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1.
Nat Commun ; 12(1): 5536, 2021 09 20.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1428813

ABSTRACT

Coronaviruses (CoVs) are important human pathogens for which no specific treatment is available. Here, we provide evidence that pharmacological reprogramming of ER stress pathways can be exploited to suppress CoV replication. The ER stress inducer thapsigargin efficiently inhibits coronavirus (HCoV-229E, MERS-CoV, SARS-CoV-2) replication in different cell types including primary differentiated human bronchial epithelial cells, (partially) reverses the virus-induced translational shut-down, improves viability of infected cells and counteracts the CoV-mediated downregulation of IRE1α and the ER chaperone BiP. Proteome-wide analyses revealed specific pathways, protein networks and components that likely mediate the thapsigargin-induced antiviral state, including essential (HERPUD1) or novel (UBA6 and ZNF622) factors of ER quality control, and ER-associated protein degradation complexes. Additionally, thapsigargin blocks the CoV-induced selective autophagic flux involving p62/SQSTM1. The data show that thapsigargin hits several central mechanisms required for CoV replication, suggesting that this compound (or derivatives thereof) may be developed into broad-spectrum anti-CoV drugs.


Subject(s)
Endoplasmic Reticulum Stress , SARS-CoV-2/physiology , Virus Replication/physiology , Animals , Autophagy/drug effects , Bronchi/pathology , COVID-19/pathology , COVID-19/virology , Cell Differentiation/drug effects , Cell Extracts , Cell Line , Cell Survival/drug effects , Chlorocebus aethiops , Coronavirus 229E, Human/physiology , Down-Regulation/drug effects , Endoplasmic Reticulum Stress/drug effects , Endoplasmic Reticulum Stress/genetics , Endoplasmic Reticulum-Associated Degradation/drug effects , Epithelial Cells/drug effects , Epithelial Cells/virology , Heat-Shock Proteins/metabolism , Humans , Macrolides/pharmacology , Middle East Respiratory Syndrome Coronavirus/drug effects , Middle East Respiratory Syndrome Coronavirus/physiology , Protein Biosynthesis/drug effects , Proteome/metabolism , RNA, Messenger/genetics , RNA, Messenger/metabolism , Reproducibility of Results , SARS-CoV-2/drug effects , Thapsigargin/pharmacology , Unfolded Protein Response/drug effects , Vero Cells , Virus Replication/drug effects
2.
Viruses ; 13(8)2021 07 29.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1335231

ABSTRACT

Despite the recent availability of vaccines against severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus type 2 (SARS-CoV-2), there is an urgent need for specific anti-SARS-CoV-2 drugs. Monoclonal neutralizing antibodies are an important drug class in the global fight against the SARS-CoV-2 pandemic due to their ability to convey immediate protection and their potential to be used as both prophylactic and therapeutic drugs. Clinically used neutralizing antibodies against respiratory viruses are currently injected intravenously, which can lead to suboptimal pulmonary bioavailability and thus to a lower effectiveness. Here we describe DZIF-10c, a fully human monoclonal neutralizing antibody that binds the receptor-binding domain of the SARS-CoV-2 spike protein. DZIF-10c displays an exceptionally high neutralizing potency against SARS-CoV-2, retains full activity against the variant of concern (VOC) B.1.1.7 and still neutralizes the VOC B.1.351, although with reduced potency. Importantly, not only systemic but also intranasal application of DZIF-10c abolished the presence of infectious particles in the lungs of SARS-CoV-2 infected mice and mitigated lung pathology when administered prophylactically. Along with a favorable pharmacokinetic profile, these results highlight DZIF-10c as a novel human SARS-CoV-2 neutralizing antibody with high in vitro and in vivo antiviral potency. The successful intranasal application of DZIF-10c paves the way for clinical trials investigating topical delivery of anti-SARS-CoV-2 antibodies.


