diagnostic tests. This powerful technique is easily extendable to a wide range of other enveloped pathogenic viruses and holds significant promise as a future diagnostic tool.