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1.
Biotechnol Prog ; : e3277, 2022 May 28.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1866508

ABSTRACT

The Ambr15 system is an automated, high-throughput bioreactor platform which comprises 24 individually controlled, single-use stirred-tank reactors. This system plays a critical role in process development by reducing reagent requirements and facilitating high-throughput screening of process parameters. However, until now, the system was used to simulate processes involving cells in suspension or growing on microcarriers and has never been tested for simulating cells growing on macrocarriers. Moreover, to our knowledge, a complete production process including cell growth and virus production has never been simulated. Here, we demonstrate, for the first time, the amenability of the automated Ambr15 cell culture reactor system to simulate the entire SARS-CoV-2 vaccine production process using macrocarriers. To simulate the production process, accessories were first developed to enable insertion of tens of Fibra-Cel macrocarries into the reactors. Vero cell adsorption to Fibra-Cels was then monitored and its adsorption curve was studied. After incorporating of all optimized factors, Vero cells were adsorbed to and grown on Fibra-Cels for several days. During the process, culture medium was exchanged, and the quantity and viability of the cells were followed, resulting in a typical growth curve. After successfully growing cells for 6 days, they were infected with the rVSV-ΔG-Spike vaccine virus. The present results indicate that the Ambr15 system is not only suitable for simulating a process using macrocarriers, but also to simulate an entire vaccine production process, from cell adsorption, cell growth, infection and vaccine virus production.

2.
Arch Toxicol ; 2022 May 17.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1844344

ABSTRACT

BriLife®, a vector-based vaccine that utilizes the recombinant vesicular stomatitis virus (VSV) platform to express and present the spike antigen of SARS-CoV-2, is undergoing testing in a phase 2 clinical trial in Israel. A nonclinical repeated-dose (GLP) toxicity study in New Zealand white rabbits was performed to evaluate the potential toxicity, local tolerance, immunogenicity and biodistribution of the vaccine. rVSV-ΔG-SARS-CoV-2-S (or vehicle) was administered intramuscularly to two groups of animals (106, 107 PFU/animal, n = 10/sex/group) on three occasions, at 2-week intervals, followed by a 3-week recovery period. Systemic clinical signs, local reactions, body weight, body temperature, food consumption, ophthalmology, urinalysis, clinical pathology, C-reactive protein, viremia and antibody levels were monitored. Gross pathology was performed, followed by organs/tissues collection for biodistribution and histopathological evaluation. Treatment-related changes were restricted to multifocal minimal myofiber necrosis at the injection sites, and increased lymphocytic cellularity in the iliac and mesenteric lymph nodes and in the spleen. These changes were considered related to the inflammatory reaction elicited, and correlated with a trend for recovery. Detection of rVSV-ΔG-SARS-CoV-2-S vaccine RNA was noted in the regional iliac lymph node in animals assigned to the high-dose group, at both termination time points. A significant increase in binding and neutralizing antibody titers was observed following vaccination at both vaccine doses. In view of the findings, it was concluded that the rVSV-ΔG-SARS-CoV-2-S vaccine is safe. These results supported the initiation of clinical trials.

3.
Biotechnol Bioeng ; 119(7): 1839-1848, 2022 Jul.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1825883

ABSTRACT

To face the coronavirus disease 2019 pandemic caused by the severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2) virus, our institute has developed the rVSV-ΔG-spike vaccine, in which the glycoprotein of vesicular stomatitis virus (VSV) was replaced by the spike protein of SARS-CoV-2. Many process parameters can influence production yield. To maximize virus vaccine yield, each parameter should be tested independently and in combination with others. Here, we report the optimization of the production of the VSV-ΔG-spike vaccine in Vero cells using the Ambr15 system. This system facilitates high-throughput screening of process parameters, as it contains 24 individually controlled, single-use stirred-tank minireactors. During optimization, critical parameters were tested. Those parameters included: cell densities; the multiplicity of infection; virus production temperature; medium addition and medium exchange; and supplementation of glucose in the virus production step. Virus production temperature, medium addition, and medium exchange were all found to significantly influence the yield. The optimized parameters were tested in the BioBLU 5p bioreactors production process and those that were found to contribute to the vaccine yield were integrated into the final process. The findings of this study demonstrate that an Ambr15 system is an effective tool for bioprocess optimization of vaccine production using macrocarriers and that the combination of production temperature, rate of medium addition, and medium exchange significantly improved virus yield.


