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European Biopharmaceutical Review

Spearheading the Fight Against Infectious Diseases and Emerging Outbreaks

Infectious diseases are one of the leading causes of death worldwide. Prior to the recent outbreak of COVID-19, hospitals in the US alone reported well over 3 million cases of recognised infectious disease-related illnesses annually (1). Significantly greater numbers remained unrecognised, both in the inpatient and community settings, resulting in substantial morbidity and mortality. Despite progress made in our understanding of biological processes and availability of vaccines, the incidence of infectious diseases has increased globally during the last three decades. During the past decade alone, we have witnessed the emergence of many new pathogens not previously detected in humans, such as the avian influenza virus, Ebola, severe acute respiratory syndrome (SARS), and Middle East respiratory syndrome coronavirus (MERS-CoV). Critical and timely intervention for infectious diseases relies on rapid and accurate detection of the pathogen in the acute care setting and beyond (2).

Different laboratory methods, such as bacterial culture, molecular testing, and serology, are used to confirm a clinical diagnosis of infectious diseases. While these methods largely rely on the identification of the causative agents of the diseases themselves, serological methods assess the response of host innate immune systems for monitoring. The host’s innate immune system is activated on infection by pathogens for non-specific suppression of pathogen replication and clearance. The presentation of pathogen-derived antigens to the cells of the adaptive immune response results in generating effective long-term immunity. The IgM-, IgA-, and IgG-type pathogen-specific antibody levels provide important measurements to predict population immunity against the disease. The pathogens also evolve to circumvent the host immune response and use host cells’ transcriptional machinery to re-establish replication and infection. The functional state of the innate and adaptive immune response in a blood sample of a patient provides a prognostic biomarker of the disease and assists in vaccine development. In critical care settings, biomarkers are being increasingly utilised to improve clinical management for early diagnosis, risk stratification, and optimising therapeutic decisions.

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Anup Madan PhD serves as Director of Biomarkers for PPD® Laboratories. He has more than 20 years of experience using high throughput genomics and system approaches to better understand disease etiology and identify biomarkers for P4 medicine. He has contributed to more than 60 peerreviewed publications in prestigious journals including Science and Nature. Dr Madan received his PhD in Biochemical Genetics from Tata Institute of Fundamental Research, India, and completed his post-doctoral research with Dr Leroy Hood at the University of Washington, US.

Tina Green serves as Director of Laboratory Biostatistics for PPD® Laboratories. She has more than 20 years of experience supporting vaccine and biomarker assay development, optimisation, qualification, and validation.

Palanikumar Manoharan PhD serves as a Senior Research Scientist in the PPD® Laboratories’ central lab. Dr Manoharan received his PhD in Medical Microbiology from the University of Madras, India, and completed post-doctoral research at West Virginia University, US, and the University of Cincinnati, US. His research has made significant contributions to the field of medical microbiology and chronic inflammatory diseases. He joined PPD in 2019 as a validation scientist in the molecular department. He currently serves as an Associate Editor for the journal Nutrition & Metabolism.

Abigail Cross serves as a Group Leader in the molecular genomics department for PPD® Laboratories. She works to manage clinical sample analysis and vaccine assay maintenance activities.
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Anup Madan
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Tina Green
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Palanikumar Manoharan
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Abigail Cross
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