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1.
Front Immunol ; 13: 883612, 2022.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1875414

ABSTRACT

Plasma samples taken at different time points from donors who received either AstraZeneca (Vaxzevria) or Pfizer (Comirnaty) or Moderna (Spikevax) coronavirus disease-19 (COVID-19) vaccine were assessed in virus neutralization assays against Delta and Omicron variants of concern and a reference isolate (VIC31). With the Pfizer vaccine there was 6-8-fold reduction in 50% neutralizing antibody titres (NT50) against Delta and VIC31 at 6 months compared to 2 weeks after the second dose; followed by 25-fold increase at 2 weeks after the third dose. Neutralisation of Omicron was only consistently observed 2 weeks after the third dose, with most samples having titres below the limit of detection at earlier timepoints. Moderna results were similar to Pfizer at 2 weeks after the second dose, while the titres for AstraZeneca samples derived from older donors were 7-fold lower against VIC31 and below the limit of detection against Delta and Omicron. Age and gender were not found to significantly impact our results. These findings indicate that vaccine matching may be needed, and that at least a third dose of these vaccines is necessary to generate sufficient neutralising antibodies against emerging variants of concern, especially Omicron, amidst the challenges of ensuring vaccine equity worldwide.


Subject(s)
COVID-19 , Viral Vaccines , COVID-19/prevention & control , COVID-19 Vaccines , Humans , SARS-CoV-2 , Vaccines, Inactivated
3.
Viruses ; 14(4)2022 04 13.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1786083

ABSTRACT

As existing vaccines fail to completely prevent COVID-19 infections or community transmission, there is an unmet need for vaccines that can better combat SARS-CoV-2 variants of concern (VOC). We previously developed highly thermo-tolerant monomeric and trimeric receptor-binding domain derivatives that can withstand 100 °C for 90 min and 37 °C for four weeks and help eliminate cold-chain requirements. We show that mice immunised with these vaccine formulations elicit high titres of antibodies that neutralise SARS-CoV-2 variants VIC31 (with Spike: D614G mutation), Delta and Omicron (BA.1.1) VOC. Compared to VIC31, there was an average 14.4-fold reduction in neutralisation against BA.1.1 for the three monomeric antigen-adjuvant combinations and a 16.5-fold reduction for the three trimeric antigen-adjuvant combinations; the corresponding values against Delta were 2.5 and 3.0. Our findings suggest that monomeric formulations are suitable for upcoming Phase I human clinical trials and that there is potential for increasing the efficacy with vaccine matching to improve the responses against emerging variants. These findings are consistent with in silico modelling and AlphaFold predictions, which show that, while oligomeric presentation can be generally beneficial, it can make important epitopes inaccessible and also carries the risk of eliciting unwanted antibodies against the oligomerisation domain.


Subject(s)
COVID-19 Vaccines , COVID-19 , Animals , Antibodies, Neutralizing , Antibodies, Viral , COVID-19/prevention & control , Humans , Mice , SARS-CoV-2/genetics , Spike Glycoprotein, Coronavirus/genetics
4.
EuropePMC; 2022.
Preprint in English | EuropePMC | ID: ppcovidwho-329693

ABSTRACT

As existing vaccines fail to completely prevent COVID-19 infections or community transmission, there is an unmet need for vaccines that can better combat SARS-CoV-2 variants of concern (VOC). We have previously developed highly thermo-tolerant monomeric and trimeric receptor binding domain derivatives that can withstand 100°C for 90 minutes and 37°C for four weeks, and help eliminate cold chain requirements. We show that these vaccine formulations elicit high antibody titres in mice that were immunised on Days 0, 21 and 42;and that these antibodies neutralise SARS-CoV-2 variants VIC31 (with Spike: D614G mutation), Delta and Omicron (BA.1.1) VOC. Compared to VIC31, there was an average 14.4-fold reduction in neutralisation against BA.1.1 for the three monomeric, and 16.5-fold reduction for the three trimeric antigen-adjuvant combinations;the corresponding values against Delta were 2.5 and 3.0. Our findings suggest that monomeric formulations are suitable for the upcoming Phase I human clinical trials, and that there is potential for improving efficacy with vaccine matching to improve responses against emerging variants. These findings are consistent with in silico modelling and AlphaFold predictions which show that while oligomeric presentation can be generally beneficial, it can make important epitopes inaccessible and elicit unwanted titres against the oligomerisation domain. Graphical

