To control the pandemic SARS-CoV-2 outbreak, rapid development of a COVID-19 vaccine is needed as well as serological tests to determine whether or not someone has contracted the virus and has built up immunity. The baculovirus-insect cell expression system can be used to produce the SARS-CoV-2 spike protein for vaccine and serological test applications. To produce sufficient amounts of spike protein in a relatively short period of time, rapid screening for optimal process conditions is of utmost importance.
Within this development of the Laboratory of Virology and the Bioprocess Engineering Group of Wageningen University, Applikon’s micro-Matrix is used to screen different conditions for optimal cell growth and protein production in Sf9 cells. The micro-Matrix system allows for simultaneously performing 24 cultivations in a deep well plate with control of DO, pH and temperature. Therefore screening for optimal pH value can be done in a single experiment. Optimal conditions are also checked in Applikon’s 500 mL miniBio (autoclavable bioreactor) and 500 mL AppliFlex ST (single-use bioreactor) and will eventually be scaled up to a 20 liter bioreactor, producing sufficient material for pre-clinical animal trials and serological testing.
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