From our archive of research and developments

Explore a list of our featured research and developments; using bioinformtics approach in developing a diagnostic kits, and vaccines with absolute unimaginable potential.

Development of SARS-CoV-2 vaccine (Candidate 1)

Helix Biogen Institute (Known as Helix Biogen Consult) in partnership with Thelvax has initiated the development of COVID-19 candidate vaccine containing antigenic component of surface glycoprotein of SARS-CoV-2 which was expressed in E. coli. The candidate vaccine is under development at Helix Biogen Institute Laboratory, which is undergoing animal trial. The vaccine in the nearest future will have a significant contribution to the eradication of SARS-CoV-2.

Designing SARS-CoV-2 Vaccine (Candidate 2)

Higher eukaryotic structures, such as insect cells, may generate large quantities of recombinant proteins with complex post-translational modifications (PTMs), such that human proteins that cannot be expressed in bacteria. Insect cell-based protein expression is a low-cost method for solubilizing and folding proteins of mammalian origin while retaining their antigenic, immunogenic, and functional properties. Helix biogen Institute in collaboration with Thelvax commence the development of COVID-19 candidate 2 vaccine which also contain antigenic component of surface glycoprotein of SARS-CoV-2 expressed in insect. It is currently at the animal trial stage.

Lassa virus vaccine (Candidate 1)

Lassa fever kills thousands of people per year in Western Africa. Lassa virus infections can respond to antiviral treatment in some cases, but there is no vaccine available. Helix Biogen Institute is working on a Lassa virus vaccine containing both nucleoprotein and surface glycoprotein component of the Lassa virus for endemic region. The Institute is ideally placed to develop this new conjugate sub-unit vaccine to help prevent and ultimately eliminate Lassa virus in African countries where they are most needed. This vaccine awaits animal trials.

Lassa virus vaccine (Candidate 2)

Antibodies with broad neutralizing activity are induced by adjuvant-formulated virus-like particles expressing native-like forms of the Lassa virus envelope surface glycoprotein. Helix Biogen Institute is working on the development of a Lassa virus vaccine (candidate 2) which contain the surface glycoprotein component of the Lassa virus. This vaccine currently awaits animal trials. It has the potential to reduce the occurrence of Lassa fever significantly.

Lassa virus vaccine (Candidate 3)

Several viruses in the Arenavirus genus of the Arenaviridae family cause serious hemorrhagic fever, which is sometimes fatal. Lassa virus (LV), for example, is a common cause of disease in Africa, and survivors frequently suffer from significant neurological damage. A single inoculation of a plasmid encoding full-length Lassa nucleoprotein (LNP) can induce CD8 (+) T cell responses in mice and protect them against infection with two arenaviruses, LCMV and Pichinde virus (PV). A DNA minigene vaccine encoding a 9-amino-acid sequence from LNP also induces CD8 (+) T cells and protects against arenavirus infection, confirming the findings. Lassa virus vaccine (candidate 3) that contains only nucleotide proteins is under development at Helix Biogen Institute. It also awaits animal trial.

Treponema pallidum Point-of-Care Diagnostic Kit

The risk of syphilis spreading heterosexually has decreased in the general population in low and middle-income countries, but it remains a problem in some high-risk subpopulations. In 2012, the World Health Organization (WHO) reported that 17.7 million people aged 15 to 49 had syphilis worldwide, with 5.6 million new cases annually. Helix Biogen Institute make use of bioinformatics approach in developing a diagnostic kit that could be adequately use in testing for Treponema pallidum.

Onchocerciasis Diagnostic Kit

River blindness, also known as onchocerciasis, is frequently spread when a person suffers recurrent bites from infected blackflies. The parasitic worm onchocerca volvulus is the cause of this illness. Microscopical examination for the detection and morphological characterization of microfilariae in skin biopsies is the standard method for diagnosing this condition in people. Snips have a high degree of specificity, thus it is generally believed that they are inefficient disease indicators since their sensitivity declines as the density of microfilaria in the skin decreases. As a result, considering the limitations of these diagnostic techniques, a precise diagnosis is required to help with the disease’s elimination. At Helix Biogen Institute, we used bioinformatics tools to predict and design a novel synthetic protein combining several immuno-dominant B-cell epitopes of different Onchocerca volvulus antigens to help lessen the burden of laboratory scientists for a prompt and accurate detection of the disease, especially in endemic regions where there is insufficient electricity supply.

Schistosomiasis Diagnostic Kit

After intestinal helminthiasis and malaria, schistosomiasis is the third most deadly disease. It is caused by a fluke. It has significantly increased morbidity and mortality and is responsible for roughly 200,000 deaths each year globally. There is a severe need for more effective diagnostic techniques because this disease is more prevalent in sub-Saharan African countries. However, due to their lack of specificity, current diagnostic techniques have significant limitations. Helix Biogen Institute has adopted the use of bioinformatics approaches in designing a more simple and accessible diagnostic kit that might be used to enhance the detection of schistosomiasis to significantly reduce the prevalence of the disease and improve global health in Africa.

