Fogarty Fellow: Anitha Jagadesh

Portrait of Anitha Jagadesh

Anitha Jagadesh, MSc, PhD

Nominated From: University of Minnesota
Research Site: Manipal Academy of Higher Education, India
Primary Mentor: Ryan Langlois

Research Project

Production of monoclonal antibodies from influenza virus-like particles and development of a rapid diagnostic test

Despite decades of research in influenza vaccine and drug development there are 3–5 million cases of severe infections annually, reaffirming that influenza is a global threat. Accurate and early diagnosis is essential for initiation of antiviral therapy and case management to reduce influenza associated morbidity and mortality. While sophisticated molecular tests are available for diagnosis of influenza, such tests are limited only to specialized laboratories. Point-of-care tests (POCT) or rapid diagnostic tests (RDT) remain the test of choice in most laboratory settings due to the speed in obtaining results and cost-effectiveness. Currently available influenza RDTs utilize antibodies against nucleoproteins of influenza viruses and can detect and distinguish between influenza A and B viruses. However none of the approved RDTs can identify the different subtypes of influenza viruses. Hemagglutinin (HA) is major surface antigen of influenza virus and is also used to identify the subtypes of virus. Developing an RDT using HA antibodies will aid in identification and subtyping of influenza virus. Virus-like particles (VLPs) are better alternatives to live virus (immunogens) as they are immunological similar, but safer since they do not replicate in host.

In this context the current study is aimed at developing an RDT for detecting HA antigen of influenza A and B viruses. A baculovirus expression system will be used to develop VLPs expressing HA proteins of influenza A and B virus. Purified VLPs will then be used as immunogens for developing monoclonal antibodies using hybridoma technique. Further, the monoclonal antibodies will be used for development of RDT.