Subject(s)
COVID-19 Vaccines , COVID-19 , Animals , Chlorocebus aethiops , Humans , SARS-CoV-2 , Spike Glycoprotein, Coronavirus , Vero Cells
4.
J Virol Methods ; 303: 114498, 2022 05.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1701734

ABSTRACT

The spike glycoprotein mediates virus binding to the host cells and is a key target for vaccines development. One SARS-CoV-2 vaccine is based on vesicular stomatitis virus (VSV), in which the native surface glycoprotein has been replaced by the SARS-CoV-2 spike protein (VSV-ΔG-spike). The titer of the virus is quantified by the plaque forming unit (PFU) assay, but there is no method for spike protein quantitation as an antigen in a VSV-based vaccine. Here, we describe a mass spectrometric (MS) spike protein quantification method, applied to VSV-ΔG-spike based vaccine. Proof of concept of this method, combining two different sample preparations, is shown for complex matrix samples, produced during the vaccine manufacturing processes. Total spike levels were correlated with results from activity assays, and ranged between 0.3-0.5 µg of spike protein per 107 PFU virus-based vaccine. This method is simple, linear over a wide range, allows quantification of antigen within a sample and can be easily implemented for any vaccine or therapeutic sample.


Subject(s)
COVID-19 , Viral Vaccines , COVID-19/prevention & control , COVID-19 Vaccines , Humans , Mass Spectrometry , SARS-CoV-2 , Spike Glycoprotein, Coronavirus
5.
EuropePMC; 2021.
Preprint in English | EuropePMC | ID: ppcovidwho-304759

ABSTRACT

Severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2) is the cause for the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic1. The continued spread of SARS-CoV-2 along with the imminent flu season increase the probability of influenza-SARS-CoV-2 dual infection which might result in a severe disease. In this study, we examined the disease outcome of influenza A virus (IAV) and SARS-CoV-2 co-infection in K18-hACE2 mice. Our data indicates that IAV-infected mice are more susceptible to develop severe disease upon co-infection with SARS-CoV-2 two days post influenza infection. This co-infection results in severe morbidity and nearly uniform fatality as compared to the non-fatal influenza disease, or the partial fatality of SARS-CoV-2 alone. Co-infection was associated with elevated influenza viral load in respiratory organs. Remarkably, prior immunity to influenza, but not to SARS-CoV-2, prevented the severe disease and mortality. These data provide an experimental support that flu intervention by prior vaccination may be valuable in reducing the risk of sever Flu - SARS-CoV-2 comorbidity, and highlight the importance of vaccination.

6.
EuropePMC; 2021.
Preprint in English | EuropePMC | ID: ppcovidwho-316250

ABSTRACT

The COVID-19 pandemic caused by Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome Coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2) increases the need for rapid development of efficient vaccines. Among other vaccines in clinical trials, a recombinant VSV-∆G-spike vaccine was developed by the Israel Institute for Biological, Chemical and Environmental sciences (IIBR) and is being evaluated. Development of an efficient downstream purification process (DSP) enables advancing the vaccine to clinical trials. The DSP must eliminate impurities, either process- or product -related, to yield sufficient product with high purity, potency, and quality. To acquire critical information on process restrictions and qualities, incorporation of on-line monitoring is vital. Application of on-line monitoring should significantly impact process yield, product quality and economy of the entire process. Here, we describe an on-line monitoring technique that was applied in the DSP of the VSV-∆G-spike vaccine. The technique is based on determining concentrations of metabolites, nutrients and a host cell protein (HCP) by the automatic chemistry analyzer Cobas Integra 400 Plus. The analysis revealed critical information on process parameters and significantly impacted purification processes. The technique is rapid, easy and efficient. Adaptation of this technique during the purification process improves process yield, product quality and enhances the economy of the entire downstream process of biotechnology and bio pharmaceutical products.

