Severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2), the pathogen that causes COVID-19, has severely impacted health and socioeconomic conditions around the world. Supporting and enabling research to help us better understand the host-pathogen response and evaluate new therapies continues to be of the utmost importance in the continued fight against COVID-19.
The structure of the SARS-CoV-2 virion consists of four proteins: the nucleocapsid, the membrane, the envelope, and the spike. SARS-CoV-2 enters the host cell through the binding of the spike protein to ACE2 receptors on the surface of the host cell. A major avenue of COVID-19 research continues to be the evaluation of new drugs and antibodies that disrupt the ability of the SARS-CoV-2 spike protein to interact with the host cell.
Current guidelines recommend that SARS-CoV-2 virus be handled in a biosafety level 3 (BSL-3) or higher facility, which severely limits the number of researchers that can work on new therapies or treatments for COVID-19. To circumvent the use of highly infectious SARS-CoV-2 particles, scientists have utilized recombinant lentivirus particles that have been pseudotyped with the SARS-CoV-2 spike protein. Pseudotying creates lentiviral particles that mimic the infectious behavior of SARS-CoV-2 virus variants without the pathological effects of the live virus. Pseudotyping makes SARS-CoV-2 research safer and more cost-effective, and previous studies have shown that experiments performed with pseudotyped virus yield similar, if not the same, results as those performed with the more dangerous, live virus (Johnson et al. 2020).
SARS-CoV-2 pseudovirus has been an indispensable research tool throughout the COVID-19 pandemic. However, every time a new SARS-CoV-2 variant with new spike protein mutations emerges, a new pseudovirus encoding the mutated spike protein must be produced to evaluate existing and new therapies. Additionally, pseudovirus production can be time-consuming and require extensive optimization. Lenti-X SARS-CoV-2 Packaging Single Shots (Universal) takes the guesswork out of pseudovirus production while allowing the flexibility to use any SARS-CoV-2 spike variant.