SEOUL, Aug. 24 (Korea Bizwire) – Antibodies play an essential role in the viral diagnosis of crops in Korea. The antibodies used are typically derived from blood samples of laboratory animals, such as rabbits and mice infected with a specific virus, once they are naturally produced by the animals’ immune systems.
This poses various setbacks. First, it can take up to a year for animals to develop the antibodies. There are also financial hurdles involved with breeding and maintaining the animals. The process raises ethical issues as well, since the majority of test animals are euthanized once they have served their purpose.
With such complexities in mind, Korea’s Rural Development Administration (RDA) teamed up with a cellular engineering team from Sungkyunkwan University to develop a technology to produce antibodies for virus diagnosis that does not require the use of lab animals.
According to the RDA, the new technology uses an existing human antibody library. The library contains an extensive number of antibody genes, which the RDA can now use to select specific genes for test-tube cultures.
The method allows for the mass production of test-tube antibodies, and is both faster and more cost-effective (about 85 percent of conventional methods), said the administration.
The RDA recently filed a patent application for the new technology, and will start using its Antibody Diagnosis Kit (developed from the technology) on potato farms across the country at the beginning of next year. It will also spearhead the export of the technology to countries including China, Vietnam, Kazakhstan, and Mongolia.
“Recent developments in climate change and growing imports of foreign farm products have increased the risk of viruses,” said an RDA official. “But with our new technology, we’ll be able to minimize the damages to our crops by reacting quickly to viral diseases.”
By Lina Jang (email@example.com)