Chikungunya, a viral disease transmitted to human beings by Aedes aegypti and Aedes albopictus species of mosquitoes is being reported in nearly 40 countries (including India). It rarely becomes fatal with periodic outbreaks in Asia and Africa since the 1960s. Owing to the similarities in the clinical symptoms, Chikungunya is sometimes misdiagnosed as dengue. To establish a proper diagnosis, vector prevention and control strategies of Chikungunya, an understanding of the fundamental aspects of viral pathogenesis becomes essential.
Scientists from the Institute of Life Sciences (ILS), Bhubaneshwar have successfully developed antibodies against chikungunya following a decade-long Chikungunya viral (CHIKV) infection based research. They have created and characterized efficient, sensitive, and highly specific polyclonal antibodies against the non-structural proteins – nsP1, nsP3, and nsP4 of CHIKV and a monoclonal antibody against nsP2 of CHIKV. The emergence of these antibodies will progressively help researchers around the globe to drive the way for complete chikungunya eradication as the CHIKV antibodies provide insights on viral pathogenesis.
From developing antivirals to implementing various control strategies, these antibodies are greatly significant. The team commercialized their antibodies to encourage advancements in CHIKV-based research in the not so far future. The antibodies commercialized were of great demand and received a huge response from research communities.