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1.
EBioMedicine ; 92: 104597, 2023 Jun.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-2311635

ABSTRACT

BACKGROUND: Convalescent plasma (CP) transfusion is an early option for treating infections with pandemic potential, often preceding vaccine or antiviral drug rollout. Heterogenous findings from randomized clinical trials on transfusion of COVID-19 CP (CCP) have been reported. However, meta-analysis suggests that transfusion of high titer CCP is associated with a mortality benefit for COVID-19 outpatients or inpatients treated within 5 days after symptom onset, indicating the importance of early administration. METHODS: We tested if CCP is an effective prophylactic against SARS-CoV-2 infection by the intranasal administration of 25 µL CCP/nostril (i.e. 0.01-0.06 mg anti-RBD antibodies/kg) in hamsters exposed to infected littermates. FINDINGS: In this model, 40% of CCP treated hamsters were fully protected and 40% had significantly reduced viral loads, the remaining 20% was not protected. The effect seems dose-dependent because high-titer CCP from a vaccinated donor was more effective than low-titer CCP from a donation prior to vaccine rollout. Intranasal administration of human CCP resulted in a reactive (immune) response in hamster lungs, however this was not observed upon administration of hamster CCP. INTERPRETATION: We conclude that CCP is an effective prophylactic when used directly at the site of primary infection. This option should be considered in future prepandemic preparedness plans. FUNDING: Flanders Innovation & Entrepreneurship (VLAIO) and the Foundation for Scientific Research of the Belgian Red Cross Flanders.


Subject(s)
COVID-19 , Animals , Cricetinae , Humans , Administration, Intranasal , COVID-19 Serotherapy , SARS-CoV-2 , Antiviral Agents , Antibodies, Viral
2.
Nat Commun ; 14(1): 2124, 2023 04 14.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-2290485

ABSTRACT

The SARS-CoV-2 main protease (3CLpro) is one of the promising therapeutic targets for the treatment of COVID-19. Nirmatrelvir is the first 3CLpro inhibitor authorized for treatment of COVID-19 patients at high risk of hospitalization. We recently reported on the in vitro selection of SARS-CoV-2 3CLpro resistant virus (L50F-E166A-L167F; 3CLprores) that is cross-resistant with nirmatrelvir and other 3CLpro inhibitors. Here, we demonstrate that the 3CLprores virus replicates efficiently in the lungs of intranasally infected female Syrian hamsters and causes lung pathology comparable to that caused by the WT virus. Moreover, hamsters infected with 3CLprores virus transmit the virus efficiently to co-housed non-infected contact hamsters. Importantly, at a dose of 200 mg/kg (BID) of nirmatrelvir, the compound was still able to reduce the lung infectious virus titers of 3CLprores-infected hamsters by 1.4 log10 with a modest improvement in the lung histopathology as compared to the vehicle control. Fortunately, resistance to Nirmatrelvir does not readily develop in clinical setting. Yet, as we demonstrate, in case drug-resistant viruses emerge, they may spread easily which may thus impact therapeutic options. Therefore, the use of 3CLpro inhibitors in combination with other drugs may be considered, especially in immunodeficient patients, to avoid the development of drug-resistant viruses.


Subject(s)
COVID-19 , SARS-CoV-2 , Cricetinae , Animals , Humans , Female , Mesocricetus , COVID-19/pathology , Lung/pathology , Antiviral Agents/pharmacology , Antiviral Agents/therapeutic use
3.
Front Pharmacol ; 13: 1072202, 2022.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-2199120