Subject(s)
Antibodies, Monoclonal/administration & dosage , Antibodies, Neutralizing/administration & dosage , Antibodies, Viral/administration & dosage , COVID-19/prevention & control , SARS-CoV-2/immunology , Administration, Intranasal , Animals , COVID-19/virology , Female , Humans , Male , Mice , Mice, Inbred BALB C , SARS-CoV-2/genetics , Spike Glycoprotein, Coronavirus/immunology
3.
Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A ; 118(28)2021 07 13.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1284760

ABSTRACT

Severe acute respiratory syndrome (SARS) coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2) has emerged as the infectious agent causing the pandemic coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) with dramatic consequences for global human health and economics. Previously, we reached clinical evaluation with our vector vaccine based on modified vaccinia virus Ankara (MVA) against the Middle East respiratory syndrome coronavirus (MERS-CoV), which causes an infection in humans similar to SARS and COVID-19. Here, we describe the construction and preclinical characterization of a recombinant MVA expressing full-length SARS-CoV-2 spike (S) protein (MVA-SARS-2-S). Genetic stability and growth characteristics of MVA-SARS-2-S, plus its robust expression of S protein as antigen, make it a suitable candidate vaccine for industrial-scale production. Vaccinated mice produced S-specific CD8+ T cells and serum antibodies binding to S protein that neutralized SARS-CoV-2. Prime-boost vaccination with MVA-SARS-2-S protected mice sensitized with a human ACE2-expressing adenovirus from SARS-CoV-2 infection. MVA-SARS-2-S is currently being investigated in a phase I clinical trial as aspirant for developing a safe and efficacious vaccine against COVID-19.


Subject(s)
Antibodies, Neutralizing/immunology , Antibodies, Viral/immunology , COVID-19 Vaccines/immunology , COVID-19/prevention & control , Spike Glycoprotein, Coronavirus/immunology , Animals , COVID-19 Vaccines/standards , Dose-Response Relationship, Immunologic , Humans , Mice , Mice, Inbred BALB C , SARS-CoV-2 , Spike Glycoprotein, Coronavirus/genetics , T-Lymphocytes , Vaccination , Vaccinia virus
4.
Lancet Infect Dis ; 20(7): 827-838, 2020 07.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1103186

