Bhubaneswar ILS scientist gets national award for research on anti-chikungunya virus

Education Nation Odisha

Bhubaneswar: In a major recognition, Institute of Life Sciences, Bhubaneswar scientist Dr Soma Chattopadhyay has been selected for the Biotech Product, Process Development and Commercialization Award-2019 by the Department of Biotechnology of the Central Government.

The award was given to her for her scientific contribution for development of antibodies against the non-structural proteins (nsP1, nsP2, nsP3 and NsP4) against chikungunya virus. She has worked extensively on several viruses for last 20 years.

For the past ten years, her lab is focusing on several broad aspects of Chikungunya viral (CHIKV) infection with the attention primarily being the understanding of basic mechanisms of CHIKV replication and the host factors involved during the process of infection.

These studies have a larger goal to identify the crucial viral and host proteins that can serve as targets to develop appropriate control strategies.

Dr Chattopadhyay’s group is the first to develop and characterize novel, highly sensitive and specific polyclonal antibodies against the non-structural proteins- nsP1, nsP3 and nsP4 of CHIKV.

Furthermore, her lab has also developed and characterized a monoclonal antibody against nsP2 of CHIKV. These antibodies can be explicitly used as sensitive and specific tools for experimental investigations of CHIKV replication and infection. After successful generation, characterization and publication, ILS has entered into a non-exclusive licence for product commercialisation and marketing with of these antibodies with a biotechnology-based company (Abgenex Ltd) for its marketing.

Generation of these antibodies has had significant impact on the progress of CHIKV-based research bestowing researchers with an effective tool to explore and unravel myriad aspects of virus pathogenesis. With greater light shed on CHIKV infection biology using these antibodies, this has helped the research community progress a step closer to developing efficacious antivirals and other control strategies against Chikungunya virus.

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