ABSTRACT

Remdesivir was the first antiviral drug to be approved for the treatment of severe COVID-19; followed by molnupiravir (another prodrug of a nucleoside analogue) and the protease inhibitor nirmatrelvir. Combination of antiviral drugs may result in improved potency and help to avoid or delay the development of resistant variants. We set out to explore the combined antiviral potency of GS-441524 (the parent nucleoside of remdesivir) and molnupiravir against SARS-CoV-2. In SARS-CoV-2 (BA.5) infected A549-Dual™ hACE2-TMPRSS2 cells, the combination resulted in an overall additive antiviral effect with a synergism at certain concentrations. Next, the combined effect was explored in Syrian hamsters infected with SARS-CoV-2 (Beta, B.1.351); treatment was started at the time of infection and continued twice daily for four consecutive days. At day 4 post-infection, GS-441524 (50 mg/kg, oral BID) and molnupiravir (150 mg/kg, oral BID) as monotherapy reduced infectious viral loads by 0.5 and 1.6 log10, respectively, compared to the vehicle control. When GS-441524 (50 mg/kg, BID) and molnupiravir (150 mg/kg, BID) were combined, infectious virus was no longer detectable in the lungs of 7 out of 10 of the treated hamsters (4.0 log10 reduction) and titers in the other animals were reduced by ∼2 log10. The combined antiviral activity of molnupiravir which acts by inducing lethal mutagenesis and GS-441524, which acts as a chain termination appears to be highly effective in reducing SARS-CoV-2 replication/infectivity. The unexpected potent antiviral effect of the combination warrants further exploration as a potential treatment for COVID-19.

4.
Nat Commun ; 13(1): 6644, 2022 Nov 04.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-2106406

ABSTRACT

Current COVID-19 vaccines are based on prototypic spike sequences from ancestral 2019 SARS-CoV-2 strains. However, the ongoing pandemic is fueled by variants of concern (VOC) escaping vaccine-mediated protection. Here we demonstrate how immunization in hamsters using prototypic spike expressed from yellow fever 17D (YF17D) as vector blocks ancestral virus (B lineage) and VOC Alpha (B.1.1.7) yet fails to fully protect from Beta (B.1.351). However, the same YF17D vectored vaccine candidate with an evolved antigen induced considerably improved neutralizing antibody responses against VOCs Beta, Gamma (P.1) and the recently predominant Omicron (B.1.1.529), while maintaining immunogenicity against ancestral virus and VOC Delta (B.1.617.2). Thus vaccinated animals resisted challenge by all VOCs, including vigorous high titre exposure to the most difficult to cover Beta, Delta and Omicron variants, eliminating detectable virus and markedly improving lung pathology. Finally, vaccinated hamsters did not transmit Delta variant to non-vaccinated cage mates. Overall, our data illustrate how current first-generation COVID-19 vaccines may need to be updated to maintain efficacy against emerging VOCs and their spread at community level.


Subject(s)
COVID-19 , Viral Vaccines , Yellow Fever Vaccine , Cricetinae , Animals , Humans , SARS-CoV-2/genetics , Viral Vaccines/genetics , COVID-19 Vaccines , COVID-19/prevention & control , Antibodies, Neutralizing , Antibodies, Viral , Spike Glycoprotein, Coronavirus/genetics
5.
Science ; 378(6620): 619-627, 2022 11 11.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-2078696

ABSTRACT

Severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2) Omicron sublineages carry distinct spike mutations resulting in escape from antibodies induced by previous infection or vaccination. We show that hybrid immunity or vaccine boosters elicit plasma-neutralizing antibodies against Omicron BA.1, BA.2, BA.2.12.1, and BA.4/5, and that breakthrough infections, but not vaccination alone, induce neutralizing antibodies in the nasal mucosa. Consistent with immunological imprinting, most antibodies derived from memory B cells or plasma cells of Omicron breakthrough cases cross-react with the Wuhan-Hu-1, BA.1, BA.2, and BA.4/5 receptor-binding domains, whereas Omicron primary infections elicit B cells of narrow specificity up to 6 months after infection. Although most clinical antibodies have reduced neutralization of Omicron, we identified an ultrapotent pan-variant-neutralizing antibody that is a strong candidate for clinical development.


Subject(s)
Antibodies, Neutralizing , Antibodies, Viral , Antibody Formation , COVID-19 , Immune Evasion , SARS-CoV-2 , Spike Glycoprotein, Coronavirus , Humans , Antibodies, Neutralizing/immunology , Antibodies, Viral/immunology , COVID-19/immunology , Neutralization Tests , SARS-CoV-2/genetics , SARS-CoV-2/immunology , Immunologic Memory , Memory B Cells/immunology
6.
Microorganisms ; 10(8)2022 Aug 12.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1987897