5.
EuropePMC; 2022.
Preprint in English | EuropePMC | ID: ppcovidwho-329058

ABSTRACT

Plasma samples taken at different time points from donors who received either AstraZeneca (Vaxzevria) or Pfizer (Comirnaty) or Moderna (Spikevax) coronavirus disease-19 (COVID-19) vaccine were assessed in virus neutralization assays against Delta and Omicron variants of concern and a reference isolate (VIC31). With the Pfizer vaccine there was 6-8-fold reduction in 50% neutralizing antibody titres (NT 50 ) against Delta and VIC31 at 6 months compared to 2 weeks after the second dose;followed by 25-fold increase at 2 weeks after the third dose. Neutralisation of Omicron was only consistently observed 2 weeks after the third dose, with most samples having titres below the limit of detection at earlier timepoints. Moderna results were similar to Pfizer at 2 weeks after the second dose, while the titres for AstraZeneca samples derived from older donors were 7-fold lower against VIC31 and below the limit of detection against Delta and Omicron. Age and gender were not found to significantly impact our results. These observations indicate that vaccine matching may be needed, and that at least a third dose of these vaccines is necessary to generate sufficient neutralising antibodies against emerging variants of concern, especially Omicron, amidst the challenges of ensuring vaccine equity worldwide.

6.
EuropePMC;
Preprint in English | EuropePMC | ID: ppcovidwho-327781

ABSTRACT

Plasma samples taken at different time points from donors who received either AstraZeneca (Vaxzevria) or Pfizer (Comirnaty) or Moderna (Spikevax) coronavirus disease-19 (COVID-19) vaccine were assessed in virus neutralization assays against Delta and Omicron variants of concern and a reference isolate (VIC31). With the Pfizer vaccine there was 6-8 fold reduction in 50% neutralizing antibody titres (NT50) against Delta and VIC31 at 6 months compared to 2 weeks after the second dose;followed by 25-fold increase at 2 weeks after the third dose. Neutralisation of Omicron was only consistently observed 2 weeks after the third dose, with most samples having titres below the limit of detection at earlier timepoints. Moderna results were similar to Pfizer at 2 weeks after the second dose, while the titres for AstraZeneca samples derived from older donors were 7-fold lower against VIC31 and below the limit of detection against Delta and Omicron. Age and gender were not found to significantly impact our results. These observations indicate that vaccine matching may be needed, and that at least a third dose of these vaccines is necessary to generate sufficient neutralising antibodies against emerging variants of concern, especially Omicron, amidst the challenges of ensuring vaccine equity worldwide.

7.
Int J Mol Sci ; 23(2)2022 Jan 13.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1625839

ABSTRACT

The global urgency to uncover medical countermeasures to combat the COVID-19 pandemic caused by the severe acute respiratory syndrome-coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2) has revealed an unmet need for robust tissue culture models that faithfully recapitulate key features of human tissues and disease. Infection of the nose is considered the dominant initial site for SARS-CoV-2 infection and models that replicate this entry portal offer the greatest potential for examining and demonstrating the effectiveness of countermeasures designed to prevent or manage this highly communicable disease. Here, we test an air-liquid-interface (ALI) differentiated human nasal epithelium (HNE) culture system as a model of authentic SARS-CoV-2 infection. Progenitor cells (basal cells) were isolated from nasal turbinate brushings, expanded under conditionally reprogrammed cell (CRC) culture conditions and differentiated at ALI. Differentiated cells were inoculated with different SARS-CoV-2 clinical isolates. Infectious virus release into apical washes was determined by TCID50, while infected cells were visualized by immunofluorescence and confocal microscopy. We demonstrate robust, reproducible SARS-CoV-2 infection of ALI-HNE established from different donors. Viral entry and release occurred from the apical surface, and infection was primarily observed in ciliated cells. In contrast to the ancestral clinical isolate, the Delta variant caused considerable cell damage. Successful establishment of ALI-HNE is donor dependent. ALI-HNE recapitulate key features of human SARS-CoV-2 infection of the nose and can serve as a pre-clinical model without the need for invasive collection of human respiratory tissue samples.


