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RAPID AND COST-EFFECTIVE PROCESS BASED ON INSECT LARVAE FOR SCALE-UP PRODUCTION OF SARS-COV-2 SPIKE PROTEIN FOR SEROLOGICAL COVID-19 TESTING
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  • Ignacio Smith,
  • Gregorio Mc Callum,
  • Adriana Sabljic,
  • Juan Marfia,
  • Silvina Bombicino,
  • Aldana Trabucchi,
  • Ruben Iacono,
  • Joaquín Birenbaum,
  • Susana Vazquez,
  • Juan Minoia,
  • Osvaldo Cascone,
  • María López,
  • Oscar Taboga,
  • Alexandra Targovnik,
  • Federico Wolman,
  • Matías Fingermann,
  • Leonardo Alonso,
  • Silvina Valdez,
  • Maria Miranda
Ignacio Smith
Universidad de Buenos Aires
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Gregorio Mc Callum
Universidad de Buenos Aires
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Adriana Sabljic
Universidad de Buenos Aires
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Juan Marfia
Universidad de Buenos Aires
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Silvina Bombicino
Universidad de Buenos Aires
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Aldana Trabucchi
Universidad de Buenos Aires
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Ruben Iacono
Universidad de Buenos Aires
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Joaquín Birenbaum
Universidad de Buenos Aires
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Susana Vazquez
Universidad de Buenos Aires
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Juan Minoia
Universidad de Buenos Aires
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Osvaldo Cascone
Universidad de Buenos Aires
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María López
INTA
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Oscar Taboga
INTA
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Alexandra Targovnik
Universidad de Buenos Aires
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Federico Wolman
Universidad de Buenos Aires
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Matías Fingermann
Administración Nacional de Laboratorios e Institutos de Salud Dr Carlos G Malbrán
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Leonardo Alonso
Universidad de Buenos Aires
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Silvina Valdez
Universidad de Buenos Aires
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Maria Miranda
Universidad de Buenos Aires Facultad de Farmacia y Bioquimica
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Abstract

Serology testing for COVID-19 is important in evaluating active immune response against SARS-CoV-2, studying the antibody kinetics, and monitoring reinfections with genetic variants and new virus strains, in particular, the duration of antibodies in virus-exposed individuals and vaccine-mediated immunity. In this work, recombinant S protein of SARS-CoV-2 was expressed in Rachiplusia nu, an important agronomic plague. One gram of insect larvae produces an amount of S protein sufficient for 150 determinations in the ELISA method herein developed. We established a rapid production process for SARS-CoV-2 S protein that showed immunoreactivity for anti-SARS-CoV-2 antibodies and was used as a single antigen for developing the ELISA method with high sensitivity (96.2%) and specificity (98.8%). Our findings provide an efficient and cost-effective platform for large-scale S protein production, and the scale-up is linear, thus avoiding the use of complex equipment like bioreactors.

Peer review status:UNDER REVIEW

01 Jun 2021Submitted to Biotechnology and Bioengineering
01 Jun 2021Assigned to Editor
01 Jun 2021Submission Checks Completed
06 Jun 2021Reviewer(s) Assigned