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.

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 April 17, 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 April 17, 2014).

Share This



More Health & Medicine News

Thursday, April 17, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Could Even Casual Marijuana Use Alter Your Brain?

Could Even Casual Marijuana Use Alter Your Brain?

Newsy (Apr. 16, 2014) A new study conducted by researchers at Northwestern and Harvard suggests even casual marijuana use can alter your brain. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Thousands Of Vials Of SARS Virus Go Missing

Thousands Of Vials Of SARS Virus Go Missing

Newsy (Apr. 16, 2014) A research institute in Paris somehow misplaced more than 2,000 vials of the deadly SARS virus. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Formerly Conjoined Twins Released From Dallas Hospital

Formerly Conjoined Twins Released From Dallas Hospital

Newsy (Apr. 16, 2014) Conjoined twins Emmett and Owen Ezell were separated by doctors in August. Now, nearly nine months later, they're being released from the hospital. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Ebola Outbreak Now Linked To 121 Deaths

Ebola Outbreak Now Linked To 121 Deaths

Newsy (Apr. 15, 2014) The ebola virus outbreak in West Africa is now linked to 121 deaths. Health officials fear the virus will continue to spread in urban areas. Video provided by Newsy
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:
from the past week

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