Environmental Protection

Precision Antibody to Develop Monoclonal Antibodies for Parasite Detection

Precision Antibody™ was selected by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency to develop monoclonal antibodies to two species of Cryptosporidium (crypto), an intestinal parasite that has emerged over the past 20 years as one of the most common causes of waterborne illness in the United States, a company  press release said.

According to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, between 2006–2008, crypto was responsible for 42 percent of reported recreational water-associated gastroenteritis in the United States, and six percent of reported drinking water-associated outbreaks. The development of antibodies that substantially improve the sensitivity and specific detection and typing of this parasite over currently available methods may lead to improved tests for detecting crypto in drinking water supplies and recreational waters as well as the potential to develop effective treatments for people infected by the pathogen.

The terms of the contract call for the company to apply its proprietary technology to generate specific antibodies that bind with a high level of specificity to the two most predominant crypto species, C. parvum and C. hominis.

“With increasing numbers of people worldwide contracting illness from crypto-contaminated water, we are excited that the EPA has awarded Precision Antibody a contract to develop these important antibodies,” said Jun Hayashi, Ph.D., vice president of Precision Antibody. “Our goal is to deliver highly specific antibodies that will substantially improve the detection of crypto and allow a better understanding of this tenacious parasite.”

Crypto, which was not clinically identified until 1976, is found in lakes and streams in every part of the United States and worldwide, particularly where animal wastes and sewage have been dumped. The gastrointestinal illness it causes, cryptosporidiosis, spreads through the fecal-oral route — often through contaminated water — and causes diarrhea that can be severe as well as dehydration, fever, and abdominal cramping, with symptoms lasting up to two weeks. The pathogen is chlorine-resistant and can make anyone sick, but young children, pregnant women, and individuals with weakened immune systems are more likely to become seriously ill when infected. There are currently no effective tests for detecting Crypto in water resources, and no effective treatments available for people infected with the pathogen.

The project is 100 percent supported with federal funds provided by EPA under Contract No. EP10D000497.

Precision Antibody™ provides customized, high-affinity monoclonal and polyclonal antibodies to pharmaceutical and biotechnology companies as well as to academic, government, and nonprofit research institutions for use in discovery, research, and testing of novel pharmaceuticals, biomarkers, and diagnostic tests.

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