Update: COVID-19 Vaccine Candidates and Abortion-Derived Cell Lines

David Prentice, Ph.D.  

To view this chart as a PDF, see: COVID-19 Vaccine Candidates and Abortion-Derived Cell Lines

 

Updated November 11, 2020

 

Accurate information about the development and production of COVID-19 vaccines is essential, especially because many proposed candidates use newer molecular technologies for production of a viral vaccine. One concern regarding the ethical assessment of viral vaccine candidates is the potential use of abortion-derived cell lines in the development, production or testing of a vaccine. This analysis utilizes data from the primary scientific literature when available, along with data from clinical trial documents, reputable vaccine tracking websites, and published commercial information.1 It is the hope that by providing accurate data, recipients can make well-informed decisions regarding vaccine choices.

 

For additional background and guidance, please see:

* A Visual Aid to Viral Infection and Vaccine Production for a visual primer on the various strategies for viral vaccine production.

* COVID-19 Vaccines & Fetal Cell Lines for an infographic description of how fetal cell lines are sometimes used to produce vaccines.

 

Flow Chart for Creation and Testing of Vaccines

Design & Development: conceptualization, preparatory experiments, and specification for how vaccine will be constructed and produced.

Production: process used to manufacture final vaccine to be given to people.

 

Confirmatory Lab Tests on Product: tests to analyze quality, nucleic acid or protein sequence, protein conformation, antibody reactivity, etc. of final vaccine product.

 

Vaccination: giving final produced vaccine to people.

 

 

 

    

Analysis of SARS-CoV-2 (COVID-19) Vaccine Candidates

Last Updated 10 November 2020

 

DOES NOT USE abortion-derived cell line

 

 

DOES USE abortion-derived cell line

 

 

SOME tests DO NOT use abortion-derived cells, SOME DO.

 

[BLANK]   Currently undetermined

Sponsor(s)1 Country Strategy2 Clinical Trial Status3 Public Funding4 Design & Development Production Confirm-atory
Lab Tests
       
WHOLE VIRUS VACCINE – LIVE ATTENUATED or INACTIVATED
Beijing Institute of Biological Products/ Sinopharm China Inactivated virus

“BBIBP-CorV”

Given: Intramuscular

Phase 3

Phase 1/2

🟩

Vero monkey cells

 

🟩

Vero monkey cells

 

Wuhan Institute of Biological Products/ Sinopharm China Inactivated virus

Unnamed

Given: Intramuscular

Phase 3

Phase 1/2

🟩

Vero monkey cells

 

🟩

Vero monkey cells

Xia et al., JAMA 324, 951, 13Aug2020

John Paul II Medical Research Institute USA Live attenuated virus

 

Pre-clinical 🟩

Ethical cell lines as a matter of policy

🟩

Perinatal human cells (term umbilical cord and placental)

Sinovac Biotech Co., Ltd. China Inactivated virus

“PiCoVacc”

Given: Intramuscular

Phase 3

Phase 3

Phase 1/2

Phase 1/2

Phase 1/2

🟩

Vero monkey cells

 

🟩

Vero monkey cells

Gao et al., Science 369, 77, 3July2020

🟩🔺

protein test

HEK293 cells

Supplement Gao et al., Science 369, 77, 3July2020

VIRAL VECTOR-BASED VACCINE
Altimmune USA Replication-deficient

Adenovirus vector

“AdCOVID”

Given: Intranasal

Pre-clinical 🔺

PER.C6 cells

🔺

PER.C6 cells

Same platform as NasoVAX

NasoVAX uses PER.C6

Licensed PER.C6 from Janssen

🔺
AstraZeneca

University of Oxford

 

USA

UK

Replication-deficient

Adenovirus vector

“AZD1222”

“ChAdOX1nCoV-19”

Given: Intramuscular

Phase 3

Phase 3

Phase 3

Phase 2/3

Phase 2/3

Phase 1/2

Phase 1/2

Operation Warp Speed

HHS-BARDA

$1.2 Billion

CEPI up to  $384 Million

🔺

HEK293 cells

🔺

HEK293 cells

van Doremalen et al., Nature preprint, 30July2020

🔺
CanSino Biologics, Inc.

Beijing Institute of Biotechnology, Academy of Military Medical Sciences, PLA of China

China Replication-deficient

Adenovirus vector

“Ad5-nCoV”

Given: Intramuscular

Phase 3

Phase 3

Phase 2

Phase 2

Phase 2

Phase 1

Phase 1

🔺

HEK293 cells

🔺

HEK293 cells

Biospace, 12May2020

🔺
Gamaleya Research Institute Russia Replication-deficient

Adenovirus vectors

(rAd26-S+rAd5-S)

“Sputnik V”

Given: Intramuscular

Phase 3

Early approval in Russia August 2020

Phase 1/2

Phase 1/2

🔺

HEK293 cells

🔺

HEK293 cells

🔺
Institut Pasteur and Themis and Merck USA

France

Replication-competent recombinant measles virus

“TMV-083”

Given: Intramuscular

Phase 1 CEPI up to $4.9 Million 🟩

Vero monkey cells

Janssen Research & Development, Inc.

Johnson & Johnson

USA Replication-deficient

Adenovirus vector

“Ad26”
Given: Intramuscular

Phase 3

Phase 1/2

Operation Warp Speed

HHS-BARDA

$1,457,887,081 total

🔺

PER.C6 cells

🔺

PER.C6 cells

Tostanoski et al., Nature Medicine, 3Sept2020;

J&J, 30March2020;

Janssen Vaccine Technologies

🔺
Merck and IAVI USA Replication-competent recombinant vesicular stomatitis virus (VSVΔG)

“V590”

Given: Intramuscular

Pre-clinical Operation Warp Speed

HHS-BARDA

$38,033,570

🟩

Vero monkey cells

🟩

Vero monkey cells

Use rVSV Ervebo platform

Ervebo uses Vero cell culture-11 Description

Shenzhen Geno-immune

Medical Institute

China Lentivirus minigenes +

Adult human APC (antigen-presenting cells)

 

Phase 1 🟩
Shenzhen Geno-immune

Medical Institute

China Lentivirus minigenes +

Adult human CD/T cells (dendritic cells and T cells)

“LV-SMENP-DC”

Phase 1/2 🟩
Vaxart USA Replication-deficient

Adenovirus vector

“VXA-CoV2-1”

plus dsRNA adjuvant

Given: Oral

Phase 1 🔺

HEK293 cells

🔺

HEK293 cells

Moore et al., bioRxiv 6Sept2020

🔺
PROTEIN-BASED VACCINE
Anhui Zhifei Longcom Biopharmaceutical/Institute of Microbiology, Chinese Academy of Sciences China Protein vaccine

Recombinant RBD dimer

plus adjuvant

Given: Intramuscular

Phase 2

Phase 1/2

Phase 1

🔺

HEK293T cells

Dai et al., Cell 6Aug2020

🟩

CHO hamster cells

Dai et al., Cell 6Aug2020

🔺

Pseudovirus

HEK293T cells

Dai et al., Cell 6Aug2020

Clover Biopharmaceuticals, Inc. China Protein vaccine

“SCB-2019”

plus adjuvant CpG 1018

Given: Intramuscular

Phase 1 CEPI up to $69.5 Million 🟩 🟩

CHO hamster cells

Trimer-Tag system;

Liu et al., Scientific Reports 2017

John Paul II Medical Research Institute USA Recombinant Protein

Perinatal human cells (term umbilical cord and placental)

Pre-clinical 🟩

Ethical cell lines as a matter of policy

🟩

Perinatal human cells (term umbilical cord and placental)

Medicago Canada Protein on Virus-Like Particle

“CoVLP”

