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New Norovirus Antibody Added to Comprehensive Panel of Diagnostic Antibodies

November 10th, 2014

Portland, Maine - MBS has added a new norovirus antibody to a diagnostic panel that now includes seven monoclonal antibodies.  MAB242P, the most recently developed antibody, is the first MBS antibody to recognize both GI and GII strains of norovirus.  MAB242P complements our previous offering of antibodies that were exclusive for either GI or GII strains of the virus.  With this complete panel, MBS  now meets customers’ broad and diverse diagnostic goals.

Norovirus_table_MAB242P

About Norovirus: Norovirus is the most common cause of acute gastroenteritis in the United States. Each year, it causes 19-21 million illnesses and contributes to 56,000-71,000 hospitalizations and 570-800 deaths. Norovirus is also the most common cause of foodborne-disease outbreaks in the United States.  There are currently five known genogroups, of which three cause human disease: GI, GII and GIV.  According to the CDC, since 2002, GII.4 has been the most common cause of Norovirus outbreaks.

Order Norovirus Antibody Samples Today at sales@mainebiotechnology.com or 207-797-5454.

MBS Collaborator in the News – Ralph Baric on Controversial Research Policy

November 7th, 2014

How A Tilt Toward Safety Stopped A Scientist’s Virus Research

As cases of a worrisome respiratory virus continue to pop up in the Middle East, scientists who study it in the U.S. are struggling to understand how they’ll be affected by a government moratorium on certain kinds of experiments.

One of those researchers is Ralph Baric, a virologist at the University of North Carolina School of Medicine in Chapel Hill. “Any virus that has pandemic potential, and that’s any respiratory virus that emerges from animals, is a major public health concern,” Baric says.

And Middle East respiratory syndrome, or MERS, fits that description perfectly. Camels seem to carry it, and it has sickened more than 900 people so far. Over a third died.

If this virus mutates so that it spreads easily through the air, millions could die. “It would go around the globe quickly, and this would result in high morbidity and mortality, disruption of the economy, and, in some cases, the collapse of governments,” says Baric.

That’s why researchers want to learn as much as they can about MERS. It’s a type of virus called a coronavirus, which is the special focus of Baric’s lab.

Usually coronaviruses only give people a case of the common cold. But MERS is the second deadly coronavirus that has jumped from animals to humans. The first was SARS, about a decade ago.

“Ralph is probably the foremost coronavirus biologist in the United States and one of the best in the world,” says Matthew Frieman, a virologist at the University of Maryland School of Medicine who used to work in Baric’s lab.

He says Baric’s group has produced essential research tools — animal models, antibodies and mutant strains — that are used in coronavirus labs around the country. Almost anyone working on coronaviruses would admit that Baric is “the big cheese,” Frieman says.

And Baric gets a lot of funding from the government.

So he really felt the effects in October, when the White House did something unusual. Officials said they were halting certain government-funded experiments on three viruses — influenza, SARS and MERS.

The Obama administration was concerned about any research that could make the viruses more dangerous, so they wanted to stop and review studies to see if they could make these germs capable of causing more disease or spreading easily through the air.

Officials with the National Institutes of Health say that about 18 grants, contracts and planned research projects fall under the new ban. They say waivers can be obtained for research that’s critical for public health, though it’s not clear exactly how long that will take.

At first Baric was blissfully unaware that anything had happened. Word of the moratorium came out on a Friday afternoon when Baric was out of the office. He has four kids, and a daughter was getting married.

“I had a fantastic weekend. It was a beautiful wedding. It was one of the best times of my life. She was so happy,” says Baric.

He recalls that when he came back to work that Monday, he opened his email and was stunned to learn about the moratorium. He thought of all his lab’s research projects. “It took me 10 seconds to realize that most of them were going to be affected,” he says.

The government’s move came in the wake of some high-profile lab mishaps at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, plus some extremely controversial flu experiments.