Subject(s)
COVID-19/virology , Nasal Mucosa/cytology , Nasal Mucosa/virology , Tissue Culture Techniques/methods , Adolescent , Adult , Angiotensin-Converting Enzyme 2/metabolism , Cell Culture Techniques , Cell Differentiation , Epithelial Cells/cytology , Epithelial Cells/virology , Female , Humans , Male , Middle Aged , Models, Biological , SARS-CoV-2 , Virus Internalization
8.
Lancet Public Health ; 6(8): e547-e556, 2021 08.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1433979

ABSTRACT

BACKGROUND: A cornerstone of Australia's ability to control COVID-19 has been effective border control with an extensive supervised quarantine programme. However, a rapid recrudescence of COVID-19 was observed in the state of Victoria in June, 2020. We aim to describe the genomic findings that located the source of this second wave and show the role of genomic epidemiology in the successful elimination of COVID-19 for a second time in Australia. METHODS: In this observational, genomic epidemiological study, we did genomic sequencing of all laboratory-confirmed cases of COVID-19 diagnosed in Victoria, Australia between Jan 25, 2020, and Jan 31, 2021. We did phylogenetic analyses, genomic cluster discovery, and integrated results with epidemiological data (detailed information on demographics, risk factors, and exposure) collected via interview by the Victorian Government Department of Health. Genomic transmission networks were used to group multiple genomic clusters when epidemiological and genomic data suggested they arose from a single importation event and diversified within Victoria. To identify transmission of emergent lineages between Victoria and other states or territories in Australia, all publicly available SARS-CoV-2 sequences uploaded before Feb 11, 2021, were obtained from the national sequence sharing programme AusTrakka, and epidemiological data were obtained from the submitting laboratories. We did phylodynamic analyses to estimate the growth rate, doubling time, and number of days from the first local infection to the collection of the first sequenced genome for the dominant local cluster, and compared our growth estimates to previously published estimates from a similar growth phase of lineage B.1.1.7 (also known as the Alpha variant) in the UK. FINDINGS: Between Jan 25, 2020, and Jan 31, 2021, there were 20 451 laboratory-confirmed cases of COVID-19 in Victoria, Australia, of which 15 431 were submitted for sequencing, and 11 711 met all quality control metrics and were included in our analysis. We identified 595 genomic clusters, with a median of five cases per cluster (IQR 2-11). Overall, samples from 11 503 (98·2%) of 11 711 cases clustered with another sample in Victoria, either within a genomic cluster or transmission network. Genomic analysis revealed that 10 426 cases, including 10 416 (98·4%) of 10 584 locally acquired cases, diagnosed during the second wave (between June and October, 2020) were derived from a single incursion from hotel quarantine, with the outbreak lineage (transmission network G, lineage D.2) rapidly detected in other Australian states and territories. Phylodynamic analyses indicated that the epidemic growth rate of the outbreak lineage in Victoria during the initial growth phase (samples collected between June 4 and July 9, 2020; 47·4 putative transmission events, per branch, per year [1/years; 95% credible interval 26·0-85·0]), was similar to that of other reported variants, such as B.1.1.7 in the UK (mean approximately 71·5 1/years). Strict interventions were implemented, and the outbreak lineage has not been detected in Australia since Oct 29, 2020. Subsequent cases represented independent international or interstate introductions, with limited local spread. INTERPRETATION: Our study highlights how rapid escalation of clonal outbreaks can occur from a single incursion. However, strict quarantine measures and decisive public health responses to emergent cases are effective, even with high epidemic growth rates. Real-time genomic surveillance can alter the way in which public health agencies view and respond to COVID-19 outbreaks. FUNDING: The Victorian Government, the National Health and Medical Research Council Australia, and the Medical Research Future Fund.


