Adding Insulin Improves Viral Yield in Vaccine Production

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Insulin has been shown to improve the production of viruses and viral vectors.

Producing large quantities of vaccines in a fast and cost-effective way is an ongoing challenge for the industry. Manufacturers are often reluctant to make major changes to their bioprocesses because of the costs associated with getting regulatory approval.

The use of insulin, an already approved growth factor, has been proposed as an additive to boost cell growth, productivity, and viral yield. Aziza Manceur, a research officer at the National Research Council Canada, will be discussing in a webinar on Oct. 27, 2016, how insulin can be used in the large-scale production of viral vectors using HEK293SF-3F6 cells in bioreactors. She will describe the effects of insulin on cell growth and virus production, as well as a method for influenza quantification with universal antibodies and adenovirus using high-performance liquid chromatography (HPLC).

Adenoviruses have been successfully produced in large-scale bioreactors using HEK293SF-3F6 cells. Insulin has been shown to improve the production of viruses and viral vectors. The addition of 25 to 100 µg/mL insulin to the culture at the time of infection, for example, was found to increase the productivity of an H1N1 influenza strain by almost two folds. It was observed that this increase in production was accompanied by an activation of signaling pathways associated with cell survival.


Manceur will be presenting results with an H3N2 strain in the webinar. She will also discuss the effect of insulin on adenovirus production and show an example of improved production in a 3L-bioreactor with insulin.