In the current times, where several of us are fighting the race against the time to find the cure and prevention for COVID-19, the evaluation and the need for better technologies for virus-mediated cytopathogenicity have become more and more of relevance. The xCELLigence real-time cell analysis (RTCA) from Agilent technologies proves to be one such technology, making use of non-invasive electrical current based measurements.
Recent years have seen the escalation of health-threat and the emergence of new diseases, viruses majorly being the causal agents.
For example, Zika, MERS-CoV, SARS, Ebola, COVID-19 to name a few. Nowadays, one often comes across news about possible pandemic potentials.
Ever wondered how these submicroscopic infectious particles, described as ‘organisms at the of life’ (Rybicki EP, 1990) and famously known to be called as Viruses do their job? In brief, viruses infect the host cells, create multiple copies of themselves through self-assembly. The infected host cells often display Cytopathic effect (cell shrinkage/enlargement, cell lysis/fusion, etc).
Extensive resources in terms of labor, cost, and time are involved in developing remedies and therapies against these infectious particles. The need of the hour would be a technology/assay/method that will help in understanding the science behind the disease faster as well as in developing an efficient solution. Ideally, this method should be fast, sensitive, accurate, efficient, reproducible, and cost-time effective. The flexibility of monitoring the biological changes in real-time would be like the cherry on top.
The typical CPE assay, the plaque assays are labor-intensive, in-reproducible yielding end-point data, in some cases inaccurate.
Paving the way for real-time analysis of biological functions/change, Agilent xCELLigence real-time CPE assay is being used in both industrial and academic settings for several virology applications worldwide Click here for more information.
You can keep the xCELLigence RTCA even in an incubator!!
The gold biosensors: the captain of the ship.
The hero of Agilent xCELLigence real-time cell analysis (RTCA) is the Agilent E-Plates®, with 75% of its bottom coated with gold biosensors.
These biosensors allow the real-time quantification of physiological changes such as cell growth, cell death, or the effect of certain drugs against viruses on the cells. How is it doing this? Simple! With the application of weak electric potential, the gold biosensors submersed in an electrically conductive solution causes the flow of electric current across them. When cells adhere to them, impedance to the current flow is observed, the magnitude of which is cell function dependent. Now impedance in simple terms is nothing but obstruction of electric current. Importantly, cell health or behavior is not affected by the biosensors or the electric current.
What does this mean for a CPE assay?Let me simplify this for you. With cells adhering to the biosensors, you will observe that the impedance values keep on elevating, as per the growth phase of the cells. When you add viruses or a combination of the viruses and anti-virus agents, you will see the curve shifting uphill or down the hill respectively, depending on the mode of action Vaccine and Virology Applications.
The nine different Agilent xCELLigence real-time cell analysis (RTCA) instruments give users the flexibility of choosing the through-put. All of these variations make use of non-invasive electrical impedance to monitor and track cell health and behavior.
This impedance-based technology is INDEED a powerful tool for your viral research.
Keep tracking this space for our blog on the various applications of Agilent xCELLigence real-time cell analysis (RTCA) for virus-based research viz. for studying oncolytic viruses, anti-viral drugs, determination of virus titer, detection, and quantification of neutralizing antibodies and vaccine development.