Every summer, LIST looks back at the success stories from the previous year. In the spotlight is Leslie Ogorzaly who is working on the detection of emerging viral pathogens using aptamers.
In addition to the current SARS-CoV-2 pandemic, a large number of viral epidemics are linked to food- and water-borne viruses. In recent years, we have seen a considerable increase in the development and number of methods for detecting these viruses in different matrices, reflecting a recognition of the increased importance of these viral diseases.
LIST has chosen to study a detection method that uses aptamers. An aptamer is a short, single-stranded nucleic acid (DNA or RNA) capable of adopting a three-dimensional structure which renders it capable of binding to its target with remarkable specificity and affinity. Aptamers are more stable, faster and cheaper to produce, and have a longer shelf life and greater specificity towards their target than the corresponding antibodies.
Currently, no detection method utilising the benefits of aptamers is available on the market. In order to improve infectious viral disease detection we have implemented several projects aimed at developing the aptamers specific to adenoviruses. These projects have resulted in a patent that now opens up new prospects for industrial collaboration. The high potential of aptamer applications on the diagnostic market has been confirmed through market research. This research has enabled us to identify potential future partners for the marketing of our product.