Cell substrates for viral vaccines
NIBSC acts as a central resource centre, providing quality-controlled banks of cells for NIBSC batch release, World Health Organisation (WHO) laboratory networks, National Control laboratories, manufacturers and other NIBSC collaborators.
With the exception of human stem cell lines from the UK Stem Cell Bank, NIBSC does not supply cells for general research applications.
Requests for cells for general research purposes are directed to public service collections, such as:
A full list of cell culture collections can be found at the World Federation for Cell Culture Collections website.
Available cell lines and prescribed uses
Apart from MRC-5 PDL 13 (660902), none of the cells listed below are released as cell substrates for development of vaccine production
For vaccine QA/QC testing and isolation
The following cell lines are available to WHO polio network members for the isolation of polio virus and potency/safety testing of polio vaccines:
RD-CDC (Accession No. 081003) from CDC, Atlanta, 2008
Hep2c (Accession No. 740502) from Flow Laboratories, 1974
HeLa (Accession No. 710101) donated by PHLS Colindale, 1971
L20B (Accession No. 081102) donated by Columbia State University, from CDC, Atlanta, 2008
For virus isolation only:
For the isolation of mumps virus: (Available to WHO polio network members)
B95a (Accession No. 001026) Donated by PHLS Colindale, 1971
For the isolation of influenza virus: Available to NIBSC named collaborators
MDCK (Accession No. 821104) From Salisbury Common Cold Unit, 1982
For vaccine safety and efficacy testing:
For the detection of Dengue specific antibodies in vaccinee sera (available to WHO Dengue vaccination programme network members):
Dengue-Vero (Accession No. 011038) from WHO, 2001
For vaccine QA/QC testing only:
The following cell lines are available to manufacturers/National Control Laboratories/WHO collaborators for the potency/safety testing of vaccines:
Vero - derived from WHO 10-87 (Accession No. 880101) From Institut Merieux, 1988
MRC-5 PDL 15 (Accession No. 660902) Produced at MRC/NIBSC, 1966
For vaccine development:
The following cell line is available to manufacturers/National Control Laboratories/WHO collaborators for the development of vaccine production:
MRC-5 PDL 13 (Accession No. 660902) Produced at MRC/NIBSC, 1966
If the intended purpose for your requested cell line falls outside of these prescribed uses NIBSC will be unlikely to provide you with cells.
See the cell requests information sheet for more details. To request cells please complete the form, and scan the signed form preferably as a PDF and send to Cellsubstrates@nibsc.org.
Research and development
An in-house developed mycoplasma QPCR assay has been validated for its sensitivity, robustness and specificity on a panel of nine mycoplasma species as recommended by the European Pharmacopeia (EP).
The performance of the assay has also been verified on an additional 118 species of mollicutes, demonstrating its broad species coverage of mollicutes species, without cross-reaction to closely related prokaryotes.
This single-tube assay incorporates an internal control to monitor matrix interference and to distinguish false from true negative reactions.
Additional studies looking at the cell culture kinetics of infection using a panel of five titred mycoplasma reference strains have been carried on out on two cell lines – MRC-5 and WHO Vero – to establish the optimal sample to be harvested for mycoplasma testing.
Details of the assay have now been published: Sung J. & Hawkins J.R. A highly sensitive internally-controlled real-time PCR assay for mycoplasma detection in cell cultures. Biologicals. 2020 Mar; 64: 58-72. doi: 10.1016/j.biologicals.2019.12.007. Epub 2020 Jan 16. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.biologicals.2019.12.007
Staff and collaborations
The Cell Supply group in the division of Advanced Therapies is managed and run by Miltiades Stylianou and Dr Ross Hawkins. We work in close collaboration with the NIBSC Division of Virology and the WHO cell substrates working group.
Recommendations for the Evaluation of Animal Cell Cultures as Substrates for the Manufacture of Biological Medicinal Products and for the Characterization of Cell banks. Replacement of Annex 1, TRS, 878. Technical Report Series 978, Annex 3
Report of the WHO Study Group on Cell Substrates for the Production of Biologicals, Bethesda, USA, 22-23 April 2009
WHO Study Group on Cell Substrates for Production of Biologicals, WHO, Geneva, Switzerland, 11-12 June 2007