April 17, 2020, Sino Biological announced this week that the company launched the world’s first coronavirus antigen array under its new brand SinommuneTM. This product is co-developed by Nanommune Inc., a UCI-based biotech company specializing in array technology. This antigen array is specifically designed for high-throughput serosurveillance studies of COVID-19 and other respiratory infections.
In a recent joint study published on bioRxiv, researchers from UCI, Cerus, University of Maryland, Oregon Health and Science University, and the Vitalant Research Institute used this array to characterize the antibody profile of convalescent blood specimens from eight PCR-confirmed COVID-19 patients, and 144 negative control sera collected prior to the pandemic. The results demonstrated a distinct antibody profile for SARS-CoV-2 in confirmed COVID-19 patients, but a comparable antibody profile for common cold coronavirus between the two groups. This study highlights the potential of this antigen array as a serosurveillance solution in epidemiologic studies of COVID-19.
“We are extremely pleased with the performance of the Sinommune array product and believe this platform will serve as a foundational tool for serological studies in the global fight against COVID-19,” said Dr. Philip Felgner, Director of the Vaccine R&C Center at UCI Medical School. “In order for communities around the globe to understand the prevalence and threat posed by COVID-19, a comprehensive serosurveillance program is necessary to provide policy makers, researchers, and front-line medical professionals with the data necessary to forecast and respond to this fast-moving and dynamic threat.”
This latest development marks yet another important milestone in the company’s efforts to develop solutions for serological studies of this deadly virus. Sino Biological is the first company in the world to produce recombinant proteins of SARS-CoV-2. The company launched the spike protein on Jan 22nd, only 12 days after the sequence is published. Till this day, Sino Biological has developed a large panel of reagents for COVID19 research. The available products include hundreds of antigens, monoclonal antibodies, ELISA kits, inhibitor screening kit, antibody titer kits, and expression vectors for SARS-CoV-2, SARS-CoV, MERS-CoV, common coronavirus, and their receptors. These reagents have supported hundreds of research groups around the globe for their vaccine and antibody development works. The company is also offering pseudovirus-based infection assay services, allowing rapid screening of antibodies and compounds for neutralization potential.
The most important application of these reagents is in serological diagnostics, both in forms of antigen detection and antibody detection. Sino Biological’s recombinant S protein and N protein have both been used to manufacture diagnostic kits detecting serum antibodies against SARS-CoV-2. The antigen detection is more difficult as compared to antibody detection, as the viral titer in sera and nasal swabs is often low. Several monoclonal antibodies developed by Sino Biological have been used in clinical testing of antigen detection, and received promising early results. Earlier this year, the company has received support from the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation on colloidal gold and ELISA based diagnosis of COVID-19. The fund will be specifically used for the optimization of key antigens and antibodies needed for rapid and high-throughput detection of SARS-CoV-2.
“It’s the company’s long-standing mission to contribute to public health by providing high-quality reagents for biomedical research professionals, especially those working on the diagnosis and treatment of infectious diseases.” Sino Biological CEO Dr. Jie Zhang stated, “We consider it a privilege to work with physicians and researchers who’re battling against COVID-19 on the front line. Sino Biological will continue to support COVID-19 research in whatever way we can.”
Sino Biological has been engaged in the field of infectious disease research long before the COVID-19 outbreak. Powered by its HEK293 and baculovirus-insect cells based recombinant platforms and proprietary monoclonal antibody programs, the company has built a huge collection of reagents over the years. In March, Sino Biological officially announced the launch of the world’s largest viral antigen bank, ProVirTM. This exclusive collection features over 800 antigens from 350 virus strains, including Zika, Ebola, Dengue, RSV, HIV, and HPV etc. It’s noteworthy that the ProVirTM collection also carries 600+ HA, NA, and ME antigens from 250 strains of influenza viruses, including vaccine strains and the pandemic strains such as the 2009 swine flu (A/California/04/2009 (H1N1)). Development of other 150 antigens is currently underway.