ABSTRACT

BACKGROUND: The Middle East respiratory syndrome coronavirus (MERS-CoV) causes a respiratory disease with a case fatality rate of up to 35%. Given its potential to cause a public health emergency and the absence of efficacious drugs or vaccines, MERS is one of the WHO priority diseases warranting urgent research and development of countermeasures. We aimed to assess safety and tolerability of an anti-MERS-CoV modified vaccinia virus Ankara (MVA)-based vaccine candidate that expresses the MERS-CoV spike glycoprotein, MVA-MERS-S, in healthy adults. METHODS: This open-label, phase 1 trial was done at the University Medical Center Hamburg-Eppendorf (Hamburg, Germany). Participants were healthy men and women aged 18-55 years with no clinically significant health problems as determined during medical history and physical examination, a body-mass index of 18·5-30·0 kg/m2 and weight of more than 50 kg at screening, and a negative pregnancy test for women. A key exclusion criterion was a previous MVA vaccination. For the prime immunisation, participants received doses of 1 × 107 plaque-forming unit (PFU; low-dose group) or 1 × 108 PFU (high-dose group) MVA-MERS-S intramuscularly. A second identical dose was administered intramuscularly as a booster immunisation 28 days after first injection. As a control group for immunogenicity analyses, blood samples were drawn at identical study timepoints from six healthy adults, who did not receive any injections. The primary objectives of the study were safety and tolerability of the two dosage levels and reactogenicity after administration. Immunogenicity was assessed as a secondary endpoint by ELISA and neutralisation tests. T-cell immunity was evaluated by interferon-γ-linked enzyme-linked immune absorbent spot assay. All participants who were vaccinated at least once were included in the safety analysis. Immunogenicity was analysed in the participants who completed 6 months of follow-up. This trial is registered with ClinicalTrials.gov, NCT03615911, and EudraCT, 2014-003195-23 FINDINGS: From Dec 17, 2017, to June 5, 2018, 26 participants (14 in the low-dose group and 12 in the high-dose group) were enrolled and received the first dose of the vaccine according to their group allocation. Of these, 23 participants (12 in the low-dose group and 11 in the high-dose group) received a second dose of MVA-MERS-S according to their group allocation after a 28-day interval and completed follow-up. Homologous prime-boost immunisation with MVA-MERS-S revealed a benign safety profile with only transient mild-to-moderate reactogenicity. Participants had no severe or serious adverse events. 67 vaccine-related adverse events were reported in ten (71%) of 14 participants in the low-dose group, and 111 were reported in ten (83%) of 12 participants in the high-dose group. Solicited local reactions were the most common adverse events: pain was observed in 17 (65%; seven in the low-dose group vs ten in the high-dose group) participants, swelling in ten (38%; two vs eight) participants, and induration in ten (38%; one vs nine) participants. Headaches (observed in seven participants in the low-dose group vs nine in the high-dose group) and fatigue or malaise (ten vs seven participants) were the most common solicited systemic adverse events. All adverse events resolved swiftly (within 1-3 days) and without sequelae. Following booster immunisation, nine (75%) of 12 participants in the low-dose group and 11 (100%) participants in the high-dose group showed seroconversion using a MERS-CoV S1 ELISA at any timepoint during the study. Binding antibody titres correlated with MERS-CoV-specific neutralising antibodies (Spearman's correlation r=0·86 [95% CI 0·6960-0·9427], p=0·0001). MERS-CoV spike-specific T-cell responses were detected in ten (83%) of 12 immunised participants in the low-dose group and ten (91%) of 11 immunised participants in the high-dose group. INTERPRETATION: Vaccination with MVA-MERS-S had a favourable safety profile without serious or severe adverse events. Homologous prime-boost immunisation induced humoral and cell-mediated responses against MERS-CoV. A dose-effect relationship was demonstrated for reactogenicity, but not for vaccine-induced immune responses. The data presented here support further clinical testing of MVA-MERS-S in larger cohorts to advance MERS vaccine development. FUNDING: German Center for Infection Research.


Subject(s)
Coronavirus Infections/immunology , Dose-Response Relationship, Immunologic , Immunogenicity, Vaccine , Vaccinia virus/genetics , Viral Vaccines/immunology , Adult , Antibodies, Viral/blood , Coronavirus Infections/genetics , Coronavirus Infections/prevention & control , Enzyme-Linked Immunosorbent Assay , Female , Genetic Vectors , Germany , Humans , Immunization, Secondary , Male , Middle Aged , Middle East Respiratory Syndrome Coronavirus/immunology , Neutralization Tests , Vaccines, DNA , Young Adult
5.
J Immunol Methods ; 490: 112958, 2021 03.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1012442

ABSTRACT

The current Severe acute respiratory syndrome-related coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2) pandemic is a public health emergency of international concern. Sensitive and precise diagnostic tools are urgently needed. In this study, we developed a SARS-CoV-2 spike (S1) protein enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay (ELISA) to detect SARS-CoV-2-specific antibodies. The SARS-CoV-2 S1 ELISA was found to be specific [97.8% (95% CI, 96.7% - 98.5%)], reproducible and precise (intra-assay coefficient of variability (CV) 5.3%, inter-assay CV 7.9%). A standard curve and the interpolation of arbitrary ELISA units per milliliter served to reduce the variability between different tests and operators. Cross-reactivity to other human coronaviruses was addressed by using sera positive for MERS-CoV- and hCoV HKU1-specific antibodies. Monitoring antibody development in various samples of twenty-three and single samples of twenty-nine coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) patients revealed seroconversion and neutralizing antibodies against authentic SARS-CoV-2 in all cases. The comparison of the SARS-CoV-2 (S1) ELISA with a commercially available assay showed a better sensitivity for the in-house ELISA. The results demonstrate a high reproducibility, specificity and sensitivity of the newly developed ELISA, which is suitable for the detection of SARS-CoV-2 S1 protein-specific antibody responses.


