020009: Compositions and Methods for Epizootic Catarrhal Enteritis (ECE) Therapeutics and Diagnostics in Ferrets
In 1999, a coronavirus was identified as the cause
of Epizootic Catarrhal Enteritis (ECE) in ferrets, a highly contagious diarrheal
disease for which there are no effective diagnostics, therapeutics, or
preventatives. This disease costs ferret breeders and owners millions of dollars
a year in health care costs and lost revenue. In 1996, approximately 800,000
domestic ferrets resided as pets in the United States and many other ferrets are
used extensively as animal models in biomedical research. Currently, ECE is
restricted to the ferret population, however coronavirus can cause disease in
many other species including canine, feline, porcine, bovine, rodents, and man
(SARS). Pharma is keenly interested in the Animal Health arena, including
diagnostics, screening, treatment, and prevention, as demonstrated by the rise
in R&D and acquisitions in this market. The veterinary vaccine sector
accounted for 20% of global animal health product revenues in 2004, and global
sales totaled $3.2 billion. It is estimated that the sector will grow in excess
of $4 billion by 2009.
This invention encompasses compositions of novel
oligonucleotide sequences from the ferret coronavirus and methods to develop ECE
therapeutics, prevention, and diagnostic screening assays for use in ferrets.
This invention also includes the generation of cell lines that express these
oligonucleotide sequences, enabling a screening test for potential therapeutics
such as proteins that bind to ferret coronavirus binding sites.
targeted effective therapies and prevention: Mutations or fragments of
the coronavirus oligonucleotide sequences could be used to produce antibodies
for therapeutic interventions or to elicit a preventative protective response,
diagnostic assay for ECE: Antibodies to the coronavirus oligonucleotide
sequences could be used to identify key components of the coronavirus involved
in cell mediated immunity and viral assembly.
screening assay for therapeutic candidates: The screening test targets
proteins that bind specifically to ferret coronavirus binding
- A new in
vitro model for coronavirus research: This invention provides an in vitro
system for future coronavirus research which may result in R&D discoveries
that will later benefit human health.
The invention's compositions and methods would be
used by veterinary and medical pharmaceutical companies to develop
preventatives, diagnostics and therapeutics for ECE in ferrets and possibly in
other species including humans. The end users would be veterinarians and
This invention is in early stage development; the
next step is proof of concept studies.
For Information, Contact:
Michigan State University