INNOVATION. The National Center for Electrochemistry and Environmental Technologies (CNETE) delivered in mid-July its first viral proteins intended for university teams involved in the fight against COVID-19.
Concretely, this N protein (nucleocapsid) of the SARS-CoV-2 virus will be used, among other things, for the development of clinical tests to measure in a few minutes the antibodies expressed following an infection with COVID-19 and for the development vaccine against COVID-19.
CNETE explains that the first results from its use have demonstrated excellent performance in terms of efficiency. The expertise and equipment found at the college center for technology transfer at Cégep de Shawinigan allow the establishment of a local production site for these proteins, in addition to making personalized proteins accessible to their employees, according to their need. CNETE is also starting the production of other proteins linked to COVID-19, in a larger volume, during the month of August.
We know that from the start of the pandemic, research teams involved in the development of vaccines and detection tests were faced with serious difficulties in sourcing SARS-CoV-2 proteins. This shortage is global and ongoing, resulting in unacceptable delivery times and conditions such as products arriving without essential refrigeration and at already high prices having tripled. Some of these products are currently available in quantities on the order of a fraction of a milligram at prices over $ 2,000, which is clearly insufficient to support the research teams.
The CNETE team specialized in molecular biology and led by Dr. Jean-François Lemay succeeded in producing, initially, 4 mg of N protein (nucleocapsid) of the SARS-CoV-2 virus for a price of $ 4,000. The availability of these proteins in the quality and in the quantities required will allow research teams to develop solutions to COVID-19 as soon as possible.
The protein production project was carried out with joint funding from the Fonds de recherche du Québec – Santé (FRQS) and the Ministry of Economy and Innovation (MEI) through the support program for research organizations and innovation, component 2a: support for research-innovation projects, and funding from the Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council of Canada (NSERC), through the College and Community Innovation Program – Support applied research in response to COVID-19.