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Biofactory for the production of coronavirus antigens

Antigen productionCoronaviruscovid-19LeishmaniaSARS-CoV-2


The patent proposes the use of protozoan Leishmania properly engineered to allow for the cheap and rapid production of recombinant antigens of virus belonging to the Coronaviridae family, with a glycosylation pattern close to the natural proteins. These proteins can then be used for the development of serological tests for the diagnosis of infections caused by Coronaviruses.

Technical features

The synthesis of recombinant viral antigens very similar or identical to those produced by a human virus during its natural infection cycle is needed for the large-scale production of diagnostic tests. To date, the eukaryotic expression systems proposed for the production of coronavirus antigens are yeast, insect or mammalian cells. Yeast and insect systems, having an incorrect glycosylation pattern, are not useful. Production in mammalian cells, on the other hand, implies high production costs. The patent protects a protozoan, Leishmania, properly manipulated and engineered to produce viral antigens. The invention overcomes the limitations of traditional systems: in fact, it can be easily scalable and allows the production of proteins at low cost ensuring a glycosylation pattern very similar to that of mammals. The antigens thus obtained can then be used in diagnostic tests for the detection of specific anti-Sars-Cov-2 antibodies in the blood.

Possible Applications

  • Development of tests for the diagnosis and monitoring of coronavirus-borne infections;
  • Production of recombinant proteins.


  • Easy-to-handle organism;
  • Glycosylation pattern compatible with the human one;
  • Cheap production of recombinant antigens;
  • Scalable for industrial production.