ABSTRACT

In the absence of drugs to treat or prevent COVID-19, drug repurposing can be a valuable strategy. Despite a substantial number of clinical trials, drug repurposing did not deliver on its promise. While success was observed with some repurposed drugs (e.g., remdesivir, dexamethasone, tocilizumab, baricitinib), others failed to show clinical efficacy. One reason is the lack of clear translational processes based on adequate preclinical profiling before clinical evaluation. Combined with limitations of existing in vitro and in vivo models, there is a need for a systematic approach to urgent antiviral drug development in the context of a global pandemic. We implemented a methodology to test repurposed and experimental drugs to generate robust preclinical evidence for further clinical development. This translational drug development platform comprises in vitro, ex vivo, and in vivo models of SARS-CoV-2, along with pharmacokinetic modeling and simulation approaches to evaluate exposure levels in plasma and target organs. Here, we provide examples of identified repurposed antiviral drugs tested within our multidisciplinary collaboration to highlight lessons learned in urgent antiviral drug development during the COVID-19 pandemic. Our data confirm the importance of assessing in vitro and in vivo potency in multiple assays to boost the translatability of pre-clinical data. The value of pharmacokinetic modeling and simulations for compound prioritization is also discussed. We advocate the need for a standardized translational drug development platform for mild-to-moderate COVID-19 to generate preclinical evidence in support of clinical trials. We propose clear prerequisites for progression of drug candidates for repurposing into clinical trials. Further research is needed to gain a deeper understanding of the scope and limitations of the presented translational drug development platform.

7.
J Virol ; 96(16): e0075822, 2022 08 24.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1973792

ABSTRACT

Ancestral severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2) lacks the intrinsic ability to bind to the mouse ACE2 receptor, and therefore establishment of SARS-CoV-2 mouse models has been limited to the use of mouse-adapted viruses or genetically modified mice. Interestingly, some of the variants of concern, such as the Beta B.1.351 variant, show an improved binding to the mouse receptor and hence better replication in different wild-type (WT) mouse species. Here, we describe the establishment of a SARS-CoV-2 Beta B.1.351 variant infection model in male SCID mice as a tool to assess the antiviral efficacy of potential SARS-CoV-2 small-molecule inhibitors. Intranasal infection of male SCID mice with 105 50% tissue culture infective doses (TCID50) of the Beta B.1.351 variant resulted in high viral loads in the lungs and moderate signs of lung pathology on day 3 postinfection. Treatment of infected mice with the antiviral drugs molnupiravir (200 mg/kg, twice a day [BID]) or nirmatrelvir (300 mg/kg, BID) for 3 consecutive days significantly reduced the infectious virus titers in the lungs by 2 and 3.9 log10 TCID50/mg of tissue, respectively, and significantly improved lung pathology. Together, these data demonstrate the validity of this SCID mouse Beta B.1.351 variant infection model as a convenient preclinical model for assessment of potential activity of antivirals against SARS-CoV-2. IMPORTANCE Unlike the ancestral SARS-CoV-2 strain, the Beta (B.1.351) variant of concern has been reported to replicate to some extent in WT mice (C57BL/6 and BALB/c). We demonstrate here that infection of SCID mice with the Beta variant resulted in high viral loads in the lungs on day 3 postinfection. Treatment of infected mice with molnupiravir or nirmatrelvir for 3 consecutive days markedly reduced the infectious virus titers in the lungs and improved lung pathology. The SARS-CoV2 SCID mouse infection model, which is ideally suited for antiviral studies, offers an advantage in comparison to other SARS-CoV2 mouse models, in that there is no need for the use of mouse-adapted virus strains or genetically modified mice. Mouse models also have advantages over hamster models because (i) lower amounts of test drugs are needed, (ii) more animals can be housed in a cage, and (iii) reagents to analyze mouse samples are more readily available than those for hamsters.


