What if we had a COVID-19 test that was fast and reliable enough to make us feel safe before boarding an airplane or entering a stadium. This is why OVODAN Biotech has started developing antibodies towards the new corona virus.
The Covid-19 pandemic entered the world of THORNICO by the end of 2019. Starting to affect the Chinese activities and after the Chinese New Year, it spread to Europe during the spring and is now fully active in the US and Latin America. The epidemic and scientific knowledge about this virus are still lacking but what we know for sure, is that diagnostics and monitoring of the pandemic are crucial.
SARS-CoV-2, as this new Coronavirus is called in the scientific world, is in fact a perfect virus – at least from the virus point of view. It is a zoonosis and can infect certain animals (cats, minks), it is extremely contagious, and it does not kill the host at the same high rate as the Corona cousins SARS and MERS. Furthermore, the major part of the infected individuals are without symptoms, so they are not even aware they spread the virus.
While most nations from a society point of view are interested in monitoring how the virus spread to be able to contain the epidemic, we as individuals are more interested in if we are exposed to the virus by someone close to us or if we are infected ourselves.
The diagnostic tool today is a molecular test which is very specific and reliable in the perfect world (and the world is not perfect now). It detects the gene material of the virus from a nasal swab. But it takes at least 24 hours to get an answer if you are infected or not.
Another approach is to detect if the nasal swap contains virus surface proteins. Then we have access to much faster test methods and can reply with an answer within 15 minutes. Useful when you want to board an airplane, fill a concert hall, a stadium or a conference room. For this method is used antibodies and this is our core business in Ovodan Biotech.
At the beginning of April, we had access to some high-quality material to start developing antibodies towards a conserved virus surface protein – the SARS-CoV-2 spike protein. Shortly after we initiated immunization of hens to begin development of antibodies for the “virus quick test”.
By using hens, we have a generous source of antibodies from the egg yolk, and we expect the antibodies to be highly specific toward this virus. Ovodan Biotech antibodies for testing are ready in August.
We also planned to see if we can identify some specific antibodies which can prevent the virus from spreading and starting an infection when it has entered the body. For this project, we have started a collaboration with the University of Southern Denmark, Institute of Molecular Medicine, who runs another Covid-19 project and therefore have access to do the preliminary testing of the antibodies developed for this purpose. For this project, we have applied for funding from Innovation Fund Denmark.
For more information please contact:
Business Development Manager
OVODAN BIOTECH A/S