The design of rapid assays, such as lateral flow immunoassays (LFI), rely heavily on antibodies for antigen detection. While the antibodies used in these assays are highly specific to the antigen of interest, the generation of reagents necessitates the use of animals and is time intensive. A novel rapid assay that replaces antibodies with small molecule moieties would allow for the development of antigen specific assays in a timely manner, resulting in assay deployment shortly after evidence of an outbreak.
To meet this challenge, we have teamed with experts in Arizona, Washington, and Nevada to screen molecules for interaction with target proteins and build upon the established principles of diagnostic development to integrate synthetic components into the assay design. Funds to meet the project objective of ensuring that diagnostics keep pace with the emergence of novel pathogens or a biological terrorism event were provided by the Defense Threat Reduction Agency (DTRA).