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Diagnostic system for Kala-azar

Oct, 2014. Kala-azar or visceral leishmaniasis, the severest form of leishmaniasis caused by the protozoan Leishmania is the second largest killer by parasites (after malaria) infecting between 200,000 to 400,000 worldwide each year. It also poses the threat of HIV/VL co-infection according to WHO. Diagnosis of Kala-azar is challenging in terms of efficiency and accuracy and also the availability or the ease of use of the methods currently applied in the disease-hit areas. The use of aspirates from the spleen or bone marrow for the detection of amastigotes can be a highly invasive method and serological tests can produce false results. A PCR based method to detect with more accuracy, less sampling problem and more ease of use has been in the interest of clinical research in recent years. A group of microbiologists at the University of Dhaka and the BIRDEM hospital in Dhaka lead by Prof. Manjurul Karim recently identified and characterised sequences of the parasite as primers for an effective PCR-based diagnosis method. The method using venous blood samples produces 98% sensitivity and 100% specificity. The results have been verified with splenic and bone-marrow samples of the patients. This diagnostic system will be developed into a commercial kit for the global use in Kala-azar detection.

Probiotic for shrimp industries in South Asia

Sept 2014, Dhaka, Bangladesh. A group of microbiologists at the University of Dhaka have isolated and characterised probiotic strains that will help eliminate drug-resistant bacteria in the shrimp industry. The shrimp industry of Bangladesh contributes to a very large portion of the global shrimp supply chain. Bangladesh produces the finest and one of the largest varieties of shrimps in the world. This discovery will save the industry millions every year that used to be lost to bacterial infection at larval stages. The successful outcome of the research conducted at the University of Dhaka lead by Prof. Manjurul Karim, an ex-Manchester doctorate, demonstrates a revival of the infected larvae within 24 hours post-treatment.

Decoding the buffalo genome: a Bangladeshi mission

Jan 2014, Dhaka, Bangladesh. Lal Teer Livestock (LTL), an associate of the Bangladesh’s largest private sector seed company Lal Teer Seed, and the Beijing Genomics Institute (BGI) decoded the buffalo genome under a two-year project based on buffalo stocks from southern Hatiya Island and northern Dinajpur district. The joint efforts yielded a high-quality water buffalo genome with the size of about 2.77Gb, slightly smaller than human genome. There are 21,550 protein coding genes found in total. Sequencing the buffalo gene holds great potential for a poor country like Bangladesh where the per capita meat consumption is 7.3 kilograms per person, far below FAO’s recommended 120 kilograms per person each year. Similarly, Bangladesh’s average milk consumption is only 30 millitres per person, against the 250 millilitres recommended by the FAO. Livestock breeding and dairying have generally remained neglected in Bangladesh and the researchers are confident that better breeds of buffaloes would attract entrepreneurs and get vibrancy back into the sector. Genome sequencing the river buffalo (Bubalus bubalis) could help scientists identify and breed superior-quality buffaloes that yield more milk and meat. The initiative could also help cut down Bangladesh’s imports of meat, especially from neighbouring India which is the source of 80 per cent of the four million cows annually consumed in the country. Bangladesh also imports 4.5 million tonnes of milk powder annually. FAO estimates that an overwhelming 93 per cent of the world’s 171 million buffaloes are concentrated in Central and South Asian nations. (Adopted from SciDev.Net)

ImmunoSYS has embarked a post-genome project with Lal Teer to study the water buffalo for agricultural development and food security. The collaboration is expected to involve British expertise in genomic studies and agri-research from leading organisations to help Lal Teer in contributing to a sustainable agri-economy. ImmunoSYS is working on forming a research consortium between the two nations.

IMMUNOSYS NEWS

Collaborative Research, Nov 2015

ImmunoSYS has developed a research project with the University of Sheffield and Phenix Group of Bangladesh on liquid biofuel from algae in Bangladesh. The project has received early stage funding from the BBSRC. The partnership will facilitate a UK-Bangladesh academic-industry cooperation. Dr. Jim Gilmour of Sheffield University will be the scientific lead, he will visit Bangladesh in Jan 2016.

ImmunoSYS at China-Britain SME Partnership event in Manchester

ImmunoSYS met a number of companies from China at the China-UK SME event in Hilton, Manchester on 23 Oct. the event was organised jointly by the Bank of China and the UKTI on the occasion of the visit of the Chinese Prime Minister to the UK.

ImmunoSYS at BioHub, Jan 2015

ImmunoSYS moved to the BioHub at Alderley Park location in January 2015.

Conference GNOBB, Jan 2015, Dhaka

ImmunoSYS’ Dr. Masih Alam will be a keynote speaker at the ‘International Conference of Biotechnology in Health and Agriculture’ organised by the Global Network of Bangladeshi Biotechnologists (GNOBB) on 9-10 Jan in Dhaka, Bangladesh. The conference will take place at the University of Dhaka. Dr. Alam will speak on ‘Capacity build-up in biological sciences in Bangladesh’.

ImmunoSYS on EEN web

ImmunoSYS was interveiwed by the Enterprise European Network (EEN) at the Biomedica summit in Aachen, Germany in June. The interview was done jointly with Abundnz, their Netherlands based partner in a micro dosing and bio-analytical business. The interview can be viewed at http://vimeo.com/69311223