Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Novel process represents faster and more economical route for devising countermeasures against biothreats, scientists say

Date:
November 5, 2012
Source:
Texas Biomedical Research Institute
Summary:
Scientists have developed a faster, less expensive route to screen suitable tests for bioterror threats and accelerate the application of countermeasures.

Texas Biomedical Research Institute scientists have developed a faster, less expensive route to screen suitable tests for bioterror threats and accelerate the application of countermeasures.

Related Articles


The new process screens for pairs of affinity reagents -- molecular magnets that bind to and hold on to their targets, be they toxins, viruses or bacteria. That will enable countermeasures to be selected and utilized much faster than the current practice. "Using crude extracts from E. coli, the workhorse bacterium of the biotechnology laboratory, the new route bypasses the need for purification and complex equipment, enabling screening to be performed in under an hour," said Andrew Hayhurst, Ph.D., a Texas Biomed virologist in San Antonio, Texas.

Normally, he said, such screening requires sophisticated costly equipment to purify and analyze the affinity reagents. Such analysis becomes a huge burden when hundreds of reagents need to be checked and can take weeks to months.

The process -- funded primarily by Texas Biomed and the San Antonio Area Foundation, and in part by the Defense Threat Reduction Agency and the National Institutes of Health (NIH) -- was described online in the November 5, 2012 issue of Nature Publishing Group's Scientific Reports.

"We need an inexpensive route to screen libraries of affinity reagents. It had to be simple and self-contained as we eventually needed it to work in the space-suit lab or hot zone," said Hayhurst.

His surprisingly simple scheme allows scientists to make stop-gap tests to any given biological threat in a matter of days, with the screening step completed in an hour. The goal now is to speed up the entire process to work within a single day.

Hayhurst initially developed the pipeline using llama antibodies as the affinity reagents to botulinum neurotoxins, known as the world's most poisonous poisons -- 100 billion times more toxic than cyanide and handled in a specialized biosafety cabinet at biosafety level 2. Satisfied that the system was working, he then took it into the biosafety level 4 laboratory with his assistant, Laura Jo Sherwood, and they generated a stop-gap test for Ebolavirus Zaire in days. This virus has been shown to be 95 percent lethal in outbreak settings and with no vaccine or therapeutic it is a risk to the U.S. through importation.

Botulinum neurotoxins and Ebolavirus are among a handful of threats now categorized as Tier 1 agents, presenting the greatest risk of deliberate misuse with the most significant potential for mass casualties or devastating effects to the economy, critical infrastructure; or public confidence.

"Being able to respond quickly to known biological threats will better prepare us for combating emerging and engineered threats of the future," Hayhurst said. "However, the great thing about this test pipeline is that it can be applied to almost any target of interest, including markers of diseases like cancer."


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by Texas Biomedical Research Institute. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Cite This Page:

Texas Biomedical Research Institute. "Novel process represents faster and more economical route for devising countermeasures against biothreats, scientists say." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 5 November 2012. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2012/11/121105081236.htm>.
Texas Biomedical Research Institute. (2012, November 5). Novel process represents faster and more economical route for devising countermeasures against biothreats, scientists say. ScienceDaily. Retrieved October 24, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2012/11/121105081236.htm
Texas Biomedical Research Institute. "Novel process represents faster and more economical route for devising countermeasures against biothreats, scientists say." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2012/11/121105081236.htm (accessed October 24, 2014).

Share This



More Health & Medicine News

Friday, October 24, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Breakfast Debate: To Eat Or Not To Eat?

Breakfast Debate: To Eat Or Not To Eat?

Newsy (Oct. 23, 2014) Conflicting studies published in the same week re-ignited the debate over whether we should be eating breakfast. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Ebola Fears Keep Guinea Hospitals Empty

Ebola Fears Keep Guinea Hospitals Empty

AP (Oct. 23, 2014) Fears of Ebola are keeping doctors and patients alike away from hospitals in the West African nation of Guinea. (Oct. 23) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Despite Rising Death Toll, Many Survive Ebola

Despite Rising Death Toll, Many Survive Ebola

AP (Oct. 23, 2014) The family of a Dallas nurse infected with Ebola in the US says doctors can no longer detect the virus in her. Despite the mounting death toll in West Africa, there are survivors there too. (Oct. 23) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Orthodontist Mom Jennifer Salzer on the Best Time for Braces

Orthodontist Mom Jennifer Salzer on the Best Time for Braces

Working Mother (Oct. 22, 2014) Is your child ready? Video provided by Working Mother
Powered by NewsLook.com

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.

Save/Print:
Share:

Breaking News:

Strange & Offbeat Stories


Health & Medicine

Mind & Brain

Living & Well

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

Health News

Environment News

Technology News



Save/Print:
Share:

Free Subscriptions


Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

Get Social & Mobile


Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

Have Feedback?


Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
Mobile: iPhone Android Web
Follow: Facebook Twitter Google+
Subscribe: RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins