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1.
Front Immunol ; 13: 948431, 2022.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-2022730

ABSTRACT

Emergence of variants of concern (VOC) during the COVID-19 pandemic has contributed to the decreased efficacy of therapeutic monoclonal antibody treatments for severe cases of SARS-CoV-2 infection. In addition, the cost of creating these therapeutic treatments is high, making their implementation in low- to middle-income countries devastated by the pandemic very difficult. Here, we explored the use of polyclonal EpF(ab')2 antibodies generated through the immunization of horses with SARS-CoV-2 WA-1 RBD conjugated to HBsAg nanoparticles as a low-cost therapeutic treatment for severe cases of disease. We determined that the equine EpF(ab')2 bind RBD and neutralize ACE2 receptor binding by virus for all VOC strains tested except Omicron. Despite its relatively quick clearance from peripheral circulation, a 100µg dose of EpF(ab')2 was able to fully protect mice against severe disease phenotypes following intranasal SARS-CoV-2 challenge with Alpha and Beta variants. EpF(ab')2 administration increased survival while subsequently lowering disease scores and viral RNA burden in disease-relevant tissues. No significant improvement in survival outcomes or disease scores was observed in EpF(ab')2-treated mice challenged using the Delta variant at 10µg or 100µg doses. Overall, the data presented here provide a proof of concept for the use of EpF(ab')2 in the prevention of severe SARS-CoV-2 infections and underscore the need for either variant-specific treatments or variant-independent therapeutics for COVID-19.


Subject(s)
COVID-19 , SARS-CoV-2 , Animals , COVID-19/prevention & control , Horses , Humans , Immunization, Passive , Melphalan , Mice , Pandemics , SARS-CoV-2/genetics , gamma-Globulins
2.
PLoS One ; 17(8): e0273430, 2022.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-2021918

ABSTRACT

The COVID-19 pandemic has been fueled by SARS-CoV-2 novel variants of concern (VOC) that have increased transmissibility, receptor binding affinity, and other properties that enhance disease. The goal of this study is to characterize unique pathogenesis of the Delta VOC strain in the K18-hACE2-mouse challenge model. Challenge studies suggested that the lethal dose of Delta was higher than Alpha or Beta strains. To characterize the differences in the Delta strain's pathogenesis, a time-course experiment was performed to evaluate the overall host response to Alpha or Delta variant challenge. qRT-PCR analysis of Alpha- or Delta-challenged mice revealed no significant difference between viral RNA burden in the lung, nasal wash or brain. However, histopathological analysis revealed high lung tissue inflammation and cell infiltration following Delta- but not Alpha-challenge at day 6. Additionally, pro-inflammatory cytokines were highest at day 6 in Delta-challenged mice suggesting enhanced pneumonia. Total RNA-sequencing analysis of lungs comparing challenged to no challenge mice revealed that Alpha-challenged mice have more total genes differentially activated. Conversely, Delta-challenged mice have a higher magnitude of differential gene expression. Delta-challenged mice have increased interferon-dependent gene expression and IFN-γ production compared to Alpha. Analysis of TCR clonotypes suggested that Delta challenged mice have increased T-cell infiltration compared to Alpha challenged. Our data suggest that Delta has evolved to engage interferon responses in a manner that may enhance pathogenesis. The in vivo and in silico observations of this study underscore the need to conduct experiments with VOC strains to best model COVID-19 when evaluating therapeutics and vaccines.


Subject(s)
COVID-19 , Pneumonia , Animals , Antiviral Agents , COVID-19/genetics , Disease Models, Animal , Humans , Interferons , Melphalan , Mice , Mice, Transgenic , Pandemics , SARS-CoV-2 , gamma-Globulins
3.
iScience ; 25(10): 105038, 2022 Oct 21.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-2007777

ABSTRACT

Severe outcomes from SARS-CoV-2 infection are highly associated with preexisting comorbid conditions like hypertension, diabetes, and obesity. We utilized the diet-induced obesity (DIO) model of metabolic dysfunction in K18-hACE2 transgenic mice to model obesity as a COVID-19 comorbidity. Female DIO, but not male DIO mice challenged with SARS-CoV-2 were observed to have shortened time to morbidity compared to controls. Increased susceptibility to SARS-CoV-2 in female DIO was associated with increased viral RNA burden and interferon production compared to males. Transcriptomic analysis of the lungs from all mouse cohorts revealed sex- and DIO-associated differential gene expression profiles. Male DIO mice after challenge had decreased expression of antibody-related genes compared to controls, suggesting antibody producing cell localization in the lung. Collectively, this study establishes a preclinical comorbidity model of COVID-19 in mice where we observed sex- and diet-specific responses that begin explaining the effects of obesity and metabolic disease on COVID-19 pathology.

4.
mSphere ; 7(4): e0024322, 2022 08 31.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1992945

ABSTRACT

The ongoing COVID-19 pandemic has contributed largely to the global vaccine disparity. Development of protein subunit vaccines can help alleviate shortages of COVID-19 vaccines delivered to low-income countries. Here, we evaluated the efficacy of a three-dose virus-like particle (VLP) vaccine composed of hepatitis B surface antigen (HBsAg) decorated with the receptor binding domain (RBD) from the Wuhan or Beta SARS-CoV-2 strain adjuvanted with either aluminum hydroxide (alum) or squalene in water emulsion (SWE). RBD HBsAg vaccines were compared to the standard two doses of Pfizer mRNA vaccine. Alum-adjuvanted vaccines were composed of either HBsAg conjugated with Beta RBD alone (ß RBD HBsAg+Al) or a combination of both Beta RBD HBsAg and Wuhan RBD HBsAg (ß/Wu RBD HBsAg+Al). RBD vaccines adjuvanted with SWE were formulated with Beta RBD HBsAg (ß RBD HBsAg+SWE) or without HBsAg (ß RBD+SWE). Both alum-adjuvanted RBD HBsAg vaccines generated functional RBD IgG against multiple SARS-CoV-2 variants of concern (VOC), decreased viral RNA burden, and lowered inflammation in the lung against Alpha or Beta challenge in K18-hACE2 mice. However, only ß/Wu RBD HBsAg+Al was able to afford 100% survival to mice challenged with Alpha or Beta VOC. Furthermore, mice immunized with ß RBD HBsAg+SWE induced cross-reactive neutralizing antibodies against major VOC of SARS-CoV-2, lowered viral RNA burden in the lung and brain, and protected mice from Alpha or Beta challenge similarly to mice immunized with Pfizer mRNA. However, RBD+SWE immunization failed to protect mice from VOC challenge. Our findings demonstrate that RBD HBsAg VLP vaccines provided similar protection profiles to the approved Pfizer mRNA vaccines used worldwide and may offer protection against SARS-CoV-2 VOC. IMPORTANCE Global COVID-19 vaccine distribution to low-income countries has been a major challenge of the pandemic. To address supply chain issues, RBD virus-like particle (VLP) vaccines that are cost-effective and capable of large-scale production were developed and evaluated for efficacy in preclinical mouse studies. We demonstrated that RBD-VLP vaccines protected K18-hACE2 mice against Alpha or Beta challenge similarly to Pfizer mRNA vaccination. Our findings showed that the VLP platform can be utilized to formulate immunogenic and efficacious COVID-19 vaccines.


Subject(s)
COVID-19 , Vaccines, Virus-Like Particle , Alum Compounds , Animals , Antibodies, Viral , COVID-19/prevention & control , COVID-19 Vaccines , Emulsions , Hepatitis B Surface Antigens/genetics , Humans , Melphalan , Mice , Mice, Inbred BALB C , Pandemics , RNA, Messenger , RNA, Viral , SARS-CoV-2 , Squalene , Vaccines, Synthetic , Water , gamma-Globulins , mRNA Vaccines
5.
EuropePMC; 2022.
Preprint in English | EuropePMC | ID: ppcovidwho-335193

ABSTRACT

SARS-CoV-2 infection results in wide-ranging disease manifestation from asymptomatic to potentially lethal. Infection poses an increased threat of severity to at-risk populations including those with hypertension, diabetes, and obesity. Type 2 Diabetes (T2DM), is characterized, in part, by insulin insensitivity and impaired glucose regulation. T2DM patients have increased disease severity and poorer outcomes with COVID-19. We utilized the diet-induced obesity (DIO) model of Type 2 Diabetes in SARS-CoV-2-susceptible K18-hACE2 transgenic mice to better understand the obesity co-morbidity. Female DIO, but not male DIO mice challenged with SARS-CoV-2 were observed to have shortened time to morbidity compared to normal diet mice. Increase in susceptibility to SARS-CoV2 in female DIO was associated with increased total viral RNA burden compared to male mice. RNAseq analysis was performed on the lungs of non-challenged, challenged, females, males, of either normal diet or DIO cohorts to determine the disease specific transcriptional profiles. DIO female mice had more total activated genes than normal diet mice after challenge;however, male mice experienced a decrease. GO term analysis revealed the DIO condition increased interferon response signatures and interferon gamma production following challenge. Male challenged mice had robust expression of antibody-related genes suggesting antibody producing cell localization in the lung. DIO reduced antibody gene expression in challenged males. Collectively this study establishes a preclinical T2DM/obesity co-morbidity model of COVID-19 in mice where we observed sex and diet specific responses that begin to explain the effects of obesity and diabetes on COVID-19 disease.

