Biophysical virus particle specific characterization to sharpen the definition of virus stability

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Clénet, Didier, Tatiana Vinit, Damien Soulet, Claire Maillet, Françoise Guinet-Morlot, and Aure Saulnier. "Biophysical virus particle specific characterization to sharpen the definition of virus stability." European Journal of Pharmaceutics and Biopharmaceutics 132 (2018): 62-69.
Vaccine thermostability is key to successful global immunization programs as it may have a significant impact on the continuous cold-chain maintenance logistics, as well as affect vaccine potency. Modern biological and biophysical techniques were combined to in-depth characterize the thermostability of a formulated rabies virus (RABV) in terms of antigenic and genomic titer, virus particle count and aggregation state. Tunable resistive pulse sensing (TRPS) and nanoparticle tracking analysis (NTA) were used to count virus particles while simultaneously determining their size distribution. RABV antigenicity was assessed by NTA using a monoclonal antibody that recognize a rabies glycoprotein (G protein) conformational epitope, enabling to specifically count antigenic rabies viruses. Agreement between antigenicity results from NTA and conventional method, as ELISA, was demonstrated. Additionally, NTA and ELISA showed mirrored loss of RABV antigenicity during forced degradation studies performed between 5 °C and 45 °C temperature exposure for one month. Concomitant with decreased antigenicity, emergence of RABV particle populations larger than those expected for rabies family viruses was observed, suggesting RABV aggregation induced by thermal stress. Finally, using a kinetic-based modeling approach to explore forced degradation antigenicity data (NTA, ELISA), a two-step model accurately describing antigenicity loss was identified. This model predicted a RABV shelf-life of more than 3 years at 5 °C; significant loss of antigenicity was predicted for samples maintained several months at ambient temperature. This thorough characterization of RABV forced degradation study originally provided a time-temperature mapping of RABV stability.
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