Subject(s)
COVID-19 Drug Treatment , SARS-CoV-2 , Animals , Antiviral Agents/pharmacology , Antiviral Agents/therapeutic use , Cricetinae , Disease Models, Animal , Humans , Lung , Male , Mice , Mice, Inbred C57BL , Mice, SCID , RNA, Viral
8.
Nat Microbiol ; 7(9): 1376-1389, 2022 09.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1960379

ABSTRACT

The SARS-CoV-2 Omicron variant has very high levels of transmission, is resistant to neutralization by authorized therapeutic human monoclonal antibodies (mAb) and is less sensitive to vaccine-mediated immunity. To provide additional therapies against Omicron, we isolated a mAb named P2G3 from a previously infected vaccinated donor and showed that it has picomolar-range neutralizing activity against Omicron BA.1, BA.1.1, BA.2 and all other variants tested. We solved the structure of P2G3 Fab in complex with the Omicron spike using cryo-electron microscopy at 3.04 Å resolution to identify the P2G3 epitope as a Class 3 mAb that is different from mAb-binding spike epitopes reported previously. Using a SARS-CoV-2 Omicron monkey challenge model, we show that P2G3 alone, or in combination with P5C3 (a broadly active Class 1 mAb previously identified), confers complete prophylactic or therapeutic protection. Although we could select for SARS-CoV-2 mutants escaping neutralization by P2G3 or by P5C3 in vitro, they had low infectivity and 'escape' mutations are extremely rare in public sequence databases. We conclude that this combination of mAbs has potential as an anti-Omicron drug.


Subject(s)
COVID-19 , SARS-CoV-2 , Animals , Antibodies, Monoclonal , Antibodies, Viral , Cryoelectron Microscopy , Epitopes , Haplorhini , Humans , Membrane Glycoproteins , Neutralization Tests , Spike Glycoprotein, Coronavirus , Viral Envelope Proteins
9.
Science ; 377(6607): 735-742, 2022 08 12.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1949931

ABSTRACT

The coronavirus spike glycoprotein attaches to host receptors and mediates viral fusion. Using a broad screening approach, we isolated seven monoclonal antibodies (mAbs) that bind to all human-infecting coronavirus spike proteins from severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2) immune donors. These mAbs recognize the fusion peptide and acquire affinity and breadth through somatic mutations. Despite targeting a conserved motif, only some mAbs show broad neutralizing activity in vitro against alpha- and betacoronaviruses, including animal coronaviruses WIV-1 and PDF-2180. Two selected mAbs also neutralize Omicron BA.1 and BA.2 authentic viruses and reduce viral burden and pathology in vivo. Structural and functional analyses showed that the fusion peptide-specific mAbs bound with different modalities to a cryptic epitope hidden in prefusion stabilized spike, which became exposed upon binding of angiotensin-converting enzyme 2 (ACE2) or ACE2-mimicking mAbs.


Subject(s)
Angiotensin-Converting Enzyme 2 , Antibodies, Monoclonal , Antibodies, Viral , Broadly Neutralizing Antibodies , COVID-19 , SARS-CoV-2 , Spike Glycoprotein, Coronavirus , Angiotensin-Converting Enzyme 2/chemistry , Animals , Antibodies, Monoclonal/immunology , Antibodies, Monoclonal/isolation & purification , Antibodies, Viral/immunology , Antibodies, Viral/isolation & purification , Broadly Neutralizing Antibodies/immunology , COVID-19/immunology , Humans , Peptides/immunology , Protein Binding , SARS-CoV-2/immunology , Spike Glycoprotein, Coronavirus/chemistry , Spike Glycoprotein, Coronavirus/immunology
10.
iScience ; 25(8): 104705, 2022 Aug 19.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1914523

ABSTRACT

Treatment with neutralizing monoclonal antibodies (mAbs) against severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2) contributes to COVID-19 management. Unfortunately, SARS-CoV-2 variants escape several of these recently approved mAbs, highlighting the need for additional discovery and development. In a convalescent patient with COVID-19, we identified six mAbs, classified in four epitope groups, that potently neutralized SARS-CoV-2 D614G, beta, gamma, and delta infection in vitro, with three mAbs neutralizing omicron as well. In hamsters, mAbs 3E6 and 3B8 potently cured infection with SARS-CoV-2 Wuhan, beta, and delta when administered post-viral infection at 5 mg/kg. Even at 0.2 mg/kg, 3B8 still reduced viral titers. Intramuscular delivery of DNA-encoded 3B8 resulted in in vivo mAb production of median serum levels up to 90 µg/mL, and protected hamsters against delta infection. Overall, our data mark 3B8 as a promising candidate against COVID-19, and highlight advances in both the identification and gene-based delivery of potent human mAbs.

