MSU researchers’ rapid COVID-19 antibody test wins TechConnect innovation award

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MSU College of Veterinary Medicine researchers, left to right, Keun Seok Seo, Nogi Park and Joo Youn Park have developed a new method to rapidly detect COVID-19 neutralizing antibodies. The invention was recognized with an Innovation Award at the TechConnect Global Innovation Conference and Exhibition. (Photo by Tom Thompson)

Contact: James Carskadon

STARKVILLE, Mississippi — The patent-pending method of a Mississippi State University research team to rapidly detect COVID-19 neutralizing antibodies is recognized this week at a leading global technology conference.

A team of researchers led by Keun Seok Seo, associate professor in the Department of Comparative Biomedical Sciences at the College of Veterinary Medicine, received an innovation award at the TechConnect Global Innovation Conference and Exhibition in Washington, DC. The group has developed a new method for rapidly testing COVID-19 neutralizing antibodies, providing an affordable and rapid test method that differentiates between neutralizing and non-neutralizing antibodies.

Research professor Joo Youn Park and postdoctoral associate Nogi Park also contributed to the invention. The researchers worked with MSU’s technology management office to file a patent for the invention and licensed the technology non-exclusively to Mico Biomed USA for commercial use. The product is currently being evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration in clinical trials at Mico and MSU.

Seo explained that currently commercially available blood tests cannot distinguish between antibodies that neutralize COVID-19 and other non-protective antibodies, but his test uses an innovative chimeric receptor protein that helps detect neutralizing antibodies quickly. The test can provide results in 15 minutes based on finger prick samples.

“This kit will be extremely useful in determining whether individuals still maintain high levels of protective immunity so that they do not develop asymptomatic infection and transmit SARS-Cov-2 to vulnerable populations,” Seo said. “This kit also helps determine when people need a booster shot.”

Jeremy Clay, director of MSU’s technology management office, said the innovation has the potential to fill a significant void in the diagnostic testing market.

“This is another great example of technology developed at MSU that can have an immediate societal impact,” Clay said. “Receiving an Innovation Award from TechConnect is a strong recognition of the promise of this invention, and we look forward to continuing our efforts to bring this technology to market so that it can be used in the fight against COVID-19. . “

At MSU, Seo played a key role in the university’s COVID-19 response by taking a leadership role on the COVID-19 diagnostic testing treatment team at the John C. Longest Student Health Center of the university. By processing the tests on campus, doctors and nurses at the health center can provide faster results to patients.

To learn more about the MSU College of Veterinary Medicine, visit www.vetmed.msstate.edu.

To learn more about the Office of Technology Management, visit www.otm.msstate.edu.

MSU is Mississippi’s premier university, available online at www.msstate.edu.


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