My group is currently implementing 4 experimental research projects financed by EU and Romanian national research funds. Apart from this, we developed an Elisa assay for the detection of SARS-CoV-2 IgG antibodies, which is now a CE IVD marked product of our startup, Proel Biotech.

1. Implementing a multiplex methodology for rapid testing of hepatic viruses (MULTIHEP)

This project is carried out in partnership with the Institute of Biochemistry of the Romanian Academy of Sciences (IBAR), and financed by CNCS-UEFISCDI (project number PN-III-P2-2.1-PTE-2019-0226). The project runs from May 2020 to May 2022.

Abstract

Hepatic viruses represent a major global health problem worldwide with more than 325 million people being chronically infected. Hepatitis C Virus (HCV), Hepatitis B Virus (HBV) and Hepatitis Delta Virus (HDV) induce chronic infections and liver pathology ranging from liver steatosis to cirrhosis. The standard of care for HCV has been recently upgraded with direct acting antivirals being approved for clinical use. The present treatment for HBV is able to control the viral infection, but it does not achieve the clearance of the viral genome. HBV/HDV coinfection determines the most serious form of hepatitis and there is no specific antiviral treatment. In Romania, there is a high prevalence of HBV/HDV coinfected people. Thus, the diagnosis of patients infected with hepatic viruses and their early access to treatment represents a public health priority. Rapid detection tests (RDTs) represent an efficient method to achieve that goal. The present project aims to develop a multiplex RDT for detection of anti-HCV, anti-HDV and HbSAg in patient sera. Our test will use the HDSAg as a capturing probe for anti-HDV antibodies. HCV and HDV antigens will be produced in a recombinant prokaryotic system. Using these antigens, a multiplexed RDT will be assembled and tested in the research laboratory and medical testing laboratory as a prototype.

Group members

Pro-Vitam (project coordinator):

  • Dr Szilard FEJER
  • Dr Zsuzsanna JENEI
  • Dr Kinga RAKOSI
  • Dr Sinziana-Elena POPA
  • Monika KORODI (PhD student)

IBAR (project partner):

  • Dr Costin-Ioan POPESCU
  • Dr Emil NEAGA
  • Dr Paula Ecaterina FLORIAN
  • Lia CUCOS (PhD student)
  • George Nicolae Daniel ION (PhD student)
  • Alina Veronica GHIONESCU (PhD student)

Summary of research

The main activities undertaken in phase 1 of the project are the following:

  • expression and purification of a Hepatitis Delta virus antigen (IBAR)
  • development of an Elisa protocol for detection of HCV and HDV IgG antibodies (Pro-Vitam)
  • evaluation of antigenicity of the expressed HDV antigen with Elisa (Pro-Vitam)
  • evaluation of antigenicity of two HCV antigens expressed by IBAR, using Elisa (Pro-Vitam)
  • design of another Hepatitis Delta virus antigen, followed by expression and purification (Pro-Vitam, ongoing)

A detailed progress report for phase 1 (in Romanian) can be downloaded from here.

 

2. Experimental demonstrator based on Raman spectroscopy for quantification of glycated proteins in diabetes screening (DiaScreen)

This project is implemented through a partnership with the Babes-Bolyai University (project coordinator) and Pro-Vitam Ltd. (project partener), and financed by CNCS-UEFISCDI (project number PN-III-P2-2.1-PED-2019-3268). The goal of the project is to develop a method based on Raman spectroscopy that is portable, easy to use in a clinical laboratory setting, and can reliably determine the quantity of glycated proteins (haemoglobin and albumin) in patient samples.

Group members

Babes-Bolyai University (proejct coordinator):

Pro-Vitam (project partner):

  • Dr Szilard FEJER
  • Dr Zsuzsanna JENEI
  • Dr Kinga RAKOSI
  • Dr Sinziana-Elena POPA
  • Monika KORODI (PhD student)

3. and 4. – research projects in partnership with the National Institute for Materials Physics

These projects have two main goals – nanosenzor prototype development for detection of TSH and EGFR in patient samples, and studying the physico-chemical and antimicrobial properties of atorvastatin. The resulting publications can be found in the Publications section.