In the 1970's WHO proclaimed that eradication of smallpox should be attempted. This goal has been achieved 1979. There is now consensus that list of newly emerging or re-emerging pathogens is continuously growing. During the last decades pathogens such as Marburg, Ebola, Hepatitis-C and Hantavirus, HIV and more recently, SARS coronavirus have emerged. Today the risk of a new influenza pandemic again highlights the global threat of infectious diseases. In addition, the possibility of bioterrorist attacks using highly pathogenic viruses and bacteria can not be ignored. Furthermore, the requirements for sensitivity and specifity of diagnostics have increased. A major obstacle for the detection of pathogens in clinical or environmental samples are false negative results, e.g. for HCV "occult infections". This is mainly due to the lack of a rapid and reliable pathogen concentration methodology, and the inability of most of the currently used technologies to eliminate or neutralize interfering "natural inhibitors" present in samples. The aim of this research program is to exploit the "non-self" recognition and binding properties of human apolipoprotein H (ApoH). ApoH binds and captures pathogens enabling their concentration from different biological samples. Magnetic beads coated with ApoH recombinant protein can be efficiently used as a pretreatment step to greatly improve the detection threshold and thereby increasing the sensitivity for diagnosis of emerging pathogens, regardless of the molecular techniques used for their diagnosis. The project will focus on viruses and bacteria from clinical and environmental samples including those that could be used in bioterrorism. In addition to the incorporation of ApoH into regular molecular techniques for pathogen detection, mini-array chips will be developed for multiple and ultra-sensitive pathogen diagnosis.'
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Funding SchemeSTREP - Specific Targeted Research Project
La Grande Motte