CITY-BASED High Security Animal Disease Laboratory (HSADL) has crafted another scientific breakthrough by developing a faster and cheaper method to produce antibodies – required for diagnosis of the dreaded bird flu virus and another deadly disease that afflicts bovines.
The antibodies produced by this new method are far more effective in diagnosing the disease, joint director in-charge of HSADL Dr H K Pradhan claimed while talking to Hindustan Times. He said this is first time in the world that this new technology termed `Phage Display Technique’ has been used to develop antibodies for avian influenza (bird flu) virus (AIV) and the bovine immunodeficiency virus (BIV) – that causes AIDS like disease in bovine.
Dr Pradhan said the new technology has been tested successfully on the bovine immunodeficiency virus while testing on the bird flu virus is underway. However, initial results have assured scientists working on the project of success for bird flu virus too, the joint director said.
He said while the phage display technique had been used in other parts of the world to develop antibody for few other animal diseases, it was for the first time the method has been used to develop antibodies for AIV and BIV.
He mentioned the method was far easier and cheaper as against the prevalent method of producing antibodies. In the present method (hybridoma technique) cancerous cells and antibody cells (taken from animals) are fused to generate cells that continuously generate antibodies as cancer cell elements does not allow this cell to die.
However, the process is quite lengthy and difficult and a large number of reagents including liquid nitrogen and proper laboratory environment are needed to maintain the antibody producing cells.
As against this, in the `phage display technique’ – the antibody-producing gene (from the antibody producing cell) is inserted into E Coli bacteria, which keeps on producing the antibody by multiplying the antibody producing part. Since there is no special environment needed other than regular refrigerator to sustain these antibody-producing bacteria the cost of production is reduced drastically, Dr Pradhan said.
He said tests on buffaloes and other cattle showed antibodies were 32 times more sensitive to detect the disease (bovine immunodeficiency) than the prevalent method (hybridoma technique). The virus was detected in 158 cases out of 249 as against in 63 cases detected by the prevalent method by the new method.