In the 14th century, plague was the cause of a pandemic wiping out 60% of Europe’s population. The bacterium responsible, Yersinia pestis, utilizes wild rodents as a natural reservoir and is primarily transmitted by fleas to other animal and human hosts. If administered early, antibiotics are effective at treating plague, but delayed or improper treatment can result in high mortality rates. Current methods of diagnosis includes blood cultures and multiplex polymerase chain reactions. These methods can be timely and require large laboratory equipment. Development of a rapid diagnostic for Y. pestis infections is needed.
Our researchers have developed a lateral flow immunoassay for the rapid diagnosis of the plague. This was done by developing monoclonal antibodies (mAbs) detecting the anti-phagocytic proteins Fraction 1 (F1) and low-calcium response V protein (LcrV), known virulence factors and biomarkers of Y. pestis infection. Reactive mAbs were evaluated for high binding affinity and pairing in an antigen capture enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay format. The mAb pairs were then used to successfully develop LFI’s detecting Y. pestis biomarkers for the rapid diagnosis of the plague.
- The antibodies we discovered can be used in the LFI mentioned above and also in other systems.
- Our diagnostic device is reliable, has minimal storage requirements, is easy to use, and can quickly produce results.
- Our method can be used as a quick and efficient method for diagnosis.
- We have high binding affinity novel antibody available for licensing.