With the advancement of modern biomedical research, new discoveries and potential treatments are being developed in many scientific fields, including genetics, molecular biology, and medicinal chemistry. As a biological resource, pathogenic organisms are important in the field of microbiology. There have been an increasing number of pathogenic microbial strains discovered recently, and these strains are being used to teach, conduct research, and generate products in biological industries. In order to ensure the quality and vitality of pathogenic microbes after long-term preservation, it is crucial to optimize their preservation in order to maximize their biological characteristics for therapeutic development.
Viruses and bacteria are not always considered to be harmful microorganisms. There is no doubt that these groups of microbes are beneficial and play a significant role in a wide range of biological functions. Researchers are now exploring ways to use microbes to treat disease and enhance human health, based on our perception that microbes are our partners.
The National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases (NIAID) have awarded American Type Culture Collection (ATCC) a $1.9 million task order agreement for the development of well-characterized challenge materials (WCCMs) for use in therapeutic development. Through ATCC assistance, NIAID will be able to optimize pathogenic organisms’ growth, production, and distribution in order to develop new therapeutics. ATCC provides well-characterized BSL-3 (Biosafety Level-3) and BSL-4 (Biosafety Level-4) viruses of public health concern, including pandemic or epidemic potential. NIAID’s therapeutic development needs can be met with ATCC’s expertise in producing gold-standard therapeutic materials.
“NIAID came up with the concept of well-characterized challenge material (WCCM) for use in testing after seeing differences in variants and results, even though it was assumed that the starting materials were the same. It was determined that the starting materials needed to be developed under very strict controls and tested along the way. The need for WCCM became even more apparent during the pandemic. The virus, which is a BSL-3, mutated so rapidly that by the time researchers were testing materials in their labs, there were changes occurring and they were working with different variants of the material. At ATCC, authentication is extremely important to us. By working with NIAID on WCCM, our goal is to ensure that everyone who obtains materials from ATCC knows that they are starting with an authenticated WCCM. Credible leads to incredible by knowing what you’re working with.” said Joseph Leonelli, Ph.D., Vice President, ATCC Federal Solutions.
“As part of our ongoing support of the infectious disease community, ATCC is working with the DoD on the early stages of developing medical countermeasures. Although we do not develop therapeutics for human use, we do develop the research materials that could evolve into potential candidates for human therapeutic treatments. We also screen existing materials that could have potential therapeutic values, such as drugs that are already FDA approved for certain diseases, to see if they work on different viral infections. For example, if there is an FDA-approved drug for the influenza virus, we screen it for SARS-CoV-2 to see if it has any therapeutic value. We also use this screening process to look at candidates, such as small molecules or potential inhibitors to infectious disease materials, that could be used in the future as a therapeutic treatment.” he added.
A wide range of research is necessary toward the development of therapies for viruses with epidemic or pandemic potential. Genes are likely to be altered in cell culture and in vivo models, leading to the development of heterogeneous virion structures. It is imperative to optimize production capacity while simultaneously ensuring genomic homogeneity (WCCM) in the development of therapeutic products.
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