Development of a monoclonal antibody sandwich ELISA for the determination of antigen content and quality in diphtheria vaccines

Main Article Content

Laura Hassall , Daniel A. Yara, Rebecca Riches-Duit, Peter Rigsby, Alexandre Dobly, Maxime Vermeulen, Antoine Francotte, Paul Stickings
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Abstract

At present, quality control of diphtheria vaccines by both manufacturers and national control laboratories relies heavily on in vivo assays to confirm potency. As part of the VAC2VAC project we have developed a monoclonal antibody (mAb) enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay (ELISA) to measure the relative amount and quality of diphtheria toxoid (DTxd) in diphtheria-tetanus based vaccines and believe this test has the potential to play a key role in a control strategy no longer including an in vivo potency test. The mAb ELISA is highly specific, has good dilutional linearity, and is suitable for detecting DTxd in a range of different human vaccine products. We demonstrate the ability of the assay to discriminate between batches of different content and quality using vaccine batches that were prepared to contain differing amounts of DTxd or were altered by exposure to heat or oxidative stress. We also demonstrate successful transfer of the method to other laboratories and show that different diphtheria antigen materials may be able to serve as a reference antigen for local standardization of the method. The assay is ideally suited for incorporation into a consistency approach for routine diphtheria vaccine quality control testing and may be suitable to serve as the stability indicating test in replacement of the current in vivo potency test.


Plain language summary
Diphtheria vaccines help to protect against diphtheria infection. Currently, animal tests are used to ensure the potency of such vaccines. Since these tests were first introduced, there have been improvements in non-animal technologies that can be used to ensure consistent production of potent vaccine batches. To demonstrate that a new batch of diphtheria vaccine is consistent with a previous batch of known potency, the quality and amount of the component that stimulates the immune response upon vaccination must be assessed in comparison. We have developed an assay that can measure the quality of a range of different diphtheria vaccine product types. The assay is very specific and reliable, and different laboratories obtained comparable results, showing that the assay is suited for routine use. Once validated by manufacturers and recognized by regulators, this assay will greatly reduce the number of animals needed for batch release of diphtheria vaccines.

Article Details

How to Cite
Hassall, L. (2024) “Development of a monoclonal antibody sandwich ELISA for the determination of antigen content and quality in diphtheria vaccines”, ALTEX - Alternatives to animal experimentation, 41(1), pp. 57–68. doi: 10.14573/altex.2305251.
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