Plant-expressed spike protein particle with adjuvant, CpG1018 or AS03

Given: Intramuscular

Phase 1   🟩

Recombinant DNA sequence in Agrobacterium, transformation of plant cells

🟩

Plant expression of protein and VLP

Ward et al., medRxiv 6Nov2020

🟩🔺

Pseudovirus

HEK293 cells

Ward et al., medRxiv 6Nov2020

Novavax USA Protein vaccine

“NVX-CoV2373”

Baculovirus expression

plus Matrix M adjuvant

Given: Intramuscular

Phase 3

Phase 2

Phase 1

Operation Warp Speed

HHS-BARDA

$1,600,434,523

CEPI up to  $388 Million

🟩 🟩

Sf9 insect cells

Bangaru et al., bioRxiv preprint, 6Aug2020;

Graphical view

🟩🔺

Pseudovirus

HEK293 cells

Bangaru et al., bioRxiv preprint, 6Aug2020

Sanofi and GSK

Protein Sciences

 

USA

France

Protein vaccine

Baculovirus expression

plus AS03 adjuvant

Given: Intramuscular

Phase 1/2 Operation Warp Speed

HHS-BARDA

$2,072,775,336 total

🟩 🟩

Sf9 insect cells

Baculovirus expressed recombinant protein ;

 

Sorrento USA Protein vaccine

“T-VIVA-19”

SARS-Cov-2 spike protein S1 domain fused with human IgG-Fc

Given: Intramuscular

Pre-clinical 🟩 🟩

CHO cells

Herrmann et al., bioRxiv preprint, 30June2020

Sorrento USA Protein vaccine

“STI-6991”

SARS-Cov-2 spike protein expressed on K562 cells

Pre-clinical 🟩

K562 cells

Concept: Ji et al., Medicine in Drug Discovery March2020

University of Pittsburgh USA Protein vaccine

Adenovirus-expressed

recombinant proteins

“PittCoVacc”

Given: Microneedle arrays

Pre-clinical 🔺

HEK293 cells

🔺

HEK293 cells

Kim et al., EBioMedicine , 2April2020

🔺
University of Queensland and CSL Ltd. Australia Protein vaccine

“V451”

Recombinant protein with proprietary molecular clamp

Given: Intramuscular

Phase 1

Phase 1

Phase 1

CEPI up to $4.5 Million 🟩 🟩

expiCHO hamster cells

 

       
RNA VACCINE
Arcturus Therapeutics USA mRNA vaccine

self-transcribing, replicating

“LUNAR-CoV19” (“ARCT-021”)

in vitro transcription reaction with T7 RNA polymerase from STARR plasmid template

LUNAR proprietary lipid nanoparticle encapsulated

Given: Intramuscular

Phase 1/2 🟩

Sequence designed on computer

🟩

No cells used

de Alwis et al., bioRxiv 3Sept2020

🟩🔺

protein test

de Alwis et al., bioRxiv 3Sept2020

CureVac Germany mRNA vaccine

non-replicating

“CVnCoV”

in vitro transcription

lipid nanoparticle encapsulated

Given: Intramuscular

Phase 2

Phase 1

CEPI up to $15.3 Million 🟩

Sequence designed on computer

🟩

No cells used

Rauch et al., bioRxiv 23Oct2020

🟩

Protein test

Reticulocyte lysate,
HeLa cells

Rauch et al., bioRxiv 23Oct2020

Moderna, Inc.

with National Institutes of Health

USA mRNA vaccine

non-replicating

“mRNA-1273”

T7 RNA polymerase-mediated transcription from DNA plasmid template

LNP (lipid nanoparticle) encapsulated

Given: Intramuscular

Phase 3

Phase 2

Phase 1

Operation Warp Speed

HHS-BARDA

$2,479,894,979 total

CEPI up to $1 Million

 

🟩

Sequence designed on computer

🟩

No cells used

Corbett et al., Nature , 5Aug2020

🟩🔺

protein test

& pseudovirus

HEK293 cells

Corbett et al., Nature , 5Aug2020

Pfizer and BioNTech USA

Germany

mRNA vaccine

non-replicating

“BNT-162a1,b1,b2,b3,c2”

nucleoside-modified mRNA in vitro transcribed by T7 polymerase from a plasmid DNA template

LNP (lipid nanoparticle) encapsulated

Given: Intramuscular

Phase 2/3

Phase 1/2

Phase 1/2

Phase 1

Phase 1

 

Operation Warp Speed

HHS-BARDA

$1.95 Billion

🟩

Sequence designed on computer

🟩

No cells used

Vogel et al., bioRxiv 8Sept2020

🟩🔺

protein test

& pseudovirus

HEK293 cells

Vogel et al., bioRxiv 8Sept2020

Sanofi Pasteur and

Translate Bio

USA

France

mRNA vaccine

non-replicating

“MRT5500”

synthesized by in vitro transcription employing RNA polymerase with a plasmid DNA template

LNP (lipid nanoparticle) encapsulated

Given: Intramuscular

Pre-clinical 🟩

Sequence designed on computer

🟩

No cells used

Kalnin et al., bioRxiv 14Oct2020

mRNA production in the lab ;

Translate Bio scientific platform

🟩🔺

protein test

& pseudovirus

HEK293 cells

Kalnin et al., bioRxiv 14Oct2020

       
DNA VACCINE
Genexine Korea DNA vaccine

“GX-19”style=”border: 1px solid black;”

DNA synthesized in vitro, placed in plasmid vector

Given: Intramuscular and Electroporation

Phase 1/2   🟩

Sequence designed on computer

🟩

No cells used

Seo et al., bioRxiv 10Oct2020

Inovio Pharmaceuticals USA DNA vaccine

“INO-4800”

DNA synthesized in vitro, placed in plasmid vector

Given: Intradermal Electroporation

Phase 1/2

Phase 1

Operation Warp Speed

CEPI up to $22.5 Million

🟩

Sequence designed on computer

🟩

No cells used

Smith et al., Nature 20May2020

🟩🔺

protein test

& pseudovirus

HEK293 cells

Smith et al., Nature 20May2020

Symvivo Corporation Canada DNA vaccine

Genetically engineered Bifidobacterium longum

“bacTRL-spike”

Given: Oral, bacteria bind to gut lining

Phase 1 🟩

No cells used

 

  1. Data accumulated from primary literature as referenced in the Chart; AND “COVID-19 Treatment and Vaccine Tracker,” Milken Institute, https://covid-19tracker.milkeninstitute.org/ ; AND “Draft landscape of COVID-19 candidate vaccines,” World Health Organization (WHO), https://www.who.int/publications/m/item/draft-landscape-of-covid-19-candidate-vaccines
    NOTE that patents are not considered because they are unreliable sources; even the most relevant patents are prospective documents that provide examples of potential use, but do not provide information about actual, current application of an invention or technology.
  2. Prentice, DA and Sander Lee, T. June 15, 2020. A Visual Aid to Viral Infection and Vaccine Production. On Science Series 1. Accessed 19 June 2020 at: https://lozierinstitute.org/a-visual-aid-to-viral-infection-and-vaccine-production/
  3. Phases of Clinical Trials: Pre-clinical- laboratory and animal studies; Phase I- 10-100 people, study safety and dosage; Phase II- tens to hundreds of people, study efficacy, dosage, side effects; Phase III- hundreds to thousands of people, study efficacy and adverse reactions.
  4. HHS-BARDA = U.S. Health and Human Services-Biomedical Advanced Research and Development Authority; CEPI = Coalition of Epidemic Preparedness Innovations; BARDA’s rapidly-expanding COVID-19 medical countermeasure portfolio. Accessed 29 Sept 2020 at https://www.medicalcountermeasures.gov/app/barda/coronavirus/COVID19.aspx; CEPI’s COVID-19 Vaccine Portfolio, Accessed 29 Sept 2020 at https://cepi.net/COVAX/

 

 

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