Prof. Mattan Hurrevich & Prof. Shlomo Yitzchaik
- When a vaccine fails, antiviral drugs become the only choice of treatment. Genetic methodologies (e.g., PCR) can readily detect the presence of viruses but cannot predict the efficiency of a drug treatment for a specific virus. The unpredictability of antiviral drugs efficacy poses a huge treat.
- The interaction between influenza virus (IV) proteins, hemagglutinins (HAs) and neuraminidases (NAs), to sialylated glycans (sialosides) on the cell-surface is a pivotal part of the adhesion and an infection mechanism. The differences in the structure, activity and substrate specificity of NAs correspond with the pathogenicity of the IVs and with the potency of antiviral drugs. The problem: Many anti-IV drugs target NAs but the variations between strains decrease the efficacy of treatment.
- Although substrate specificity of NAs can be used to differentiate between IV strains, there is a shortage in appropriate tools to determine the efficacy of a drug treatment for a specific pathogen on a clinical level. The outcome is that patients are getting an antiviral drug treatment that does not target the relevant IV. Routine methods to assess the activity of NAs rely on the availability of expensive sialosides and a lengthy process with several labeling steps. Alternatively, electrochemical methods can provide label-free methods for following enzymatic reactions on surfaces. Electrochemical biosensing is also suitable for glycan-based diagnostics combining high sensitivity with only tiny consumption of glycan.
A device that monitors viral activity which evaluates the efficiency of IV drug inhibitors and predicts their potency towards a specific strain.
In comparison to existing methods of analysis based on scarcely available glycan-arrays, our glycan-based biosensor has significant advantages:
- Simple labeling
- No need for quantification process
- Allow medical doctors to provide a treatment that targets the specific viral strain
We are seeking collaboration with different entities, such as drug development companies, healthcare systems, hospitals, public clinics, first aid facilities or an international organization for monitoring and prevention of pandemics and diseases.