Link to Pubmed [PMID] – 30992161
Biologicals 2019 May;59:29-36
The utilization of the current combination of in vitro, in vivo and PCR assays for the identification of adventitious viruses in production cells has a limited range of detection. While Next Generation Sequencing (NGS) has a broader breadth of detection, it is unable to differentiate sequences from replicating viruses versus background inert sequences. In order to improve NGS specificity, we have designed a new NGS approach which targets subsets of viral RNAs only synthesized during cell infection. In order to evaluate the performance of this approach for detecting low levels of adventitious viruses, we selected two difficult virus/cell systems. This included B95-8 cells persistently infected by Human herpesvirus 4 (HHV-4) and serially diluted into HHV-4 negative Ramos cells and Madin-Darby bovine kidney cells with an early infection produced via a low dose of Bovine viral diarrhea virus. We demonstrated that the sensitivity of our RNA NGS approach was equivalent to targeted PCR with an increased specificity for the detection of viral infection. We were also able to identify a previously undetected Murine Leukemia Virus contaminant in Ramos cells. Based on these results, we conclude that this new RNA NGS approach is suitable for conducting viral safety evaluations of cells.