Loiasis Diagnostic Kit

Loiasis is a neglected but significant tropical epidemiological disease that has over time only frequently gained attention for diagnosis and treatment. It is a parasitic filarial disease that is transmitted by deerflies, also known as mango flies or mangroove flies, which are frequently found in tropical rainforests in central and West Africa. Currently, the diagnosis of this illness is solely on the detection of microfilariae in blood, but this is only true in 30% of infections because there are not many convenient, commercially available diagnostics. It is essential to construct biomarkers with a high sensitivity to rapidly detect the presence of Loa loa. We apply in-house bioinformatics / immunoinformatic pipelines to design a highly precise diagnostic kit that is simple to use and can quickly identify filarial antigens in the blood of infected people to improve serodiagnosis accuracy.

Hepatitis E vaccine (HEV)

HEV is an agent of viral hepatitis in various countries of the world most especially in developing countries where there are inadequate resources. This virus spread mainly by faecal-contaminated water infection, known to be a serious threat to public health globally in which Africa is one of the regions greatly affected. Therefore there is a need for vaccine which can facilitate prevention against the infection in case of future. This vaccine is under development at Helix Biogen Institute Laboratory, awaiting to undergo animal trial.

Escherichia coli Point-of-care Diagnostic Kit

Foodborne disease, generally known as food poisoning, is a major public health concern. According to the FDA, food poisoning causes an estimated 48 million illnesses in humans yearly, with 128,000 hospitalizations and 3,000 deaths. To address the worldwide concern of chronic food poisoning caused by enterohemorrhagic E. coli, which has a high mortality rate, particularly among children, Helix Biogen Institute conducted a study to develop a peptide-based point-of-care diagnostic kit for rapid detection of this pathogen in food for easy and quick identification of the bacteria in infected food substance.

Plants Based Antimicrobial Peptides

Drug resistance resulting from long-term antibiotic usage has been a source of concern for many years. As the problem worsens, diseases caused by numerous pathogens spread very quickly and are exceedingly harmful to human health. Antimicrobial peptides (AMPs) have been reported to be a good alternative to existing antimicrobials due to their high antimicrobial activity and novel antimicrobial processes, which offer benefits over standard antibiotics in combating drug-resistant bacterial infections. E. coli is classified as a critical-priority microbe on the WHO’s list, which prioritizes microorganisms based on the necessity of creating new antibiotics to combat these diseases. We used a computational and molecular docking approach at Helix Biogen Institute to create plant-based antibacterial peptides against E. coli. This project is currently at the validation stage.

Breast Cancer vaccine

Cancer, particularly breast cancer, is a major threats to humans, affecting predominantly women. Although present medicines have been shown to be limited in their ability to inhibit cancer cell regeneration, this highlights the crucial need for a vaccination to battle future cancer cell generations. We developed a multi-epitope vaccine candidate that offers a viable path for effective immunotherapy against malignant cells.

Point-of-care Diagnostic Kit for Detection of Cronobacter sakazakii in Powdered Infant Formula (PIF)

Cronobacter sakazakii is a Gram-negative, facultative anaerobic, oxidase-negative, catalase-positive, rod-shaped bacterium that has been linked to powdered infant formula (PIF) contamination and infant foodborne outbreaks. Several challenges have been associated with the detection and identification of the organisms in dietary substances. As a result, there is a need for the development of a simple point-of-care diagnostic test specific to the organism. We developed a multi-epitope point-of-care detection kit to facilitate it easy identification of Cronobacter sakazakii in powdered infant formula (PIF).

Nipah Virus Vaccine

The Nipah virus is a zoonotic paramyxovirus that is spread by bats and can cause serious illness in people and animals, frequently with a high mortality rate. Initially, Nipah virus infections in humans were reported as a fast neurological deterioration syndrome after interaction with pigs. A widely accessible vaccination is critical for preventing a future Nipah virus pandemic. As a remedy, a novel approach to study the immune response has been devised that integrates biological systems with data-driven prediction tools. Using bioinformatics approaches for T and B cell prediction, an agent-based simulator of the immune response has been modified to incorporate pathogen and lymphocyte receptors. This is a crucial step in imitating an immunological response. Further validation using in vitro and in vivo approaches is presently underway to further establish the vaccine construct as an improved preventative solution to Nipah virus infection.

Marburg Virus Peptide Based Point-of-Care Diagnostic Kit

Marburg virus is an RNA virus of the filoviridae family that can cause significant disease. It is a serious virus that can cause hemorrhagic fever and has an 88% mortality rate. Many methods and approaches have been used to diagnose various diseases. The Marburg Virus illness is diagnosed using a variety of procedures and methodologies. Current diagnostic methods for detecting Marburg virus disease in a diseased patient, however, include IgG-capture ELISA, reverse transcriptase polymerase chain reaction (RT-PCR), and antigen capture test, which are reported to be difficult to scale up for use on a large number of patients at various clinical sites. This deficiency necessitates the development of simple, precise, and reliable rapid point-of-care diagnostics for Marburg virus disease that may be used on a large scale for prompt and on-site diagnostic decisions. We used a computational approach to develop a point-of-care diagnostic kit capable of identifying the viral antigen in a short period of time, facilitating treatment to begin immediately after diagnosis.