6.
NPJ Vaccines ; 7(1): 36, 2022 Mar 14.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1740442

ABSTRACT

SARS-CoV-2 is a viral respiratory pathogen responsible for the current global pandemic and the disease that causes COVID-19. All current WHO approved COVID-19 vaccines are administered through the muscular route. We have developed a prototype two-dose vaccine (BReC-CoV-2) by combining the Receptor Binding Domain (RBD) antigen, via conjugation to Diphtheria toxoid (EcoCRM®). The vaccine is adjuvanted with Bacterial Enzymatic Combinatorial Chemistry (BECC), BECC470. Intranasal (IN) administration of BreC-CoV-2 in K18-hACE2 mice induced a strong systemic and localized immune response in the respiratory tissues which provided protection against the Washington strain of SARS-CoV-2. Protection provided after IN administration of BReC-CoV-2 was associated with decreased viral RNA copies in the lung, robust RBD IgA titers in the lung and nasal wash, and induction of broadly neutralizing antibodies in the serum. We also observed that BReC-CoV-2 vaccination administered using an intramuscular (IM) prime and IN boost protected mice from a lethal challenge dose of the Delta variant of SARS-CoV-2. IN administration of BReC-CoV-2 provided better protection than IM only administration to mice against lethal challenge dose of SARS-CoV-2. These data suggest that the IN route of vaccination induces localized immune responses that can better protect against SARS-CoV-2 than the IM route in the upper respiratory tract.

7.
mSphere ; 6(1)2021 01 20.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1039855

ABSTRACT

The SARS-CoV-2 pandemic is impacting the global population. This study was designed to assess the interplay of antibodies with the cytokine response in SARS-CoV-2 patients. We demonstrate that significant levels of anti-SARS-CoV-2 antibody to receptor binding domain (RBD), nucleocapsid, and spike S1 subunit of SARS-CoV-2 develop over the first 10 to 20 days of infection. The majority of patients produced antibodies against all three antigens (219/255 SARS-CoV-2+ patient specimens, 86%), suggesting a broad response to viral proteins. Antibody levels to SARS-CoV-2 antigens were different based on patient mortality, sex, blood type, and age. Analyses of these findings may help explain variation in immunity between these populations. To better understand the systemic immune response, we analyzed the levels of 20 cytokines by SARS-CoV-2 patients throughout infection. Cytokine analysis of SARS-CoV-2+ patients exhibited increases in proinflammatory markers (interleukin 6 [IL-6], IL-8, IL-18, and gamma interferon [IFN-γ]) and chemotactic markers (IP-10 and eotaxin) relative to healthy individuals. Patients who succumbed to infection produced decreased IL-2, IL-4, IL-12, RANTES, tumor necrosis factor alpha (TNF-α), GRO-α, and MIP-1α relative to patients who survived infection. We also observed that the chemokine CXCL13 was particularly elevated in patients who succumbed to infection. CXCL13 is involved in B cell activation, germinal center development, and antibody maturation, and we observed that CXCL13 levels in blood trended with anti-SARS-CoV-2 antibody levels. Furthermore, patients who succumbed to infection produced high CXCL13 and had a higher ratio of nucleocapsid to RBD antibodies. This study provides insights into SARS-CoV-2 immunity implicating the magnitude and specificity of response in relation to patient outcomes.IMPORTANCE The SARS-CoV-2 pandemic is continuing to impact the global population, and knowledge of the immune response to COVID-19 is still developing. This study assesses the interplay of different parts of the immune system during COVID-19 disease. We demonstrate that COVID-19 patients produce antibodies to three proteins of the COVID-19 virus (SARS-CoV-2) and identify many other immunological proteins that are involved during infection. The data suggest that one of these proteins (CXCL13) may be a novel biomarker for severe COVID-19 that can be readily measured in blood. This information combined with our broad-scale analysis of immune activity during COVID-19 provides new information on the immunological response throughout the course of disease and identifies a novel potential marker for assessing disease severity.


Subject(s)
Antibodies, Viral/blood , COVID-19/diagnosis , Chemokine CXCL13/blood , Cytokines/analysis , SARS-CoV-2/physiology , Adult , Aged , Aged, 80 and over , Biomarkers , COVID-19/immunology , COVID-19/mortality , Cytokines/blood , Female , Humans , Male , Middle Aged , SARS-CoV-2/immunology , Severity of Illness Index , Spike Glycoprotein, Coronavirus/immunology , Young Adult
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