Those flu studies made a deadly bird flu virus called H5N1 more contagious between ferrets, the lab stand-in for people. The goal of that work was to see whether this bird flu virus might mutate in the wild and start a pandemic in people. Critics were aghast. What if this lab-made superflu escaped?

“I don’t think it’s wise or appropriate for us to create large risks that don’t already exist,” says David Relman, a microbiologist at Stanford University.

He thinks the government was right to include SARS and MERS in this moratorium, because they are so close to being pandemic viruses.

“I’m quite delighted that great scientists like Ralph Baric are working on SARS and doing the work they are doing,” says Relman. “But there still are specific experiments that I think should cause everyone pause and potentially cause concern if conducted.”

For SARS and MERS, he says, “the one thing that I would feel most concerned about doing is to give them that one missing trait, their means of transmitting easily between humans.”

Baric says that kind of experiment is not happening in his lab. He’s not trying to change the way SARS or MERS gets transmitted. In fact, he doesn’t know of any lab trying to do that.

Still, his group has recently been tweaking the genes of the MERS virus. So is he making it more dangerous? “If you’re a mouse, the answer is probably yes, or at least I was trying to,” says Baric.

Scientists study viruses in mice, so they can test vaccines and drugs. MERS doesn’t make mice ill. Baric wants to alter the MERS virus so that it can make mice as sick as it makes people.

The trouble is, the government ban applies to all experiments that might make these viruses more dangerous in any mammal.

In response to questions from NPR, an NIH spokesperson sent this explanation:

“These three agents that are subject to the pause share the characteristics of not only being human health threats — causing in some instances significant morbidity and mortality, as you know — but furthermore having the potential to be the agents of a pandemic because they are transmitted easily by respiratory droplets. So experiments that would make them even more pathogenic in mammals (and hence potentially in people) were concerning enough to warrant placing those experiments under the pause until their risks and benefits could be better characterized.”

But Baric says, when it comes to SARS and MERS, there are key differences between people and mice.

“No. 1, mice don’t sneeze,” says Baric, so they don’t transmit these diseases through the air. And he says the process of adapting these viruses to mice actually makes the germs less able to infect human cells.

“They’re safer,” says Baric.

Still, he’s doing what the government wants. “The NIH has asked me to stop those experiments,” says Baric, “and so we have stopped those experiments.”

He’s hoping federal officials will soon grant him waivers that will let that work continue. He’s been told that other studies can go on for now but will need to be reviewed later.

Asked if his lab is creating any new forms of these viruses that would be more dangerous for people, Baric replied: “Absolutely not. And we do more genetics in coronaviruses than probably anyone else in the world.”

He was surprised that SARS and MERS were included in the moratorium. But he understands that controversial flu experiments did raise real concerns for scientists and the public.

“And as stewards of that public trust, I think we have to have open dialogue about that, I think we have to have transparency,” says Baric.

He says he may not ultimately agree with whatever guidelines are put in place, but “if that’s what it takes to continue the research, then that’s what we’ll do. Ultimately we are responsive to the public.”

It’s clear that Baric really, really likes viruses. They’ve fascinated him ever since a swimming scholarship took him to college and he got a job in a virology lab as an undergraduate. His life’s work began there at a sink, where he earned a couple of bucks an hour to clean the flasks and glassware. “I started as a dishwasher,” he recalls. “I’m pretty good at it. I can still do that.”

He later learned that he was also good at working with viruses in the high-containment biology lab, a specialized skill that not everyone can master. One of his co-workers, Lisa Gralinski, recalls that she always knew when Ralph was in that lab, because she’d hear disco. “You can see on the sign-in sheet who’s in there, but sometimes you can tell in advance based on the music,” she says. “If it was the Bee Gees, I knew it was Ralph.”

Baric says viruses can be dangerous, but they’re also elegant. They’re a form of life that’s so simple, he says, you actually have a shot at understanding how it all works.

