Developing a serological assay for porcine cytomegalovirus

Project Details


"The global organ shortage crisis continue to grow. In Europe alone, an estimated 20 people die everyday whilst awaiting an organ donation.
A possible solution to this crisis is to use organs harvested from pigs. However, ensuring pig donated organs are free from viruses can be challenging. A virus of concern is porcine cytomegalovirus. This virus forms a lifelong infection in infected animals and is extremely prevalent. It is particularly difficult to test for as it can survive at extremely low levels in the pig body.
In January 2022 medics in the USA successfully performed the first pig-to-human heart transplant. However, the donated organ was unknowingly infected with porcine cytomegalovirus and the patient passed away 2months later.
We would like to apply for funding to develop a reliable and sensitive test for porcine cytomegalovirus to ensure animals used in future pig-to-human organ transplants are free from this virus. To do this we will first identify the antigenic proteins by using western blot, virus samples and sera from infected animals. Once antigenic proteins are identified these will be expressed as recombinant proteins and used in indirect ELISAs with sera from infected and uninfected animals. ELISA production options will be explored, to determine the option of greatest sensitivity and specificity."
Short titledeveloping a PCMV assay
StatusNot started

UN Sustainable Development Goals

In 2015, UN member states agreed to 17 global Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) to end poverty, protect the planet and ensure prosperity for all. This project contributes towards the following SDG(s):

  • SDG 3 - Good Health and Well-being


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