Hyderabad lab develops cost-effective biosensor for detecting JE virus

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The National Institute of Animal Biotechnology (NIAB), Hyderabad has developed a cost-effective and relatively less hazardous biosensor for detecting Japanese Encephalitis Virus (JEV), an official statement said on Thursday.

The NIAB has developed Fluorine Doped Tin Oxide (FTO) electrode fabricated with reduced Graphene Oxide (rGO) as an electrochemical-based immune-sensor for the rapid, sensitive and specific detection of the Non-Structural 1 (NS1) secretory protein, which in turn, is suitable biomarker for JEV found circulating in the blood and has been reported to elicit an immune response, the Science and Technology Ministry statement said.

“Since the conventional methods for JEV diagnosis are expensive, more hazardous and time-consuming diagnostic techniques and require an elaborate laboratory set up and trained expertise, this biosensor may be able to overcome these limitations,” it said.

The JEV is the leading cause of mosquito-borne encephalitis in South-East Asia and Western Pacific and is often misdiagnosed as dengue. JEV belongs to the family Flaviviridae and genus Flavivirus and exists in a zoonotic cycle. Since there is no cure available for JEV, early detection is essential to mitigate a breakout.

Detection of the NS1 instead of antibody has an added advantage since the antigen is present from day one of the infection and hence facilitates early detection. On the other hand, antibodies appear only after day 4/5 of the infection.

Docking studies were used to identify the specificity of the epitopes for different flaviviral NS1 with JEV NS1 antibody paratopes, followed by JEV NS1 sequence amplification, cloning and transformation, the release added.

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