11.
Mol Ther ; 30(9): 2968-2983, 2022 09 07.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1796007

ABSTRACT

Self-amplifying RNA vaccines may induce equivalent or more potent immune responses at lower doses compared to non-replicating mRNA vaccines via amplified antigen expression. In this paper, we demonstrate that 1 µg of an LNP-formulated dual-antigen self-amplifying RNA vaccine (ZIP1642), encoding both the S-RBD and N antigen, elicits considerably higher neutralizing antibody titers against Wuhan-like Beta B.1.351 and Delta B.1.617.2 SARS-CoV-2 variants compared to those of convalescent patients. In addition, ZIP1642 vaccination in mice expanded both S- and N-specific CD3+CD4+ and CD3+CD8+ T cells and caused a Th1 shifted cytokine response. We demonstrate that the induction of such dual antigen-targeted cell-mediated immune response may provide better protection against variants displaying highly mutated Spike proteins, as infectious viral loads of both Wuhan-like and Beta variants were decreased after challenge of ZIP1642 vaccinated hamsters. Supported by these results, we encourage redirecting focus toward the induction of multiple antigen-targeted cell-mediated immunity in addition to neutralizing antibody responses to bypass waning antibody responses and attenuate infectious breakthrough and disease severity of future SARS-CoV-2 variants.


Subject(s)
COVID-19 , Viral Vaccines , Animals , Antibodies, Neutralizing , Antibodies, Viral , CD8-Positive T-Lymphocytes , COVID-19/prevention & control , COVID-19 Vaccines , Cricetinae , Humans , Immunity, Cellular , Immunity, Humoral , Mice , Mice, Inbred BALB C , RNA , SARS-CoV-2/genetics , Vaccination , Vaccines, Synthetic , mRNA Vaccines
12.
Antiviral Res ; 202: 105311, 2022 06.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1773103

ABSTRACT

Nelfinavir is an HIV protease inhibitor that has been widely prescribed as a component of highly active antiretroviral therapy, and has been reported to exert in vitro antiviral activity against SARS-CoV-2. We here assessed the effect of Nelfinavir in a SARS-CoV-2 infection model in hamsters. Despite the fact that Nelfinavir, [50 mg/kg twice daily (BID) for four consecutive days], did not reduce viral RNA load and infectious virus titres in the lung of infected animals, treatment resulted in a substantial improvement of SARS-CoV-2-induced lung pathology. This was accompanied by a dense infiltration of neutrophils in the lung interstitium which was similarly observed in non-infected hamsters. Nelfinavir resulted also in a marked increase in activated neutrophils in the blood, as observed in non-infected animals. Although Nelfinavir treatment did not alter the expression of chemoattractant receptors or adhesion molecules on human neutrophils, in vitro migration of human neutrophils to the major human neutrophil attractant CXCL8 was augmented by this protease inhibitor. Nelfinavir appears to induce an immunomodulatory effect associated with increasing neutrophil number and functionality, which may be linked to the marked improvement in SARS-CoV-2 lung pathology independent of its lack of antiviral activity. Since Nelfinavir is no longer used for the treatment of HIV, we studied the effect of two other HIV protease inhibitors, namely the combination Lopinavir/Ritonavir (Kaletra™) in this model. This combination resulted in a similar protective effect as Nelfinavir against SARS-CoV2 induced lung pathology in hamsters.


Subject(s)
COVID-19 Drug Treatment , HIV Infections , HIV Protease Inhibitors , Animals , Cricetinae , HIV Infections/drug therapy , HIV Protease Inhibitors/pharmacology , HIV Protease Inhibitors/therapeutic use , Lopinavir/pharmacology , Lopinavir/therapeutic use , Lung , Mesocricetus , Nelfinavir/pharmacology , Nelfinavir/therapeutic use , RNA, Viral , Ritonavir/therapeutic use , SARS-CoV-2
13.
Microorganisms ; 10(3)2022 Mar 16.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1742552

ABSTRACT

Ivermectin, an FDA-approved antiparasitic drug, has been reported to have in vitro activity against SARS-CoV-2. Increased off-label use of ivermectin for COVID-19 has been reported. We here assessed the effect of ivermectin in Syrian hamsters infected with the SARS-CoV-2 Beta (B.1.351) variant. Infected animals received a clinically relevant dose of ivermectin (0.4 mg/kg subcutaneously dosed) once daily for four consecutive days after which the effect was quantified. Ivermectin monotherapy did not reduce lung viral load and even significantly worsened SARS-CoV-2-induced lung pathology. Additionally, it did not potentiate the activity of molnupiravir (LagevrioTM) when combined with this drug. This study contributes to the growing body of evidence that ivermectin does not result in a beneficial effect in the treatment of COVID-19. These findings are important given the increasing, dangerous off-label use of ivermectin for the treatment of COVID-19.

14.
Science ; 375(6579): 449-454, 2022 Jan 28.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1723472

ABSTRACT

Understanding broadly neutralizing sarbecovirus antibody responses is key to developing countermeasures against SARS-CoV-2 variants and future zoonotic sarbecoviruses. We describe the isolation and characterization of a human monoclonal antibody, designated S2K146, that broadly neutralizes viruses belonging to SARS-CoV- and SARS-CoV-2-related sarbecovirus clades which use ACE2 as an entry receptor. Structural and functional studies show that most of the virus residues that directly bind S2K146 are also involved in binding to ACE2. This allows the antibody to potently inhibit receptor attachment. S2K146 protects against SARS-CoV-2 Beta challenge in hamsters and viral passaging experiments reveal a high barrier for emergence of escape mutants, making it a good candidate for clinical development. The conserved ACE2-binding residues present a site of vulnerability that might be leveraged for developing vaccines eliciting broad sarbecovirus immunity.


Subject(s)
Angiotensin-Converting Enzyme 2/metabolism , Antibodies, Viral/immunology , Betacoronavirus/immunology , Broadly Neutralizing Antibodies/immunology , COVID-19/therapy , SARS-CoV-2/immunology , Spike Glycoprotein, Coronavirus/immunology , Angiotensin-Converting Enzyme 2/chemistry , Animals , Antibodies, Monoclonal/chemistry , Antibodies, Monoclonal/immunology , Antibodies, Monoclonal/metabolism , Antibodies, Monoclonal/therapeutic use , Antibodies, Viral/chemistry , Antibodies, Viral/metabolism , Antibody Affinity , Broadly Neutralizing Antibodies/chemistry , Broadly Neutralizing Antibodies/metabolism , Broadly Neutralizing Antibodies/therapeutic use , COVID-19/immunology , Cross Reactions , Cryoelectron Microscopy , Epitopes , Humans , Immune Evasion , Mesocricetus , Models, Molecular , Molecular Mimicry , Mutation , Protein Conformation , Protein Domains , Receptors, Coronavirus/chemistry , Receptors, Coronavirus/metabolism , Spike Glycoprotein, Coronavirus/chemistry , Spike Glycoprotein, Coronavirus/genetics , Spike Glycoprotein, Coronavirus/metabolism
15.
Nat Commun ; 13(1): 719, 2022 02 15.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1692616

ABSTRACT

There is an urgent need for potent and selective antivirals against SARS-CoV-2. Pfizer developed PF-07321332 (PF-332), a potent inhibitor of the viral main protease (Mpro, 3CLpro) that can be dosed orally and that is in clinical development. We here report that PF-332 exerts equipotent in vitro activity against the four SARS-CoV-2 variants of concerns (VoC) and that it can completely arrest replication of the alpha variant in primary human airway epithelial cells grown at the air-liquid interface. Treatment of Syrian Golden hamsters with PF-332 (250 mg/kg, twice daily) completely protected the animals against intranasal infection with the beta (B.1.351) and delta (B.1.617.2) SARS-CoV-2 variants. Moreover, treatment of SARS-CoV-2 (B.1.617.2) infected animals with PF-332 completely prevented transmission to untreated co-housed sentinels.


