Jacqueline Weyer of the National Institute for Communicable Diseases in South Africa and Jinal Bhiman of Wits Health Consortium (Pty) Ltd also in South Africa will leverage a rapid monoclonal antibody (mAb) isolation and screening pipeline to develop diagnostics that differentiate between pathogens to support epidemic responses. Africa’s burden of many zoonoses and vector-borne diseases (VBD), such as Lassa fever and yellow fever, remains largely unknown, mainly due to diagnostic costs and limited access to reagents. They will leverage an existing screening pipeline, with infrastructure established by the Global Immunology and Immune Sequencing for Epidemic Response - South Africa (GIISER-SA) project, using a mouse model as a more readily available source of pathogen-specific B cells to identify mAbs that detect three ebolavirus species. These mAbs will be tested for sensitivity and specificity using patient samples and can be used to develop immunoassays, including rapid lateral flow assays, which are important for rapid, field-based diagnosis.
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