Through a joint effort in 2020, the Coalition for Epidemic Preparedness Innovations (CEPI), the National Institute for Biological Standards and Control (NIBSC), and the World Health Organization (WHO) provided COVID-19 vaccine developers and the entire scientific community with a research reagent for an anti-SARS-CoV-2 antibody, an International Reference Panel and the first WHO International Antibody Standard for assay calibration. These materials are constituted of plasma samples sourced from SARS-CoV-2 convalescent patients.
With the emergence of SARS-CoV-2 variants which appear to be serologically diverse from the original VIC-01 isolate and in our push for continual innovation, there is a need to confirm the suitability of current assays, the efficacy of candidate vaccines, and the suitability of WHO-endorsed International Standard established in December 2020.
To address these questions, the NIBSC, with the support of CEPI and WHO, is looking for partners for sourcing serum or plasma from vaccinated individuals and/or recovered patients for the development of working standards for each of the SARS-CoV-2 variants of concern. Such material will be evaluated in a multi-center collaborative study in parallel with the first WHO International Antibody Standard. This will bridge between the WHO International Antibody Standard and a possible replacement should one be needed. This initial outreach is focusing on the collection of B.1.1.7, B.1.351 and P1 variant serum collection, but we seek partners that would be able to support collection of other emerging variant-specific serum/plasma as well.
The NIBSC, in its role as a WHO-designated International Laboratory for Biological Standards, prepares and tests candidate biological standards, coordinates collaborative studies involving such candidate materials and acts as custodian and distributor of International Standards and other biological reference materials. Provision of the serum/plasma must be compliant with such use.View further information and application details on the CEPI website.