Special / ILS develops antibodies against Chikungunya infection

The Hindu : Jun 24, 2019, 10:03 AM

The Institute of Life Sciences (ILS), which functions under the Department of Biotechnology, has entered into a non-exclusive license for product commercialisation after having successfully developed antibodies against the Chikungunya viral (CHIKV) infection.

The antibodies were developed following decade-long research on the CHIKV infection at the ILS laboratory headed by Dr. Soma Chattopadhyay, a senior molecular virologist. In fact, Dr. Chattopadhyay has been selected for the Biotech Product, Process Development and Commercialisation Award 2019 by the Department of Biotechnology.

The ILS will partner with a biotechnology-based company for product commercialisation and marketing of antibodies in a 60:40 profit sharing basis.

Significant impact

“Generation of antibodies has had significant impact on the progress of CHIKV-based research. It will help researchers unravel myriad aspects of virus pathogenesis. Moreover, with greater light shed upon the CHIKV infection biology using these antibodies, research communities are now a step closer to developing efficacious antivirals and other control strategies against the Chikungunya virus,” said Dr. Chattopadhyay.

“With no prior antibodies reported against CHIKV, Dr. Chattopadhyay’s group was the first to develop and characterize novel, highly sensitive and specific polyclonal antibodies against the non-structural proteins - nsP1, nsP3 and nsP4 of CHIKV. Furthermore, her laboratory has also developed and characterized a monoclonal antibody against nsP2 of CHIKV,” said ILS in a statement.

Lack of information

The molecular virologist, who has 20 years of experience in the field, and her team, started working on this aspect as there was hardly any information on the basic mechanisms underlying CHIKV virus infection and pathogenesis.

“These CHIKV proteins were chosen as targets specifically for their critical role in virus survival as they largely govern the overall process of replication and infection in host cells. Development of these antibodies [nsP2 monoclonal, nsP1, nsP3 and nsP4 polyclonals] was therefore crucial to perform experiments pertaining to CHIKV infection, and thereby advance our basic knowledge ” said the scientist.

ILS sources said the antibodies against CHIKV were receiving a tremendous response, and were being purchased by research laboratories across world.