The Genetic Link

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Article by: Shauna White

Oragene•DNA enables study to identify host correlates of protection against TB


I'm always fascinated to learn more about how our customers use our products. What diseases are they studying? What geographic areas are they targeting? What are they hoping to achieve? It's these questions and more that make every day interesting at DNA Genotek. I recently had the privilege to learn more about how one of our customers is using our product and I wanted to share that knowledge with you.

The South African Tuberculosis Vaccine Initiative (SATVI) of the University of Cape Town is a new customer who has tried the Oragene•DNA Self Collection Kits for the first time. SATVI's aim is to develop novel tuberculosis vaccination strategies. Their focus is on the clinical side of tuberculosis vaccine development. They therefore embark on clinical, epidemiological, immunological and genetic research to answer critical questions in TB vaccinology.

A large focus of SATVI's research is aimed at identifying host correlates of protection against TB, following BCG vaccination. These studies include looking at genetic differences between infants who are either protected or not protected against TB, following BCG vaccination. They are also interested in determining if there is a genetic disposition to susceptibility to TB by recruiting parents of both the protected and unprotected infants. They are collecting DNA from both infants and their parents, and will conduct target gene and whole genome screening to delineate polymorphisms that associate with protection. Over the course of the 4 year study, approximately 6000 samples will be collected.

SATVI's project is not without its challenges. Maximizing compliance of potential study participants is a major challenge faced by the SATVI researchers. In order to maximize the number of study participants, the researchers identify potential participants through procedures in place either at clinics or home visits. Subsequently, an appointment is scheduled with the whole family where the DNA samples are collected for isolation.

The study was begun with blood collection for DNA isolation of the participants. However, the researchers encountered misbleeds and study withdrawals from some participants, mostly because of concerns or fear of blood collection methods. A large percentage of the potential study participants are children so the researchers felt a non-invasive method of DNA collection would be very beneficial.

Recently the SATVI researchers decided to use Oragene•DNA for the sample collection because it offered them a non-invasive, easy to use and reliable method to collect samples. In addition, the Oragene•DNA kits were cheaper, less invasive and thus more appropriate for collecting from both children and adults in clinic environments and home settings. 

The researchers were able to achieve an outstanding 95% compliance rate with the non-invasive saliva collection method available with the Oragene•DNA kits. Overall, participant drop out has been reduced with the non-invasive collection process. In addition, they are achieving very high quantity of DNA with an average of 200ng/ul of DNA from adult saliva and 90ng/ul from infants. The quality is also very high with an A260/280 of 1.7-1.9. Oragene•DNA has performed reliably on their downstream processes - generating equivalent results to the blood kits used previously.

Oragene DNA collection

Overall, the use of Oragene•DNA kits has resulted in cost savings. The Oragene•DNA kits were less expensive than the isolation kits used to isolate DNA from blood. SATVI was also able to eliminate the cost of re-collecting blood for phlebotomies that failed on the first attempt.

"We believe the Oragene•DNA system is the most practical for collecting DNA in this environment. The Oragene•DNA kits are cheaper, less invasive and thus more appropriate in our setting," said Muki S. Shey, PhD Student, South African TB Vaccine Initiative (SATVI), Institute of Infectious Disease & Molecular Medicine (IIDMM), University of Cape Town. "Donors who have provided blood samples for other studies and who have now used the Oragene•DNA kits say they much prefer the non-invasive method of collection with Oragene. We would definitely recommend the kit to anyone who wants an easy and reliable method of collecting samples for DNA isolation."

SATVI's successful use of Oragene•DNA to study TB opens up a new opportunity for all infectious diseases researchers who would traditionally rely on blood collection methods.

Did this article interest you? Leave a comment and let us know what you think.

Photo credit: (feature photo) Muki Shey, second photo (Fabio Julies).

Note: Oragene•DNA is not available for sale in the United States. To see our products for the United States, please click here.

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