“And so viruses provide beautiful, intricate probes that allow you to study that,” he says. “There’s a certain beauty in them.”

via http://www.npr.org/blogs/health/2014/11/07/361219361/how-a-tilt-toward-safety-stopped-a-scientists-virus-research

MBS Doubles Capacity for In Vitro Antibody Production

September 4th, 2014

In response to customer demand, MBS has significantly expanded roller bottle production space to continue efficient order processing.

Trust MBS to answer the critical questions for successful In Vitro antibody production:

  • Do you have an appropriate sized cell bank?
  • Are the media conditions optimized?  Is serum free media required?
  • Are endotoxin and contaminating proteins (e.g. bovine IgG) important to avoid for your end use?
  • Does QA validation require 3 lots?
  • What are the final parameters required for final concentration, preservatives, and aliquot size ?
  • What is your long term supply forecast?

Contact us at 207-797-5454 or sales@mainebiotechnology to book your ascites or in vitro antibody production today.

 

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Recombinant Protein Expression Now Available at Maine Biotechnology Services

June 18th, 2014

Portland Maine – Bacterial recombinant protein expression is now available as a service at Maine Biotechnology Services. When MBS develops recombinant antigen for a hybridoma development, the end use application of the antibodies is considered during every phase of antigen production.

Maine Biotechnology Services is announcing the addition of Bacterial Recombinant Protein Expression and Purification services to compliment our complete antibody service offering, adding value and efficiency to custom antibody development with MBS.

A typical recombinant antigen project at MBS will begin with a careful analysis of the protein sequence and characteristics to assess its suitability for bacterial expression. MBS will use this early analysis to anticipate potential risks and guide an expression strategy. After an expression construct has been obtained and the sequence verified, protein production will be evaluated in a small scale trial. Because bacterial recombinant protein expression always possesses the risk of low expression levels or insoluble expression, it is important to have a thorough evaluation process that saves time while also increasing the likelihood of positive outcomes. MBS developed a parallel small scale evaluation method that assesses multiple expression conditions to provide meaningful information regarding expression, isolation, and purification. The result is an efficient early evaluation that produces predictable large scale outcomes thereby supplying ample antigen for antibody development as quickly as possible.

As a company with rich experience in developing custom antibodies to difficult targets, Maine Biotechnology Services brings the specialized perspective of antibody development professionals to recombinant protein development services. When MBS develops recombinant antigen for a hybridoma development, the end use application of the antibodies is considered during every phase of antigen production. When protein production is complete, MBS provides a seamless transition to immunizations, shortening the overall timeline to obtain antibodies that meet end use requirements.

About Maine Biotechnology Services: Maine Biotechnology Services is a premier provider of antibody services, with a rich core competency in custom hybridoma development, production and characterization. A wide variety of tools and processes have been developed by MBS to refine clone selection early in a project, and to support customers all the way through functional assay preparation. It is the goal of MBS R&D to continuously add quality, synergistic services that create the most convenient and comprehensive antibody development process possible for our customers.

GST Monoclonal Antibody – Glutathione S-transferase

June 16th, 2014

MAB241P, a monoclonal antibody specific for GST-tag, is part of a growing list of MBS products aimed at assisting our customers in the detection of recombinant proteins.  MBS R&D developed the murine antibody using recombinant GST as an immunogen.  MAB241P was shown to recognize N or C terminal GST fusion proteins as well as recombinant GST protein in Western Blot.  The internal development and production of MAB241P allows MBS to maintain the highest quality standards and the ability to offer the lowest possible price.

JO GST Blot with caption

 

 

 

• Applications: Validated in western blot

• Reactivity: Recognizes free GST, C terminal and N-terminal GST fusion proteins

• Value: 100ug sample sizes available with promotional pricing of $75.00 for a limited time.

 


 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Other tag antibodies available from MBS include antibodies to His-tag and Maltose Binding Protein.

Contact us for bulk pricing at sales@mainebiotechnology.com

Food poisoning? It was likely a restaurant worker, says CDC – The Chart – CNN.com Blogs

June 4th, 2014

Food poisoning? It was likely a restaurant worker, says CDC
Approximately 20 million people fall ill every year due to norovirus, according to a new report from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, which says the food service industry could do much to decrease that number.