Subject(s)
COVID-19 Drug Treatment , Disease Models, Animal , Lactams/administration & dosage , Leucine/administration & dosage , Nitriles/administration & dosage , Proline/administration & dosage , SARS-CoV-2/drug effects , Viral Protease Inhibitors/administration & dosage , A549 Cells , Administration, Oral , Animals , COVID-19/prevention & control , COVID-19/transmission , COVID-19/virology , Chlorocebus aethiops , Coronavirus 3C Proteases/antagonists & inhibitors , Cricetinae , Humans , Lactams/pharmacokinetics , Leucine/pharmacokinetics , Mesocricetus , Nitriles/pharmacokinetics , Proline/pharmacokinetics , Respiratory Mucosa/drug effects , Respiratory Mucosa/virology , SARS-CoV-2/enzymology , SARS-CoV-2/physiology , Vero Cells , Viral Protease Inhibitors/pharmacokinetics , Virus Replication/drug effects
16.
Antiviral Res ; 198: 105253, 2022 02.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1654044

ABSTRACT

The emergence of SARS-CoV-2 variants of concern (VoCs) has exacerbated the COVID-19 pandemic. End of November 2021, a new SARS-CoV-2 variant namely the omicron (B.1.1.529) emerged. Since this omicron variant is heavily mutated in the spike protein, WHO classified this variant as the 5th variant of concern (VoC). We previously demonstrated that the ancestral strain and the other SARS-CoV-2 VoCs replicate efficiently in and cause a COVID19-like pathology in Syrian hamsters. We here wanted to explore the infectivity of the omicron variant in comparison to the ancestral D614G strain in the hamster model. Strikingly, in hamsters that had been infected with the omicron variant, a 3 log10 lower viral RNA load was detected in the lungs as compared to animals infected with D614G and no infectious virus was detectable in this organ. Moreover, histopathological examination of the lungs from omicron-infected hamsters revealed no signs of peri-bronchial inflammation or bronchopneumonia.


Subject(s)
COVID-19/veterinary , Disease Models, Animal , SARS-CoV-2/growth & development , Animals , Cricetinae , Humans , Lung/virology , Mesocricetus/virology , Species Specificity , Viral Load
17.
Sci Transl Med ; 13(621): eabi7826, 2021 Nov 24.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1450584

ABSTRACT

Broadly neutralizing antibodies are an important treatment for individuals with coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) caused by severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2). Antibody-based therapeutics are also essential for pandemic preparedness against future Sarbecovirus outbreaks. Camelid-derived single domain antibodies (VHHs) exhibit potent antimicrobial activity and are being developed as SARS-CoV-2­neutralizing antibody-like therapeutics. Here, we identified VHHs that neutralize both SARS-CoV-1 and SARS-CoV-2, including now circulating variants. We observed that the VHHs bound to a highly conserved epitope in the receptor binding domain of the viral spike protein that is difficult to access for human antibodies. Structure-guided molecular modeling, combined with rapid yeast-based prototyping, resulted in an affinity enhanced VHH-human immunoglobulin G1 Fc fusion molecule with subnanomolar neutralizing activity. This VHH-Fc fusion protein, produced in and purified from cultured Chinese hamster ovary cells, controlled SARS-CoV-2 replication in prophylactic and therapeutic settings in mice expressing human angiotensin converting enzyme 2 and in hamsters infected with SARS-CoV-2. These data led to affinity-enhanced selection of the VHH, XVR011, a stable anti­COVID-19 biologic that is now being evaluated in the clinic.


Subject(s)
COVID-19 , Spike Glycoprotein, Coronavirus , Animals , Antibodies, Neutralizing , Antibodies, Viral , Humans , Models, Animal , SARS-CoV-2
18.
EBioMedicine ; 72: 103595, 2021 Oct.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1433162

ABSTRACT

BACKGROUND: Favipiravir and Molnupiravir, orally available antivirals, have been reported to exert antiviral activity against SARS-CoV-2. First efficacy data have been recently reported in COVID-19 patients. METHODS: We here report on the combined antiviral effect of both drugs in a SARS-CoV-2 Syrian hamster infection model. The infected hamsters were treated twice daily with the vehicle (the control group) or a suboptimal dose of each compound or a combination of both compounds. FINDINGS: When animals were treated with a combination of suboptimal doses of Molnupiravir and Favipiravir at the time of infection, a marked combined potency at endpoint is observed. Infectious virus titers in the lungs of animals treated with the combination are reduced by ∼5 log10 and infectious virus are no longer detected in the lungs of >60% of treated animals. When start of treatment was delayed with one day a reduction of titers in the lungs of 2.4 log10 was achieved. Moreover, treatment of infected animals nearly completely prevented transmission to co-housed untreated sentinels. Both drugs result in an increased mutation frequency of the remaining viral RNA recovered from the lungs of treated animals. In the combo-treated hamsters, an increased frequency of C-to-T mutations in the viral RNA is observed as compared to the single treatment groups which may explain the pronounced antiviral potency of the combination. INTERPRETATION: Our findings may lay the basis for the design of clinical studies to test the efficacy of the combination of Molnupiravir/Favipiravir in the treatment of COVID-19. FUNDING: stated in the acknowledgment.