Subject(s)
COVID-19 Serological Testing/methods , COVID-19/diagnosis , Epithelial Cells/metabolism , SARS-CoV-2/metabolism , Spike Glycoprotein, Coronavirus/metabolism , Animals , Antibodies, Neutralizing/blood , Chlorocebus aethiops , Enzyme Assays , Enzyme-Linked Immunosorbent Assay , Humans , Reproducibility of Results , Sensitivity and Specificity , Seroconversion , Spike Glycoprotein, Coronavirus/genetics , Spike Glycoprotein, Coronavirus/immunology , Vero Cells
6.
Lancet ; 396(10249): 467-478, 2020 08 15.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-981752

ABSTRACT

BACKGROUND: The pandemic of severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2) might be curtailed by vaccination. We assessed the safety, reactogenicity, and immunogenicity of a viral vectored coronavirus vaccine that expresses the spike protein of SARS-CoV-2. METHODS: We did a phase 1/2, single-blind, randomised controlled trial in five trial sites in the UK of a chimpanzee adenovirus-vectored vaccine (ChAdOx1 nCoV-19) expressing the SARS-CoV-2 spike protein compared with a meningococcal conjugate vaccine (MenACWY) as control. Healthy adults aged 18-55 years with no history of laboratory confirmed SARS-CoV-2 infection or of COVID-19-like symptoms were randomly assigned (1:1) to receive ChAdOx1 nCoV-19 at a dose of 5 × 1010 viral particles or MenACWY as a single intramuscular injection. A protocol amendment in two of the five sites allowed prophylactic paracetamol to be administered before vaccination. Ten participants assigned to a non-randomised, unblinded ChAdOx1 nCoV-19 prime-boost group received a two-dose schedule, with the booster vaccine administered 28 days after the first dose. Humoral responses at baseline and following vaccination were assessed using a standardised total IgG ELISA against trimeric SARS-CoV-2 spike protein, a muliplexed immunoassay, three live SARS-CoV-2 neutralisation assays (a 50% plaque reduction neutralisation assay [PRNT50]; a microneutralisation assay [MNA50, MNA80, and MNA90]; and Marburg VN), and a pseudovirus neutralisation assay. Cellular responses were assessed using an ex-vivo interferon-γ enzyme-linked immunospot assay. The co-primary outcomes are to assess efficacy, as measured by cases of symptomatic virologically confirmed COVID-19, and safety, as measured by the occurrence of serious adverse events. Analyses were done by group allocation in participants who received the vaccine. Safety was assessed over 28 days after vaccination. Here, we report the preliminary findings on safety, reactogenicity, and cellular and humoral immune responses. The study is ongoing, and was registered at ISRCTN, 15281137, and ClinicalTrials.gov, NCT04324606. FINDINGS: Between April 23 and May 21, 2020, 1077 participants were enrolled and assigned to receive either ChAdOx1 nCoV-19 (n=543) or MenACWY (n=534), ten of whom were enrolled in the non-randomised ChAdOx1 nCoV-19 prime-boost group. Local and systemic reactions were more common in the ChAdOx1 nCoV-19 group and many were reduced by use of prophylactic paracetamol, including pain, feeling feverish, chills, muscle ache, headache, and malaise (all p<0·05). There were no serious adverse events related to ChAdOx1 nCoV-19. In the ChAdOx1 nCoV-19 group, spike-specific T-cell responses peaked on day 14 (median 856 spot-forming cells per million peripheral blood mononuclear cells, IQR 493-1802; n=43). Anti-spike IgG responses rose by day 28 (median 157 ELISA units [EU], 96-317; n=127), and were boosted following a second dose (639 EU, 360-792; n=10). Neutralising antibody responses against SARS-CoV-2 were detected in 32 (91%) of 35 participants after a single dose when measured in MNA80 and in 35 (100%) participants when measured in PRNT50. After a booster dose, all participants had neutralising activity (nine of nine in MNA80 at day 42 and ten of ten in Marburg VN on day 56). Neutralising antibody responses correlated strongly with antibody levels measured by ELISA (R2=0·67 by Marburg VN; p<0·001). INTERPRETATION: ChAdOx1 nCoV-19 showed an acceptable safety profile, and homologous boosting increased antibody responses. These results, together with the induction of both humoral and cellular immune responses, support large-scale evaluation of this candidate vaccine in an ongoing phase 3 programme. FUNDING: UK Research and Innovation, Coalition for Epidemic Preparedness Innovations, National Institute for Health Research (NIHR), NIHR Oxford Biomedical Research Centre, Thames Valley and South Midland's NIHR Clinical Research Network, and the German Center for Infection Research (DZIF), Partner site Gießen-Marburg-Langen.


