About Polyclonal Antibodies:
Polyclonal antibodies (abbreviated as pAbs) are created in the body by B Cells. Their primary purpose is to act against certain antigens in the body. They do this by identifying different epitopes on a given antigen.
Production of Polyclonal Antibodies
These antibodies have the benefit of being fairly easy and fast to produce. Furthermore, they’re cost effective too. Production of these antibodies is far more straightforward than the production of, say, monoclonal antibodies.].
The production process follows a five-step approach that begins with preparing the antigen. Following this, an adjuvant is chosen and prepared to act and respond to the antigen. Step three is the simplest step in which an animal is selected. A solution containing both the antigen and adjuvant is injected into the animal. These injections continue over a set period until the animal has produced the desired antibody. The final step involves taking blood from the animal and extracting the polyclonal antibodies from it for further use.
Advantages of Polyclonal Antibodies
As mentioned previously, one of the advantages of polyclonal antibodies is how easy and cheap they are to produce. However, the fact that these antibodies can identify various epitopes on a given antigen creates a plethora of further advantages.
These antibodies are much better at withstanding small changes within an antigen compared to an alternative; monoclonal antibodies
They can detect and identify denatured proteins in the body.
They have an increased chance of connecting with antigens due to their production from B Cells.
PAbs have the ability to remain stable even when subjected to a diversity of pH values and different concentrations of salt.
PAbs can be manufactured in large batches due to how easy they are to produce. This can save time and money for those that need them.
Disadvantages of Polyclonal Antibodies
While there are many disadvantages to using these antibodies, they’re far from perfect. Below, you will see some of the main drawbacks they pose.
One batch of polyclonal antibodies can be completely different to another batch. As such, you are never guaranteed to have the same batch with the same level of effectiveness.
They’re prone to producing a lot of antibodies that have no set purpose. These antibodies can then cause distractions and disruptions when used in an application.
When compared to mAbs (monoclonal antibodies) pAbs were found to have significantly lower levels of concentration. Furthermore, it’s also suggested the purity is lower in pAbs too. Uses of Polyclonal Antibodies
These antibodies are found to have numerous uses in various industries. Primarily, they’re used throughout the pharmaceutical world. Polyclonal antibodies known as Digoxin Immune Fab are used to help people suffering from toxic poisoning brought on as a side effect from taking too much digoxin medication.
Another polyclonal antibody, Rho(D) immune globulin, has been used to help pregnant mothers. It acts to stop hemolytic disease being passed onto a newborn baby through the mother.
There are various other uses for this antibody, but these are the main ones right now. Research is constantly ongoing to find more uses for polyclonal antibodies in the pharmaceutical industry.