Just this year, in a vote held for the Longitude Prize, antibiotic resistance was voted the most pressing issue of our time. One of the biggest causes of antibiotic resistance lies in the farming industry; more than 3 times the amount of antibiotics given to humans are administered to livestock. Over-prescription of antibiotics promotes resistance in both livestock pathogens and natural flora, which can be transmitted to humans through meat and other products.
A cheap, quick, and reliable mechanism for detecting and identifying infection is one solution to this problem. We developed an E.coli based cell surface antigen expression system that can be utilized as a diagnostic tool for nearly any viral, bacterial, or fungal infection. The recombinant E.coli are utilized in a direct agglutination test using the host organism’s serum. Our team successfully demonstrated the feasibility of this diagnostic tool using a GFP antibody and antigen pair.