Subject(s)
Betacoronavirus/immunology , Coronavirus Infections/prevention & control , Immunogenicity, Vaccine , Pandemics/prevention & control , Pneumonia, Viral/prevention & control , Viral Vaccines/adverse effects , Viral Vaccines/immunology , Acetaminophen/therapeutic use , Adenoviruses, Simian/genetics , Adult , Analgesics, Non-Narcotic/therapeutic use , Antibodies, Neutralizing/blood , Antibodies, Viral/blood , COVID-19 , COVID-19 Vaccines , Coronavirus Infections/drug therapy , Coronavirus Infections/immunology , Female , Genetic Vectors/administration & dosage , Humans , Immunization, Secondary , Immunoglobulin G/blood , Male , Pneumonia, Viral/drug therapy , SARS-CoV-2 , Single-Blind Method , Spike Glycoprotein, Coronavirus/immunology , T-Lymphocytes/immunology , United Kingdom , Viral Vaccines/administration & dosage
8.
Eur Respir J ; 56(5)2020 Nov.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-648811

ABSTRACT

While severe coronavirus infections, including Middle East respiratory syndrome coronavirus (MERS-CoV), cause lung injury with high mortality rates, protective treatment strategies are not approved for clinical use.We elucidated the molecular mechanisms by which the cyclophilin inhibitors cyclosporin A (CsA) and alisporivir (ALV) restrict MERS-CoV to validate their suitability as readily available therapy in MERS-CoV infection.Calu-3 cells and primary human alveolar epithelial cells (hAECs) were infected with MERS-CoV and treated with CsA or ALV or inhibitors targeting cyclophilin inhibitor-regulated molecules including calcineurin, nuclear factor of activated T-cells (NFATs) or mitogen-activated protein kinases. Novel CsA-induced pathways were identified by RNA sequencing and manipulated by gene knockdown or neutralising antibodies. Viral replication was quantified by quantitative real-time PCR and 50% tissue culture infective dose. Data were validated in a murine MERS-CoV infection model.Both CsA and ALV reduced MERS-CoV titres and viral RNA replication in Calu-3 cells and hAECs, improving epithelial integrity. While neither calcineurin nor NFAT inhibition reduced MERS-CoV propagation, blockade of c-Jun N-terminal kinase diminished infectious viral particle release but not RNA accumulation. Importantly, CsA induced interferon regulatory factor 1 (IRF1), a pronounced type III interferon (IFNλ) response and expression of antiviral genes. Downregulation of IRF1 or IFNλ increased MERS-CoV propagation in the presence of CsA. Importantly, oral application of CsA reduced MERS-CoV replication in vivo, correlating with elevated lung IFNλ levels and improved outcome.We provide evidence that cyclophilin inhibitors efficiently decrease MERS-CoV replication in vitro and in vivo via upregulation of inflammatory antiviral cell responses, in particular IFNλ. CsA might therefore represent a promising candidate for treating MERS-CoV infection.


