Bacterial Factories for the Production of Diagnostic Enzymes
Andrew Ellington of the University of Texas at Austin in the U.S. and the Alliance for Global Health will create stable enzymes that can be produced in developing countries and used directly in diagnostic assays to reduce costs. Enzymes are required in many diagnostic tests to detect pathogens such as malaria and HIV. However, they can be very expensive to buy and require refrigerated transport, making the tests prohibitively expensive in many developing countries where they are often most needed. Current enzymes, which are made by bacteria, can only be produced in sophisticated laboratories. They will adapt a novel, heat-stable enzyme to enable simple, on-site production for diagnostic tests at low cost and with minimal infrastructure. These features will facilitate accessibility and use in resource-poor conditions.