Combination with insect cells may be a low-cost alternative for the production of tests and vaccines to combat liver diseases in Brazil
Per: CW/CEUB Machine
Based on biotechnological materials, Bruno Carrijo, a medical student at the Centro Universitário de Brasília (CEUB) developed molecular tests that detect the hepatitis B virus, which causes liver diseases such as Liver Cirrhosis and Hepatocellular Carcinoma (cancer), with greater specificity. The experiment, which used the combination with Baculovirus as a biotechnological tool, reveals an option of simple manipulation and low financial cost for the manufacture of exam kits and tests for future vaccines, aiming to improve the forms of prevention, diagnosis and treatment of diseases. liverworts in Brazil.
The research “Immune test for the detection of surface antigens of the Hepatitis B virus: a promising strategy for the development of an input for diagnosis” is the result of the Scientific Initiation Program of CEUB and was developed in collaboration with the Virology Laboratory of the University of Brasília (UnB) under the supervision of Professor Bergmann Ribeiro and under the guidance of Professor Anabele de Azevedo Lima and collaborators. To develop the research, the university used insect cell cultures with the recombinant virus (Baculovirus) containing the protein necessary for the diagnosis. Representing a cheaper and more efficient system, the product used favors the detection of Hepatitis B.
The experiment tested 25 patient samples provided by the Central Laboratory of the Federal District (LACEN-DF), and the samples were positive for hepatitis B with the presence of the antigen previously tested and identified according to the pre-established disease. In this sense, the study concludes that the main advantage of using the analyzed protein is the possibility of performing rapid and specific tests and even for the development of vaccines.
According to the academic advisor of the project, Prof. Dr. Anabele Azevedo Lima, the research lines of this project aim to identify regions with the capacity to react more specifically, avoiding cross-reactions with other viruses that have a genetic similarity to the hepatitis B virus. the development of input, such as, for example: specific diagnostic kits for this virus and vaccine production with a molecular strategy different from what we have on the market, with biotechnology developed in the country”, explains the professor.
Bruno Carrijo highlights that his main motivation was to go beyond the scope of the clinical vision, expanding the look at the need for investment in scientific research, the laboratory and diagnostic part. “The work reveals the possibility of using this combination for the production of kits diagnostics and, in the future, the development of accessible vaccine antigens against hepatitis B for the population. It is a study of great relevance for Brazilian public health”, completes Carrijo.
What is Hepatitis B?
Hepatitis is a disease characterized by inflammation of the liver and caused by five types of viruses (named from the letters A to E). Hepatitis B remains a public health problem, not only in Brazil, but throughout the world, even with the existence of an effective vaccine since 1981. It is estimated that there are 400 million people infected with the Hepatitis B virus worldwide and that 15 to 40% of these die annually.
According to the Ministry of Health, from 2000 to 2021, 718,651 confirmed cases of viral hepatitis were reported in Brazil. Of these, 168,175 (23.4%) refer to hepatitis A cases, 264,640 (36.8%) to hepatitis B, 279,872 (38.9%) to hepatitis C and 4,259 (0.6%) to Hepatitis D. The Hepatitis B virus is transmitted through the parental route, mainly through sexual intercourse, being considered a sexually transmitted infection (STI). Vertical transmission is also possible, passed from mother to child during childbirth.
Hepatitis B can progress to chronic hepatitis, bringing complications such as cirrhosis or tumors. According to the Health Surveillance Department, approximately 5% of patients progress to chronic disease and about 70% of newborns infected by vertical transmission are at risk of chronic disease. Hepatitis B and C are the main causes of chronic liver diseases, liver cirrhosis and hepatocellular carcinoma (cancer), which represents a significant burden for the Unified Health System (SUS).
Cover photo: CW/CEUB Machine
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