Link to Pubmed [PMID] – 37468389
Link to DOI – 10.1016/j.vaccine.2023.07.019
Vaccine 2023 Jul; ():
The viral safety of biological products is ensured by tests throughout the production chain, and, for certain products, by steps in the manufacturing process enabling the elimination or inactivation of viruses. Current testing programs include sample inoculation in animals and embryonic eggs. Following the 3Rs principles of replacement, reduction, and refinement of animal-use methods, such techniques are intended to be replaced not only for ethical reasons but also because of their inherent technical limitations, their long turnaround times, and their limits in virus detection. Therefore, we have compared the limit and range of sensitivity of in vivo tests used for viral testing of cells with a transcriptomic assay based on Next Generation Sequencing (NGS). Cell cultures were infected with a panel of nine (9) viruses, among them only five (5) were detected, with variable sensitivity, by in vivo tests. The transcriptomic assay was able to detect one (1) infected cell among 103 to 107 non-infected cells for all viruses assessed, including those not detected by the conventional in vivo tests. Here we show that NGS extends the breath of detection of viral contaminants compared to traditional testing. Collectively, these results support the replacement of the conventional in vivo tests by an NGS-based transcriptomic assay for virus safety testing of cell substrates.