7.
BioTech ; 10(4):25, 2021.
Article in English | MDPI | ID: covidwho-1502364

ABSTRACT

The COVID-19 pandemic caused by Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome Coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2) increases the need for a rapid development of efficient vaccines. Among other vaccines in clinical trials, a recombinant VSV-∆G-spike vaccine was developed by the Israel Institute for Biological Research (IIBR) and is being evaluated. The development of an efficient downstream purification process (DSP) enables the vaccine to be advanced to clinical trials. The DSP must eliminate impurities, either process- or product-related, to yield a sufficient product with high purity, potency and quality. To acquire critical information on process restrictions and qualities, the application of in-line monitoring is vital and should significantly impact the process yield, product quality and economy of the entire process. Here, we describe an in-line monitoring technique that was applied in the DSP of the VSV-∆G-spike vaccine. The technique is based on determining the concentrations of metabolites, nutrients and a host cell protein using the automatic chemistry analyzer, Cobas Integra 400 Plus. The analysis revealed critical information on process parameters and significantly impacted purification processes. The technique is rapid, easy and efficient. Adopting this technique during the purification process improves the process yield and the product quality and enhances the economy of the entire downstream process for biotechnology and bio pharmaceutical products.

8.
Vaccine ; 39(48): 7044-7051, 2021 11 26.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1475114

ABSTRACT

rVSV-Spike (rVSV-S) is a recombinant viral vaccine candidate under development to control the COVID-19 pandemic and is currently in phase II clinical trials. rVSV-S induces neutralizing antibodies and protects against SARS-CoV-2 infection in animal models. Bringing rVSV-S to clinical trials required the development of a scalable downstream process for the production of rVSV-S that can meet regulatory guidelines. The objective of this study was the development of the first downstream unit operations for cell-culture-derived rVSV-S, namely, the removal of nucleic acid contamination, the clarification and concentration of viral harvested supernatant, and buffer exchange. Retaining the infectivity of the rVSV-S during the downstream process was challenged by the shear sensitivity of the enveloped rVSV-S and its membrane protruding spike protein. Through a series of screening experiments, we evaluated and established the required endonuclease treatment conditions, filter train composition, and hollow fiber-tangential flow filtration parameters to remove large particles, reduce the load of impurities, and concentrate and exchange the buffer while retaining rVSV-S infectivity. The combined effect of the first unit operations on viral recovery and the removal of critical impurities was examined during scale-up experiments. Overall, approximately 40% of viral recovery was obtained and the regulatory requirements of less than 10 ng host cell DNA per dose were met. However, while 86-97% of the host cell proteins were removed, the regulatory acceptable HCP levels were not achieved, requiring subsequent purification and polishing steps. The results we obtained during the scale-up experiments were similar to those obtained during the screening experiments, indicating the scalability of the process. The findings of this study set the foundation for the development of a complete downstream manufacturing process, requiring subsequent purification and polishing unit operations for clinical preparations of rVSV-S.


Subject(s)
COVID-19 Vaccines , COVID-19 , Animals , Antibodies, Neutralizing , Humans , Pandemics , SARS-CoV-2 , Spike Glycoprotein, Coronavirus
9.
BioTech ; 10(4):22, 2021.
Article in English | MDPI | ID: covidwho-1463555

ABSTRACT

This study reports a highly efficient, rapid one-step purification process for the production of the recombinant vesicular stomatitis virus-based vaccine, rVSV-∆G-spike (rVSV-S), recently developed by the Israel Institute for Biological Research (IIBR) for the prevention of COVID-19. Several purification strategies are evaluated using a variety of chromatography methods, including membrane adsorbers and packed-bed ion-exchange chromatography. Cell harvest is initially treated with endonuclease, clarified, and further concentrated by ultrafiltration before chromatography purification. The use of anion-exchange chromatography in all forms results in strong binding of the virus to the media, necessitating a high salt concentration for elution. The large virus and spike protein binds very strongly to the high surface area of the membrane adsorbents, resulting in poor virus recovery (<15%), while the use of packed-bed chromatography, where the surface area is smaller, achieves better recovery (up to 33%). Finally, a highly efficient chromatography purification process with CaptoTM Core 700 resin, which does not require binding and the elution of the virus, is described. rVSV-S cannot enter the inner pores of the resin and is collected in the flow-through eluent. Purification of the rVSV-S virus with CaptoTM Core 700 resulted in viral infectivity above 85% for this step, with the efficient removal of host cell proteins, consistent with regulatory requirements. Similar results were obtained without an initial ultrafiltration step.

