Elaboration of an Improved Technology for Obtaining Heterogeneous Anti-Anthrax Immunoglobulin for Urgent Treatment and Prevention of Anthrax in Bacteriological Contamination of the Places of Distribution of the Troops, Firing Grounds and Inhabited Localit
Tech Area / Field
- MED-DIS/Disease Surveillance/Medicine
- AGR-DIS/Disease Surveillance/Agriculture
8 Project completed
Senior Project Manager
Georgian Academy of Sciences / Institute of Bacteriophage, Microbiology and Virology, Georgia, Tbilisi
- Health Protection Agency / Novel and Dangerous Pathogens Department, UK, Wiltshire, Salisbury\nBattelle Memorial Institute, USA, OH, Columbus
Project summaryAnthrax remains one of the most important zoonotic diseases worldwide. Geography and environment play important roles in the spread of anthrax, and contaminated soil provides a significant reservoir of infection for animals and humans. Natural geological/geographical and anthropogenic factors may influence the organism, its antigenic structure, and the development of drug-resistant strains. At the same time it is necessary to underline that the frequency of outbreaks of anthrax in Georgia is increasing and is not limited to sporadic outbreaks as previously. During the past decade, about 300 people have been infected by anthrax through contaminated meat and soil; and there have been three fatalities. During the same period, hundreds of animals have perished. Emergence of infection is associated with the existence of more than 2,000 endemic areas, amongst which more than 200 areas have active disease. B. anthracis can also be used as a bacteriological weapon, and this issue became especially important after the events of October 2001 in the USA. Successful therapy of anthrax largely depends on early diagnosis of the disease and prompt application of effective measures for its treatment. In this respect, both nonspecific and specific treatments are important. In those cases where a patient develops bacteriemia and toxemia leading to damage to internal organs, including cerebral membranes, the use of anti-anthrax immunoglobulin appears to be a logical adjunct to antibiotic therapy.
The present Work Plan is dedicated to the development of a polyclonal immunoglobulin preparation, which will be produced after immuization with the most appropriate combination of antigens. Completion of the present Work Plan will result in the development of an immunoglobulin preparation providing broad spectrum prophylaxis against and therapy of anthrax. The immunoglobulin will be used mainly in animals, but can be used also in humans in rare cases of emergency.
This Work Plan basically is in the area of Applied Research; however, the project’s results may also have Basic Research value. For example, a satisfactory completion of the Work Plan may have a significant economic and humanitarian impact by affording an effective therapeutic and preventive measure against naturally occurring or man-made outbreaks of anthrax. The preparation described above perfectly meets these requirements. The developed product will be used in Georgia and also may be used in other countries with a high incidence of anthrax (e.g. CIS, East Europe, Asia, Africa).
The project team from the Immunology Laboratory at the IBVM has studied the diagnosis and immunologic treatment of anthrax in humans and animals during the past 20-25 years. On the basis of this experience, a kit (based on passive hemagglutination) was developed for rapid detection of the infectious agent in environmental samples. The group has also adapted this assay for the detection of anti-anthrax immunoglobulins in human and animal sera. The assay allows the determination of the anti-anthrax immune ratio and the titer of anti-anthrax immunoglobulins. In the 1970’s, the project team under the supervision of I.A. Georgadze has developed a novel technology for producing/purifying anti-anthrax immunoglobulins from immunized horse serum was developed (Author’s Certificate. No 731631 issued on 07.01.80), and the immunoglobulin was used successfully in the FSU.
The project team currently is implementing a study to detect, isolate and characterize new anthrax strains from environmental samples. Another pending project, submitted together with one of the foreign collaborators (Battelle Memorial Institute, OH, USA), is dedicated to the development of a novel technology for identifying vegetative anthrax organisms, based on the application of an appropriate bacteriophage preparation.
The present project meets the ISTC goals since it will involve weapon scientists from the IBMV, who formerly were responsible for producing a prophylactic/therapeutic anthrax vaccine and immunoglobulin, as well as specific diagnostic assays. The involvement of Georgian scientists promotes their integration into the international scientific community. They would, therefore, redirect their knowledge for peaceful purposes. Thus, the Work Plan contributes to the solution of national and international problems, and it may have an economically significant impact on Georgia and other countries.
The Work Plan comprises 9 tasks and 24 sub-tasks, which will be implemented during 36 months. According to the decision of the ISTC Board the project had be conducted in two phases. Phase I, which involved Tasks 1-4, is already accomplished. Presently the Phase II of the project is pending and covers Tasks 5-9.
To advance the existing technology for producing the above mentioned anti-anthrax immunoglobulin it is planned to undertake the following actions:
- select the most immunogenic materials from a broad spectrum of antigens,
- determine the optimal sequence for immunizing with the selected antigens,
- establish the immunization schedule providing the highest titers of anti-anthrax immunoglobulins,
- improve the purification methods for the immnoglobulins, and
- evaluate the specific properties of the immune preparations.
An extensive exchange of information between the CIS and US partners is expected in the course of project implementation, which will be accomplished mainly by e-mail, Internet, fax and phone. The US partners will provide comments concerning the technical approaches and methods necessary for successfully meeting the project’s goals. Exchange of materials and cross-checking of the results is planned in a number of project tasks. One of the foreign partners (BMI, OH) also will participate in monitoring of project activities performed by the ISTC staff. They will also assist the IMBV (CIS) staff in preparing for international meetings and in conducting joint workshops.
The International Science and Technology Center (ISTC) is an intergovernmental organization connecting scientists from Kazakhstan, Armenia, Tajikistan, Kyrgyzstan, and Georgia with their peers and research organizations in the EU, Japan, Republic of Korea, Norway and the United States.
ISTC facilitates international science projects and assists the global scientific and business community to source and engage with CIS and Georgian institutes that develop or possess an excellence of scientific know-how.