Patent-pending antibody allows easier tracking of treatment effectiveness
Scientists from NTU Singapore, the world’s No. 1 young university, have developed an antibody which boosts the survival chances for patients suffering from influenza and pneumonia.
Proven effective in lab tests, the antibody is now being made suitable for use in humans. The scientists are also using the new antibody to develop a diagnostic kit which can help doctors accurately track the recovery progress of flu and pneumonia patients.
The patent-pending antibody has generated much interest globally. Two biotech multi-national corporations, Abcam based in the United Kingdom and Adipogen International based in the United States, have won the rights to license the antibody. The two multinational companies will produce the antibody for sale to global organisations doing research in vaccine and drug development.
The breakthrough finding was published in the latest issue of the prestigious international peer-reviewed journal Cell Reports.
Influenza epidemics, such as the deadly 1918 Spanish Flu which killed over 50 million people or the severe acute respiratory syndrome (SARS) outbreak in 2002, are of big concern to governments and the general populace worldwide.
The World Health Organisation estimated that influenza results in about 3 to 5 million cases of severe illness worldwide each year, with about 250,000 to 500,000 deaths annually.
Pneumonia is the leading cause of death in children worldwide accounting for 15 per cent of all deaths for children under 5 years old, and is among the top 10 leading causes of death in the United States.
This new antibody was developed by NTU Singapore’s Associate Professor Andrew Tan, who led an interdisciplinary team of scientists from Singapore.
“While it will take up to eight years to develop the antibody into a useable treatment for human patients, we are currently developing a diagnostic kit which should be commercialised in about three years,” said Assoc Prof Tan.
“The kit will help doctors diagnose the severity of pneumonia and the efficacy of the prescribed treatment. This is done by detecting the concentration of a particular protein called ANGPTL4, which is present in samples taken from patients suffering from upper respiratory tract infections.”
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