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EuropePMC; 2022.
Preprint in English | EuropePMC | ID: ppcovidwho-337700


Background There are no licensed vaccines against Plasmodium vivax , the most common cause of malaria outside of Africa. Methods We conducted two Phase I/IIa clinical trials to assess the safety, immunogenicity and efficacy of two vaccines targeting region II of P. vivax Duffy-binding protein (PvDBPII). Recombinant viral vaccines (using ChAd63 and MVA vectors) were administered at 0, 2 months or in a delayed dosing regimen (0, 17, 19 months), whilst a protein/adjuvant formulation (PvDBPII/Matrix-M™) was administered monthly (0, 1, 2 months) or in a delayed dosing regimen (0, 1, 14 months). Delayed regimens were due to trial halts during the COVID-19 pandemic. Volunteers underwent heterologous controlled human malaria infection (CHMI) with blood-stage P. vivax parasites at 2-4 weeks following their last vaccination, alongside unvaccinated controls. Efficacy was assessed by comparison of parasite multiplication rate (PMR) in blood post-CHMI, modelled from parasitemia measured by quantitative polymerase-chain-reaction (qPCR). Results Thirty-two volunteers were enrolled and vaccinated (n=16 for each vaccine). No safety concerns were identified. PvDBPII/Matrix-M™, given in the delayed dosing regimen, elicited the highest antibody responses and reduced the mean PMR following CHMI by 51% (range 36-66%;n=6) compared to unvaccinated controls (n=13). No other vaccine or regimen impacted parasite growth. In vivo growth inhibition of blood-stage P. vivax correlated with functional antibody readouts of vaccine immunogenicity. Conclusions Vaccination of malaria-naïve adults with a delayed booster regimen of PvDBPII/ Matrix-M™ significantly reduces the growth of blood-stage P. vivax . Funded by the European Commission and Wellcome Trust;VAC069, VAC071 and VAC079 numbers NCT03797989 , NCT04009096 and NCT04201431 .

Sci Adv ; 8(11): eabl6015, 2022 Mar 18.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1745843


Authorized vaccines against SARS-CoV-2 remain less available in low- and middle-income countries due to insufficient supply, high costs, and storage requirements. Global immunity could still benefit from new vaccines using widely available, safe adjuvants, such as alum and protein subunits, suited to low-cost production in existing manufacturing facilities. Here, a clinical-stage vaccine candidate comprising a SARS-CoV-2 receptor binding domain-hepatitis B surface antigen virus-like particle elicited protective immunity in cynomolgus macaques. Titers of neutralizing antibodies (>104) induced by this candidate were above the range of protection for other licensed vaccines in nonhuman primates. Including CpG 1018 did not significantly improve the immunological responses. Vaccinated animals challenged with SARS-CoV-2 showed reduced median viral loads in bronchoalveolar lavage (~3.4 log10) and nasal mucosa (~2.9 log10) versus sham controls. These data support the potential benefit of this design for a low-cost modular vaccine platform for SARS-CoV-2 and other variants of concern or betacoronaviruses.

Preprint in English | EuropePMC | ID: ppcovidwho-327777


Adenovirus vector vaccines have been widely and successfully deployed in response to COVID-19. However, despite inducing potent T cell immunity, improvement of vaccine-specific antibody responses upon homologous boosting is modest compared to other technologies. Here, we describe a system to enable modular decoration of adenovirus capsid surfaces with protein antigens and demonstrate induction of potent humoral immunity against these displayed antigens. Ligand attachment via a covalent isopeptide bond was achieved in a rapid and spontaneous reaction, requiring simple co-incubation of ligand and vector components. We used a recently described protein superglue, DogTag/DogCatcher, which is similar to the widely used SpyTag/SpyCatcher ligation system but performs better in loop structures. DogTag was inserted into surface-exposed loops in the adenovirus hexon protein to allow attachment of DogCatcher-fused ligands on virus particles. Efficient coverage of the capsid surface was achieved using a variety of ligands and vector infectivity was retained in each case. Capsid decoration shielded particles from anti-adenovirus neutralizing antibodies. In prime-boost regimens, proof-of-concept COVID-19 adenovirus vaccines decorated with the receptor-binding domain (RBD) of SARS-CoV-2 spike induced >10-fold higher SARS-CoV-2 neutralization titers compared to an undecorated adenovirus vector encoding spike. Importantly, decorated vectors retained robust T cell immunogenicity to encoded antigens, a key hallmark of adenovirus vector vaccines. We propose capsid decoration via protein superglue-mediated covalent ligation as a novel strategy to improve the efficacy and boostability of adenovirus-based vaccines and therapeutics.