10.
Nat Commun ; 12(1): 5819, 2021 10 05.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1454763

ABSTRACT

Severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2) is the cause of the ongoing coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) pandemic. The continued spread of SARS-CoV-2 increases the probability of influenza/SARS-CoV-2 coinfection, which may result in severe disease. In this study, we examine the disease outcome of influenza A virus (IAV) and SARS-CoV-2 coinfection in K18-hACE2 mice. Our data indicate enhance susceptibility of IAV-infected mice to developing severe disease upon coinfection with SARS-CoV-2 two days later. In contrast to nonfatal influenza and lower mortality rates due to SARS-CoV-2 alone, this coinfection results in severe morbidity and nearly complete mortality. Coinfection is associated with elevated influenza viral loads in respiratory organs. Remarkably, prior immunity to influenza, but not to SARS-CoV-2, prevents severe disease and mortality. This protection is antibody-dependent. These data experimentally support the necessity of seasonal influenza vaccination for reducing the risk of severe influenza/COVID-19 comorbidity during the COVID-19 pandemic.


Subject(s)
COVID-19/immunology , COVID-19/virology , Coinfection/immunology , Coinfection/virology , Immunity , Orthomyxoviridae Infections/immunology , Orthomyxoviridae Infections/virology , SARS-CoV-2/immunology , Angiotensin-Converting Enzyme 2/metabolism , Animals , Antibodies, Viral/immunology , COVID-19/pathology , Cell Line , Disease Models, Animal , Female , Humans , Inflammation/genetics , Lung/pathology , Lung/virology , Male , Mice, Inbred C57BL , Mice, Transgenic , Up-Regulation/genetics , Viral Load/immunology
11.
J Biol Chem ; 296: 100470, 2021.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1101336

ABSTRACT

The ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, caused by severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2), is a major threat to global health. Vaccines are ideal solutions to prevent infection, but treatments are also needed for those who have contracted the virus to limit negative outcomes, when vaccines are not applicable. Viruses must cross host cell membranes during their life cycle, creating a dependency on processes involving membrane dynamics. Thus, in this study, we examined whether the synthetic machinery for glycosphingolipids, biologically active components of cell membranes, can serve as a therapeutic target to combat SARS-CoV-2. We examined the antiviral effect of two specific inhibitors of glucosylceramide synthase (GCS): (i) Genz-123346, an analogue of the United States Food and Drug Administration-approved drug Cerdelga and (ii) GENZ-667161, an analogue of venglustat, which is currently under phase III clinical trials. We found that both GCS inhibitors inhibit replication of SARS-CoV-2. Moreover, these inhibitors also disrupt replication of influenza virus A/PR/8/34 (H1N1). Our data imply that synthesis of glycosphingolipids is necessary to support viral life cycles and suggest that GCS inhibitors should be further explored as antiviral therapies.


Subject(s)
Antiviral Agents/pharmacology , Carbamates/pharmacology , Dioxanes/pharmacology , Glucosyltransferases/antagonists & inhibitors , Glycosphingolipids/antagonists & inhibitors , Influenza A Virus, H1N1 Subtype/drug effects , Pyrrolidines/pharmacology , Quinuclidines/pharmacology , SARS-CoV-2/drug effects , Animals , Antiviral Agents/chemical synthesis , COVID-19/drug therapy , COVID-19/enzymology , COVID-19/virology , Carbamates/chemical synthesis , Cell Membrane/drug effects , Cell Membrane/enzymology , Cell Membrane/virology , Chlorocebus aethiops , Clinical Trials, Phase III as Topic , Dioxanes/chemical synthesis , Dogs , Dose-Response Relationship, Drug , Enzyme Inhibitors/chemical synthesis , Enzyme Inhibitors/pharmacology , Gene Expression Regulation , Glucosyltransferases/genetics , Glucosyltransferases/metabolism , Glycosphingolipids/biosynthesis , Host-Pathogen Interactions/genetics , Humans , Influenza A Virus, H1N1 Subtype/growth & development , Influenza A Virus, H1N1 Subtype/metabolism , Influenza, Human/drug therapy , Influenza, Human/enzymology , Influenza, Human/virology , Madin Darby Canine Kidney Cells , Pyrrolidines/chemical synthesis , Quinuclidines/chemical synthesis , SARS-CoV-2/growth & development , SARS-CoV-2/metabolism , Signal Transduction , Vero Cells , Virus Replication/drug effects
12.
Nat Commun ; 11(1): 6402, 2020 12 16.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-983658

