• The Science Behind COVID-19 Testing and Vaccines MarinBio’s Contributions

    Covid 19

    Posted on Mar 25, 2020

    The World Health Organization declared COVID-19 a pandemic on March 11th, 2020. Researchers around the world are developing new detection methods and vaccines for the virus (SARS-CoV-2) that causes the COVID-19 disease in an FDA expedited manner. Both research & development endeavors take valuable time. With the advent of a quick COVID-19 diagnostic test, the spread of this pandemic disease can be ameliorated.   Marin Biologic Laboratories (MarinBio) in Novato California, just north of San Francisco, offers assay and reagent support for that effort (www.marinbio.com).

    Human Aspect: To stem the ever-increasing cases of the CORONAVIRUS pandemic, we need diagnostic tests that can be performed quickly, and we need a vaccine. Both research, development and manufacture of diagnostic tests, treatment and vaccines will take time, so there is an urgent need to support the efforts of the public and private companies working in those directions. With the development of a vaccine, further outbreaks can be prevented. Vaccine development requires:

    (1) identification of an immunogenic relevant protein or antigen.

    (2) manufacture of the relevant antigen(s).

    (3) testing in animals to show an immune response, B cell or T cell.

    (4) check that the vaccine is safe for human administration.

    (5) demonstration that the immune response is protective

    COVID-19 inducing viral infection is spread via droplets produced from the respiratory system of infected people, usually during coughing or sneezing.  From exposure, to the onset of symptoms, the delay is 2 to 14 days, with an average of 5 days.  The common signs of COVID-19 disease are listed below.

    THE SCIENCE of COVID-19: The virus is named for the spikey projections on the surface that resemble the points of a crown, or “corona”, that allow the virus to recognize and latch onto virus specific receptors on cells or tissues. About 70 species of different CORONAVIRUS’ are known, many of which humans have already developed an immunity. The SARS-CoV-2 virus presumably mutated to allow person-to-person transmission and originated from the animal (bat)-to-human transmission. The CORONAVIRUS family infects birds and mammals and has already produced the SARS pandemic of 2002-2003, the MERS pandemic in 2015 and now the current COVID-19 pandemic in 2020. The SARS virus is believed to have jumped from infected bats to civets (small nocturnal mammals) then to people, while MERS infected camels before spreading to humans.

    CORONAVIRUS’ are relatively large enveloped, single-stranded RNA viruses. Interest in this viral family is because it is the causative agents of Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome (SARS) and Middle East Respiratory Syndrome (MERS). At the molecular level, CORONAVIRUS employs unusual strategies for gene expression. CORONAVIRUS replication entails ribosome frameshifting during genome translation, the synthesis of both genomic and multiple sub-genomic RNA species, and the assembly of virus proteins in progeny virions by a pathway that is unique among enveloped RNA viruses.

    THIS IS WHAT WE CAN DO:  MarinBio scientists are experts in the molecular virology and biology of these and other infectious RNA agents, especially the nature and recognition of coronaviral receptors, viral RNA synthesis, and the molecular interactions governing viral pathogenesis and virion particle assembly and transmission. MarinBio scientists have over 25 years of experience helping our clients to develop, qualify and validate viral or cellular protein or RNA/DNA tests as well as a viral enzyme, anti-inflammatory drug potency assay or other quantitative bioassays. Our scientists have developed and manufactured a GMP 90 minute test used in multiple hospitals for acute sickle cell crisis patients. For further information please contact MarinBio at info@marinbio.com or call 415 883 8000 or visit our website at www.marinbio.com