GeoVax Labs, Inc. announced a collaboration with the U.S. Naval Research Laboratory (USNRL) to develop high-quality antibodies useful for detection of Lassa virus (LASV), and potentially as a treatment for Lassa Fever (LF).
Lassa Fever is an acute viral hemorrhagic illness caused by LASV. The U.S. Department of Defense has an interest in the early detection of the presence of LASV to better protect and treat troops that may be in areas where exposure may occur. Development of high quality antibodies useful for detection applications requires a high-quality vaccine. Currently, GeoVax’s LASV vaccine (GEO-LM01) represents the state of the art and is the best starting point for USNRL’s efforts to develop single domain antibodies that recognize LASV with high affinity and specificity. USNRL will utilize the GeoVax vaccine to immunize llamas, whose immune systems are uniquely suited for rapid and cost-effective production of single domain antibodies suitable for use in biosensor applications.
Farshad Guirakhoo, PhD, GeoVax’s Chief Scientific Officer, stated, “We are pleased to be working with Drs. Ellen Goldman and George Anderson at the USNRL on diagnostics and potential therapeutic aspects of our GEO-LM01 vaccine, as these are complementary to our ongoing collaborations with The Scripps Research Institute and the Institute of Human Virology at the University of Maryland Medical School for development of a preventive vaccine against Lassa Fever.
GEO-LM01, has demonstrated single-dose 100% protection in a mouse challenge model, and is an excellent choice for inducing the specialized antibodies needed for an effective LASV biosensor. Single domain antibodies are an affordable version of monoclonal antibodies, can be produced in bacteria or yeasts in high quantities, can penetrate tissues rapidly, are able to cross blood brain barriers, and are resistant to extreme pH and temperature, making them ideal for biosensor applications and also potentially useful for development of therapies for LASV infections.”
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