Subject(s)
Amides/therapeutic use , COVID-19 Drug Treatment , Cytidine/analogs & derivatives , Hydroxylamines/therapeutic use , Lung/virology , Pyrazines/therapeutic use , Amides/pharmacology , Animals , Antiviral Agents/pharmacology , Antiviral Agents/therapeutic use , COVID-19/transmission , Cytidine/pharmacology , Cytidine/therapeutic use , Disease Models, Animal , Drug Therapy, Combination , Female , Hydroxylamines/pharmacology , Mesocricetus , Pyrazines/pharmacology , RNA, Viral , Treatment Outcome , Viral Load
19.
Cell Rep ; 37(2): 109814, 2021 10 12.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1433045

ABSTRACT

Control of the ongoing SARS-CoV-2 pandemic is endangered by the emergence of viral variants with increased transmission efficiency, resistance to marketed therapeutic antibodies, and reduced sensitivity to vaccine-induced immunity. Here, we screen B cells from COVID-19 donors and identify P5C3, a highly potent and broadly neutralizing monoclonal antibody with picomolar neutralizing activity against all SARS-CoV-2 variants of concern (VOCs) identified to date. Structural characterization of P5C3 Fab in complex with the spike demonstrates a neutralizing activity defined by a large buried surface area, highly overlapping with the receptor-binding domain (RBD) surface necessary for ACE2 interaction. We further demonstrate that P5C3 shows complete prophylactic protection in the SARS-CoV-2-infected hamster challenge model. These results indicate that P5C3 opens exciting perspectives either as a prophylactic agent in immunocompromised individuals with poor response to vaccination or as combination therapy in SARS-CoV-2-infected individuals.


Subject(s)
Broadly Neutralizing Antibodies/therapeutic use , COVID-19 Drug Treatment , SARS-CoV-2/immunology , Animals , Antibodies, Neutralizing/immunology , Antibodies, Viral/immunology , B-Lymphocytes/immunology , Broadly Neutralizing Antibodies/immunology , COVID-19/immunology , Cell Line , Cricetinae , Disease Models, Animal , Epitopes/immunology , Humans , Immunoglobulin Fab Fragments/immunology , Immunoglobulin Fab Fragments/metabolism , Neutralization Tests , Protein Binding/immunology , SARS-CoV-2/pathogenicity , Spike Glycoprotein, Coronavirus/immunology , Spike Glycoprotein, Coronavirus/ultrastructure , Structure-Activity Relationship , Vaccination
20.
J Infect Dis ; 224(5): 749-753, 2021 09 01.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1411568

ABSTRACT

The emergence of SARS-CoV-2 variants of concern (VoCs) has exacerbated the COVID-19 pandemic. Currently available monoclonal antibodies and vaccines appear to have reduced efficacy against some of these VoCs. Antivirals targeting conserved proteins of SARS-CoV-2 are unlikely to be affected by mutations arising in VoCs and should therefore be effective against emerging variants. We here investigate the efficacy of molnupiravir, currently in phase 2 clinical trials, in hamsters infected with Wuhan strain or B.1.1.7 and B.1.351 variants. Molnupiravir proved to be effective against infections with each of the variants and therefore may have potential combating current and future emerging VoCs.


Subject(s)
COVID-19 Drug Treatment , Cytidine/analogs & derivatives , Hydroxylamines/pharmacology , SARS-CoV-2/drug effects , Virus Replication/drug effects , Animals , Antibodies, Monoclonal/immunology , Antibodies, Neutralizing/immunology , Antibodies, Viral/immunology , Antiviral Agents/pharmacology , COVID-19/immunology , COVID-19/virology , Cricetinae , Cytidine/pharmacology , Disease Models, Animal , Female , Humans , Mutation/drug effects , Pandemics/prevention & control , SARS-CoV-2/immunology
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