Subject(s)
Coronavirus Infections/prevention & control , Cyclophilins/antagonists & inhibitors , Cyclosporine/pharmacology , Interferons/metabolism , Middle East Respiratory Syndrome Coronavirus/drug effects , Alveolar Epithelial Cells/drug effects , Alveolar Epithelial Cells/metabolism , Alveolar Epithelial Cells/virology , Animals , Calcineurin Inhibitors/pharmacology , Cell Culture Techniques , Coronavirus Infections/metabolism , Disease Models, Animal , Humans , Interferon Regulatory Factor-1/drug effects , Interferon Regulatory Factor-1/metabolism , Interferons/drug effects , Mice , Middle East Respiratory Syndrome Coronavirus/physiology , Virus Replication/drug effects
9.
Cell ; 182(4): 843-854.e12, 2020 08 20.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-641071

ABSTRACT

The SARS-CoV-2 pandemic has unprecedented implications for public health, social life, and the world economy. Because approved drugs and vaccines are limited or not available, new options for COVID-19 treatment and prevention are in high demand. To identify SARS-CoV-2-neutralizing antibodies, we analyzed the antibody response of 12 COVID-19 patients from 8 to 69 days after diagnosis. By screening 4,313 SARS-CoV-2-reactive B cells, we isolated 255 antibodies from different time points as early as 8 days after diagnosis. Of these, 28 potently neutralized authentic SARS-CoV-2 with IC100 as low as 0.04 µg/mL, showing a broad spectrum of variable (V) genes and low levels of somatic mutations. Interestingly, potential precursor sequences were identified in naive B cell repertoires from 48 healthy individuals who were sampled before the COVID-19 pandemic. Our results demonstrate that SARS-CoV-2-neutralizing antibodies are readily generated from a diverse pool of precursors, fostering hope for rapid induction of a protective immune response upon vaccination.


Subject(s)
Antibodies, Neutralizing/isolation & purification , Antibodies, Viral/isolation & purification , Coronavirus Infections/immunology , Pneumonia, Viral/immunology , Antibodies, Neutralizing/genetics , Antibodies, Neutralizing/immunology , Antibodies, Viral/genetics , Antibodies, Viral/immunology , B-Lymphocytes/immunology , Betacoronavirus/immunology , COVID-19 , Humans , Immunoglobulin Variable Region/genetics , Immunoglobulin Variable Region/immunology , Immunologic Memory , Longitudinal Studies , Pandemics , SARS-CoV-2 , Somatic Hypermutation, Immunoglobulin
10.
Science ; 368(6489): 409-412, 2020 04 24.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-164984

ABSTRACT

The coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) pandemic caused by severe acute respiratory syndrome-coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2) is a global health emergency. An attractive drug target among coronaviruses is the main protease (Mpro, also called 3CLpro) because of its essential role in processing the polyproteins that are translated from the viral RNA. We report the x-ray structures of the unliganded SARS-CoV-2 Mpro and its complex with an α-ketoamide inhibitor. This was derived from a previously designed inhibitor but with the P3-P2 amide bond incorporated into a pyridone ring to enhance the half-life of the compound in plasma. On the basis of the unliganded structure, we developed the lead compound into a potent inhibitor of the SARS-CoV-2 Mpro The pharmacokinetic characterization of the optimized inhibitor reveals a pronounced lung tropism and suitability for administration by the inhalative route.


Subject(s)
Amides/chemistry , Amides/pharmacology , Betacoronavirus/drug effects , Betacoronavirus/enzymology , Cysteine Endopeptidases/chemistry , Protease Inhibitors/chemistry , Protease Inhibitors/pharmacology , Viral Nonstructural Proteins/chemistry , Amides/metabolism , Animals , Antiviral Agents/chemistry , Antiviral Agents/metabolism , Antiviral Agents/pharmacokinetics , Antiviral Agents/pharmacology , Binding Sites , Cell Line, Tumor , Coronavirus 3C Proteases , Crystallography, X-Ray , Cysteine Endopeptidases/metabolism , Drug Design , Half-Life , Humans , Lung/metabolism , Mice , Models, Molecular , Protease Inhibitors/metabolism , Protease Inhibitors/pharmacokinetics , Protein Domains , Protein Multimerization , Pyridones/chemistry , SARS-CoV-2 , Viral Nonstructural Proteins/metabolism , Virus Replication/drug effects
11.
Lancet Infect Dis ; 20(7): 816-826, 2020 07.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-88400