Restaurants and catering services are the most common sources for norovirus outbreaks from contaminated food, according to the report. “Infected food workers are frequently the source of these outbreaks, often by touching ready-to-eat foods served in restaurants with their bare hands,” CDC experts wrote.

Norovirus is the most common cause of acute gastroenteritis – often called a stomach bug – in the United States, according to the CDC. Symptoms generally include stomach pain, nausea and diarrhea.

Norovirus particles spread whenever an infected person vomits or defecates. Because swallowing just 18 norovirus particles can sicken a new host, the virus spreads easily, especially when the infected patient is preparing food for a lot of people.

Norovirus is also hardy: It can live for up to two weeks on countertops, survive freezing temperatures, and is resistant to many disinfectants and hand sanitizer.

The way to prevent infections via restaurants and catering businesses, says the CDC, is for workers to thoroughly wash their hands with soap and water, and to stay home for at least 48 hours after symptoms stop.

Unfortunately, that does not seem to be happening.

One in five food service workers say they have worked while sick with vomiting and diarrhea due to “fear of job loss” and “not wanting to leave co-workers short-staffed,” according to the report.

The CDC recommends that the food industry address these problems both with new policies and by better adhering to food safety laws and regulations that are already in place.

“Businesses can consider using measures that would encourage sick workers to stay home, such as paid sick leave and a staffing plan that includes on-call workers,” said the CDC’s Aron Hall.

While infected workers cause 70% of norovirus outbreaks from contaminated food, according to the report, the vast majority of norovirus outbreaks are non-foodborne, and occur in long-term care facilities such as hospices, nursing and assisted living homes.

Learn more about the MBS panel of Norovirus antibodies that including Sydney strain. 

via Food poisoning? It was likely a restaurant worker, says CDC – The Chart – CNN.com Blogs.

E. coli Recombinant Antigen Expression Now Available

June 2nd, 2014

Antigen Sequence to Monoclonal Antibody

For 25 years, Maine Biotechnology Services has been a leading provider of quality antibody reagents in both research and diagnostic fields.  MBS has long been able to leverage internal custom antibody service expertise to design, develop, and support the highest quality antibodies at affordable prices.  Three years ago, MBS built a new lab and dedicated research and development scientists to the endeavor of adding recombinant protein production capabilities to the MBS skill set.  After a year of R&D, MBS began to regularly use internal recombinant antigen production to support antibody product development.  Many of the most successful commercial antibody products in our reagent catalog, originated in the MBS recombinant lab. MBS is now proud to offer recombinant antigen production to our antibody development service customers.  The unique value Maine Biotechnology Services brings to recombinant protein production is the foresight to anticipate how the attributes of the recombinant protein will affect the goals of a hybridoma development in order to maximize the potential for total project success.

MBS E. coli Recombinant Protein Expression

  • An ample volume of E. coli expressed recombinant protein to support monoclonal antibody development
  • Project strategy and protein evaluation performed with a process designed to maximize expression levels and solubility. Fast and efficient execution while providing customers with real time project updates in order to make timely decisions
  • Hybridoma development strategy is designed to accommodate each recombinant protein’s characteristics.

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For more information on E. coli recombinant protein expression click here.

Contact us for a quote or to discuss project specifics.

 

 

 

 

MBS at BIO and AACC 2014

May 13th, 2014

MBS will be attending BIO International Convention in San Diego, California June 23rd-26th.  We will also be exhibiting at AACC booth #3748 in Chicago, Illinois July 29th-31st.  Meet with MBS Sales representatives to learn more about our growing service and product catalogs.  2014 is an exciting year at MBS as we roll out the long awaited additions of recombinant antigen production services as well as early assay development work to our established antibody development and production core services.  MBS is now proud to deliver recombinant antigens developed with hybridoma development and customer end uses in mind, fully characterized purified antibodies, and early functional matched pair assays.  Also from MBS R&D, the antibody reagent catalog continues to grow to now include antibodies to Norovirus, Rotavirus, Adenovirus, HIS-tag, Polyethylene glycol (PEG), Rift Valley Fever Virus, GST tag, Campylobacter jejuni, and many more.  

