As predicted by BioCopy in spring 2019, the current development of vaccines is too slow for the spread of a novel virus. COVID-19, respectively its pathogen Sars-Cov2, shows us with the associated lockdown and the significant restrictions of daily life, how quickly, comprehensively and surprisingly a pandemic affects us all. This can only be avoided by the rapid and efficient development of vaccines. Although the DNA sequence of SARS-CoV2 has been published worldwide since the beginning of January 2020, it is still unknown what exactly the neutralizing antibodies bind to – i.e. which molecules a vaccine should/must contain to be protective.
BioCopy has developed a biomolecule copy technology that in principle makes it possible to significantly reduce the time needed to identify vaccine precursors. In the next years this can be done in only 2 days and although our entire workflow is not yet fully developed, we still hope to be able to contribute to the fight against Sars-Cov2.
We have already developed peptide arrays that map more than 2000 components of the virus and are essentially equivalent to the arrays of JPT. The special feature of the BioCopy technology is that the binding of antibodies from blood samples to the virus components is measured directly on the arrays, “label free” (without additional labelling). We are proud that as a small start-up we can keep pace with companies that have been producing arrays for 2 decades.
In addition, we also prepare our special copied arrays with COVID-19 fragments. These do not contain the industrially available minimal fragments of the virus, but rather map large parts of the virus, which provide much more precise information about its true structure. The currently prepared fragments are 20 times larger than those on the commercially available arrays.
All BioCopy surfaces can be measured directly for antibody binding using our label-free detection method. This allows us to determine where and how well antibodies bind to the decomposed SARS-CoV2 virus. This information is of great interest not only for the development of a new vaccine, but also for the validation of existing vaccines, the evaluation of emerging plasma treatments and rapid test strips. This should be a standard for all these users. To this end, initial talks are being held with industrial partners.
BioCopy now offers the following R&D analyses for interested companies:
- Screening against folded epitopes / 62 COVID-19 fragments
- Screenings for binding to 2000 peptides (15mer)
Applications: For identification of relevant vaccine epitopes, validation of antibodies from diagnostic tests for sensitivity, kinetics and specificity, and quality control of blood plasma for transfusion. Within the scope of a joint venture, certified analyses can also be developed under GMP.