A reference standard is needed for quality control of protein subunit SARS-CoV-2 vaccines to meet urgent domestic needs. The Chinese National Institutes for Food and Drug Control (NIFDC) launched a project to establish the first reference material for the protein subunit SARS-CoV-2 vaccine to be used for calibration of antigen testing. The potency and stability of the national candidate standard (CS) were determined by collaborative calibration, and accelerated and freeze-thaw degradation studies. Moreover, a suitability study of the CS was performed. Eight laboratories in mainland China were asked to detect antigen content of CS using a common validated enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay (ELISA) kit established by NIFDC and in-house kits in the collaborative study. Six laboratories returned valid results, which established that the antigen content of the CS was 876,938 YU/mL, with good agreement across laboratories. In the suitability study, the CS exhibited excellent parallelism and a linear relationship with four samples produced by different expression systems and target proteins. In addition, good stability in the accelerated and freeze-thaw degradation study was observed. In conclusion, the CS was approved by the Biological Product Reference Standards Sub-Committee of the National Drug Reference Standards Committee as the first Chinese national standard for determining antigen content of protein subunit SARS-CoV-2 vaccines, with an assigned antigen content of 877,000 U/mL (Lot. 300050-202101). This standard will contribute to a standardized assessment of protein subunit SARS-CoV-2 vaccine in China and may provide experience for developing reference materials for antigen content detection of SARS-CoV-2 vaccine in other countries.
Available online 14 February 2022