Integral Molecular to study immune response to Ebola, Hepatitis C for NIH

The National Institutes of Health (NIH) on Thursday awarded a $3.5 million contract to Integral Molecular to study the human immune responses to Ebola and hepatitis C (HCV).

The research will focus on the response of antibodies upon infection and whether or not they can protect against the spread of these diseases.

Using Shotgun Mutagenesis Epitope Mapping, the company will study target-binding structures for the HCV and Ebola viruses. This data will aid in the development of vaccines against these diseases.

The award was granted by the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Disease (NIAID) a division within NIH. It is also the second contract awarded to the company.

“Understanding the full range of antibody epitopes targeted by the human immune system is vital for designing effective vaccines and antibody-based therapeutics against viruses," President of Integral Molecular, Dr. Benjamin Doranz, said. “With this contract, we will isolate and characterize new human antibodies against Ebola and HCV envelope proteins. High-resolution epitope maps that describe how the most effective antibodies bind and neutralize these viruses will increase our understanding of how these viral proteins function and how they can be inhibited.”

This method of mapping is used to identify and analyze hundreds or even thousands of variants of a target protein, as it can pinpoint the specific varying amino acids that make up the protein. This method can be used with living cells, creating the ability to determine the native formation of complex proteins.

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