This article was originally published here
J Glob Health. 2022 Feb 26;12:05009. doi: 10.7189/jogh.12.05009. eCollection 2022.
BACKGROUND: The COVID-19 pandemic caused by SARS-CoV-2 has exposed a global problem, as highly effective vaccines are difficult to produce and distribute, especially in regions with limited resources and funding. Alternatively, immunoglobulins produced in the eggs of immunized hens (IgY) can be a simple and inexpensive source for topical and temporary prophylaxis. Here, we have developed a method to extract and purify IgY antibodies from egg yolks of immunized hens against pathogen-derived viral proteins using inexpensive and readily available materials, for use in contexts at limited resources.
METHODS: Existing protocols for IgY purification and equipment were modified, including yolk extraction and water-soluble IgY separation using common household reagents and tools. A replacement for a commercial centrifuge has been developed, using a home food processor fitted with a 3D-printed adapter to enable IgY precipitation. IgY purification was verified using standard gel electrophoresis and Western blot analyses.
RESULTS: We developed a step-by-step protocol for IgY purification for two settings in low- and middle-income countries (LMICs): a local laboratory, where commercial centrifuges are available, or a more rural setting, where an alternative to centrifuges can be used. Gel electrophoresis and Western blot analyzes confirmed that the method produced a highly enriched IgY preparation; each commercial egg produced ~90 mg of IgY. We have also designed a kit for the production of IgY in these two settings and provided an estimate of the cost of the kit.
CONCLUSION: IgY purified from eggs of locally immunized hens may offer rapid and affordable prophylaxis, provided purification can be performed in a resource-limited setting. Here we have created an inexpensive method that can be used anywhere electricity is available by using inexpensive, readily available materials instead of expensive, specialized laboratory equipment and chemicals. This procedure can easily be used now to perform SARS-CoV-2 prophylaxis in areas where vaccines are not available, and can be modified to address future threats of viral epidemics and pandemics.