Scientists of the National School of Biological Sciences (ENCB), of the National Polytechnic Institute (IPN), develop a unique research project in the country to design neutralizing antibodies to serve as biotherapeutics to combat Chikungunya virus, and improving existing diagnostic reagents.

Sonia Mayra Pérez Tapia, director of the ENCB Unit of Development and Research in Bioprocesses (Udibi) and responsible for the project, said the discovery of antibodies and their conversion into a product have great potential for human consumption.

As it is a study on a disease of national importance, the research obtained funding from the National Council of Science and Technology (CONACYT).

The researcher explained that in this first part of the project they will use an antibody discovery platform called the Phage-antibody Library, which was built in three years with the sum of different efforts. It is a world-class platform that has a high economic value, since it is at the forefront in the discovery of antibodies.

Pérez Tapia explained that the IPN built this platform thanks to different agreements and alliances, and it is designed exclusively for the Mexican population.

The IPN stated that a large collection of genes from immunoglobulins (molecules responsible for protecting us against foreign agents) of Mexican people was isolated to build the Phage-antibody Library.

These genes, said Pérez Tapia, were introduced through a series of molecular engineering strategies into a filamentous virus (phage), allowing expressing these genes on its surface; in this format, those that specifically recognize Chikungunya virus proteins can be selected, with which the researchers expect to achieve results in less than five years.

 

Source: La Jornada