ABSTRACT

BACKGROUND: Cases of Middle East respiratory syndrome coronavirus (MERS-CoV) infection continue to rise in the Arabian Peninsula 7 years after it was first described in Saudi Arabia. MERS-CoV poses a significant risk to public health security because of an absence of currently available effective countermeasures. We aimed to assess the safety and immunogenicity of the candidate simian adenovirus-vectored vaccine expressing the full-length spike surface glycoprotein, ChAdOx1 MERS, in humans. METHODS: This dose-escalation, open-label, non-randomised, uncontrolled, phase 1 trial was done at the Centre for Clinical Vaccinology and Tropical Medicine (Oxford, UK) and included healthy people aged 18-50 years with negative pre-vaccination tests for HIV antibodies, hepatitis B surface antigen, and hepatitis C antibodies (and a negative urinary pregnancy test for women). Participants received a single intramuscular injection of ChAdOx1 MERS at three different doses: the low-dose group received 5 × 109 viral particles, the intermediate-dose group received 2·5 × 1010 viral particles, and the high-dose group received 5 × 1010 viral particles. The primary objective was to assess safety and tolerability of ChAdOx1 MERS, measured by the occurrence of solicited, unsolicited, and serious adverse events after vaccination. The secondary objective was to assess the cellular and humoral immunogenicity of ChAdOx1 MERS, measured by interferon-γ-linked enzyme-linked immunospot, ELISA, and virus neutralising assays after vaccination. Participants were followed up for up to 12 months. This study is registered with ClinicalTrials.gov, NCT03399578. FINDINGS: Between March 14 and Aug 15, 2018, 24 participants were enrolled: six were assigned to the low-dose group, nine to the intermediate-dose group, and nine to the high-dose group. All participants were available for follow-up at 6 months, but five (one in the low-dose group, one in the intermediate-dose group, and three in the high-dose group) were lost to follow-up at 12 months. A single dose of ChAdOx1 MERS was safe at doses up to 5 × 1010 viral particles with no vaccine-related serious adverse events reported by 12 months. One serious adverse event reported was deemed to be not related to ChAdOx1 MERS. 92 (74% [95% CI 66-81]) of 124 solicited adverse events were mild, 31 (25% [18-33]) were moderate, and all were self-limiting. Unsolicited adverse events in the 28 days following vaccination considered to be possibly, probably, or definitely related to ChAdOx1 MERS were predominantly mild in nature and resolved within the follow-up period of 12 months. The proportion of moderate and severe adverse events was significantly higher in the high-dose group than in the intermediate-dose group (relative risk 5·83 [95% CI 2·11-17·42], p<0·0001) Laboratory adverse events considered to be at least possibly related to the study intervention were self-limiting and predominantly mild in severity. A significant increase from baseline in T-cell (p<0·003) and IgG (p<0·0001) responses to the MERS-CoV spike antigen was observed at all doses. Neutralising antibodies against live MERS-CoV were observed in four (44% [95% CI 19-73]) of nine participants in the high-dose group 28 days after vaccination, and 19 (79% [58-93]) of 24 participants had antibodies capable of neutralisation in a pseudotyped virus neutralisation assay. INTERPRETATION: ChAdOx1 MERS was safe and well tolerated at all tested doses. A single dose was able to elicit both humoral and cellular responses against MERS-CoV. The results of this first-in-human clinical trial support clinical development progression into field phase 1b and 2 trials. FUNDING: UK Department of Health and Social Care, using UK Aid funding, managed by the UK National Institute for Health Research.


Subject(s)
Dose-Response Relationship, Immunologic , Immunogenicity, Vaccine , Middle East Respiratory Syndrome Coronavirus/immunology , Viral Vaccines/administration & dosage , Adult , Antibodies, Neutralizing/immunology , Antibodies, Viral , Coronavirus Infections/prevention & control , Enzyme-Linked Immunosorbent Assay , Female , Humans , Male , Middle Aged , Middle East Respiratory Syndrome Coronavirus/genetics , United Kingdom , Vaccines, DNA , Young Adult
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