ABSTRACT

The COVID-19 pandemic caused by SARS-CoV-2 imposes an urgent need for rapid development of an efficient and cost-effective vaccine, suitable for mass immunization. Here, we show the development of a replication competent recombinant VSV-∆G-spike vaccine, in which the glycoprotein of VSV is replaced by the spike protein of SARS-CoV-2. In-vitro characterization of this vaccine indicates the expression and presentation of the spike protein on the viral membrane with antigenic similarity to SARS-CoV-2. A golden Syrian hamster in-vivo model for COVID-19 is implemented. We show that a single-dose vaccination results in a rapid and potent induction of SARS-CoV-2 neutralizing antibodies. Importantly, vaccination protects hamsters against SARS-CoV-2 challenge, as demonstrated by the abrogation of body weight loss, and  alleviation of the extensive tissue damage and viral loads in lungs and nasal turbinates. Taken together, we suggest the recombinant VSV-∆G-spike as a safe, efficacious and protective vaccine against SARS-CoV-2.


Subject(s)
COVID-19 Vaccines/immunology , COVID-19/immunology , COVID-19/prevention & control , SARS-CoV-2/immunology , Spike Glycoprotein, Coronavirus/immunology , Vaccines, Synthetic/immunology , Vesicular stomatitis Indiana virus/immunology , Animals , Antibodies, Viral/immunology , Antigens, Viral/immunology , Body Weight , COVID-19/virology , Cell Line , Cricetinae , Disease Models, Animal , Dose-Response Relationship, Immunologic , Genome, Viral , Lung/pathology , Lung/virology , Mice, Inbred C57BL , Mutation/genetics , SARS-CoV-2/genetics , Spike Glycoprotein, Coronavirus/genetics , Spike Glycoprotein, Coronavirus/ultrastructure , Vaccination , Viral Load
13.
Clin Microbiol Infect ; 26(12): 1658-1662, 2020 Dec.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-753742

ABSTRACT

OBJECTIVES: Environmental surfaces have been suggested as likely contributors in the transmission of COVID-19. This study assessed the infectivity of severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2) contaminating surfaces and objects in two hospital isolation units and a quarantine hotel. METHODS: SARS-CoV-2 virus stability and infectivity on non-porous surfaces was tested under controlled laboratory conditions. Surface and air sampling were conducted at two COVID-19 isolation units and in a quarantine hotel. Viral RNA was detected by RT-PCR and infectivity was assessed by VERO E6 CPE test. RESULTS: In laboratory-controlled conditions, SARS-CoV-2 gradually lost its infectivity completely by day 4 at ambient temperature, and the decay rate of viral viability on surfaces directly correlated with increase in temperature. Viral RNA was detected in 29/55 surface samples (52.7%) and 16/42 surface samples (38%) from the surroundings of symptomatic COVID-19 patients in isolation units of two hospitals and in a quarantine hotel for asymptomatic and very mild COVID-19 patients. None of the surface and air samples from the three sites (0/97) were found to contain infectious titres of SARS-Cov-2 on tissue culture assay. CONCLUSIONS: Despite prolonged viability of SARS-CoV-2 under laboratory-controlled conditions, uncultivable viral contamination of inanimate surfaces might suggest low feasibility for indirect fomite transmission.


Subject(s)
COVID-19/transmission , Fomites/virology , Hospitals, Isolation/statistics & numerical data , Housing/statistics & numerical data , Microbial Viability , SARS-CoV-2/isolation & purification , COVID-19/virology , Humans , RNA, Viral/isolation & purification , Surface Properties , Temperature
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