Contact us to set up a meeting at BIO International or AACC Conferences.  

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Chikungunya now an epidemic in the Caribbean

May 2nd, 2014

Chikungunya now an epidemic in the Caribbean                                       

Thursday, May 01, 2014 | 2:07 PM     

ORANJESTAD, Aruba (CMC) – The head of the Caribbean Public Health Authority (CARPHA), Dr James Hospedales, has declared the Chikungunya virus has reached epidemic proportions in the Caribbean.
“By definition this is an epidemic since it represents an unusual number of cases of this problem where we would never have it before,” Dr Hospedales told the Caribbean Media Corporation (CMC).

The mosquito-borne illness was first detected in the Caribbean in December 2013, in St Martin, and last week Antigua and St Vincent and the Grenadines became the latest countries to declare an outbreak.

According to Dr Hospedales, as of April 28, there were 4,108 probable cases in 14 countries across the region.

He also stated that Caribbean countries have been putting measures in place to address the spread of the virus.

“PAHO (the Pan American Health Organisation) since 2012 had done a preparatory briefing, in July of last year we convened a Caribbean-wide virtual meeting of the chief officers in the countries in the labs, to highlight this emerging threat and to adjust our surveillance protocols and laboratory testing to have early detection.

“In December, once it came into the region we established an incident management team, and that has regular contact with the countries, with PAHO, with the French and so on,” Hospedales said.

Chikungunya is spread by the Aedes Egypti mosquito, which also spreads dengue fever.

Hospedales noted there are steps that can be taken to contain the disease.

“Our main recommendations are to continue to educate members of the public on the current situation, and get accurate information to avoid confusion.

“It is very important to inspect homes and communities to eliminate potential vector breeding sites for the Aedes Egypti mosquito,” he said.

He also advised that people who are sick with fever and suspect they may be suffering from dengue or Chikungunya, should use an insect repellant and sleep under a mosquito net.

“This is not a severe disease, in that people don’t die from it, whereas dengue can kill you, but Chikungunya has more long term a significant per cent of people will have joint pains one year, two years afterwards,” Hospedales said.

To date the Chikungunya virus has been confirmed in Anguilla, Aruba, Virgin Islands, Dominica, Dominican Republic, French Guiana, Guadeloupe, Martinique, St Barthelemy, St Kitts and Nevis, St Lucia, St Vincent and the Grenadines, St Maarten (Dutch) and St Martin (French)

Contact us to reserve samples of anti-Chikungunya virus antibodies currently in development at MBS 

via Chikungunya now an epidemic in the Caribbean – Latest News – JamaicaObserver.com.

MBS-USDA Rift Valley Fever Virus Partnership

April 17th, 2014

Two monoclonal antibodies to the nucleocapsid protein of Rift Valley Fever Virus (RVFV), MAB239P and MAB240P, are now available for sampling from MBS R&D. The clones are a result of a partnership between MBS and the USDA-Agricultural Research Service  (USDA-ARS) to develop detection reagents for RVFV assays.

For this project, mice were immunized with RVFV lysates and screened for recognition of recombinant nucleocapsid protein (rNP). A sandwich ELISA against rNP demonstrated a sensitivity level of at least 6 ng/ml.

RVFV_Sandwich_with_MABS

 The clones were then screened by USDA-ARS by indirect ELISA against native virus to confirm specificity. 

RVFV_Final_final

In the final phase of validation for the antibodies, Dr. Scott McVey, supervisor of the USDA Arthropod Borne Animal Disease Research Unit (ABADRU), intends to deliver them to the USDA-ARS partnered laboratories in South Africa and other endemic African nations for assay development with clinical samples.  Future goals of the MBS-USDA-ARS Rift Valley Fever program include the development of antibodies to NSs proteins to support vaccine programs.

Link to the USDA Project Description 

 

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