Developing a better diagnostic for cryptosporidiosis

Research: News Roundup from the March 2019 issue of Canadian Cattlemen

Crypto is a major culprit in scours in calves.

University of Arizona researchers are developing better diagnostic tools for cryptosporidiosis.

Cryptosporidiosis, or crypto, is caused by a microscopic parasite. It’s a major culprit in scours in calves. It’s also a zoonotic and can cause serious infections in humans as well as other animals. Because the parasite can spread quickly and cause dangerous infections, early diagnosis is key to keep it under control.

Current means of detecting crypto present challenges including cost, performance, clinical significance and assessment of co-infection with other pathogens. The wide variety of diagnostic methods and the inconsistent application of techniques make it difficult to compare results from clinical and veterinary studies.

Veterinarian Dr. Michael Riggs and research specialist Deborah Schaefer have developed a panel of monoclonal antibodies that have proven useful for detecting crypto, states a University of Arizona press release. The reagents offer the opportunity for the creation of a rapid, highly sensitive diagnostic test for crypto.

“We are now making a characterized panel of mouse monoclonal antibodies available to the community for a variety of applications including rapid, simpler diagnostic assay development, antigen characterization and immunotherapeutic development,” Riggs said.

Riggs said the antibodies are useful for a range of research and development purposes. The university has licenced the first group of reagents to Kerafast, a reagent company based in Boston. The plan is to release more reagents in the future

“We are excited to partner with the Riggs lab to make these antibodies more easily available to scientists worldwide to advance research toward better crypto diagnosis and treatment,” said Matt Takvorian, director of business development at Kerafast.

“We look forward to continuing to expand our relationship with the University of Arizona to bring more of its lab-made reagents to the wider scientific community.”

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