Subject(s)
COVID-19/prevention & control , SARS-CoV-2/genetics , COVID-19/epidemiology , Epidemiologic Studies , Genomics , Humans , SARS-CoV-2/isolation & purification , Victoria/epidemiology
9.
Open Forum Infect Dis ; 8(9): ofab359, 2021 Sep.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1405048

ABSTRACT

We describe severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2)-specific immune responses in a patient with lymphoma and recent programmed death 1 (PD-1) inhibitor therapy with late onset of severe coronavirus disease 2019 disease and prolonged SARS-CoV-2 replication, in comparison to age-matched and immunocompromised controls. High levels of HLA-DR+/CD38+ activation, interleukin 6, and interleukin 18 in the absence of B cells and PD-1 expression was observed. SARS-CoV-2-specific antibody responses were absent and SARS-CoV-2-specific T cells were minimally detected. This case highlights challenges in managing immunocompromised hosts who may fail to mount effective virus-specific immune responses.

12.
Cell Rep ; 35(6): 109108, 2021 05 11.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1202346

ABSTRACT

Severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2) uses subgenomic RNA (sgRNA) to produce viral proteins for replication and immune evasion. We apply long-read RNA and cDNA sequencing to in vitro human and primate infection models to study transcriptional dynamics. Transcription-regulating sequence (TRS)-dependent sgRNA upregulates earlier in infection than TRS-independent sgRNA. An abundant class of TRS-independent sgRNA consisting of a portion of open reading frame 1ab (ORF1ab) containing nsp1 joins to ORF10, and the 3' untranslated region (UTR) upregulates at 48 h post-infection in human cell lines. We identify double-junction sgRNA containing both TRS-dependent and -independent junctions. We find multiple sites at which the SARS-CoV-2 genome is consistently more modified than sgRNA and that sgRNA modifications are stable across transcript clusters, host cells, and time since infection. Our work highlights the dynamic nature of the SARS-CoV-2 transcriptome during its replication cycle.


Subject(s)
COVID-19/genetics , SARS-CoV-2/genetics , Transcription, Genetic/genetics , Animals , Caco-2 Cells , Cell Line , Chlorocebus aethiops , Epigenesis, Genetic , Genome, Viral/genetics , Humans , Immune Evasion , Open Reading Frames , RNA, Viral/genetics , Transcriptome , Vero Cells , Viral Proteins/genetics
13.
Nat Commun ; 11(1): 4376, 2020 09 01.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-740037

ABSTRACT

Genomic sequencing has significant potential to inform public health management for SARS-CoV-2. Here we report high-throughput genomics for SARS-CoV-2, sequencing 80% of cases in Victoria, Australia (population 6.24 million) between 6 January and 14 April 2020 (total 1,333 COVID-19 cases). We integrate epidemiological, genomic and phylodynamic data to identify clusters and impact of interventions. The global diversity of SARS-CoV-2 is represented, consistent with multiple importations. Seventy-six distinct genomic clusters were identified, including large clusters associated with social venues, healthcare and cruise ships. Sequencing sequential samples from 98 patients reveals minimal intra-patient SARS-CoV-2 genomic diversity. Phylodynamic modelling indicates a significant reduction in the effective viral reproductive number (Re) from 1.63 to 0.48 after implementing travel restrictions and physical distancing. Our data provide a concrete framework for the use of SARS-CoV-2 genomics in public health responses, including its use to rapidly identify SARS-CoV-2 transmission chains, increasingly important as social restrictions ease globally.


Subject(s)
Betacoronavirus/genetics , Coronavirus Infections/epidemiology , Coronavirus Infections/virology , Pneumonia, Viral/epidemiology , Pneumonia, Viral/virology , Adult , Australia/epidemiology , Betacoronavirus/isolation & purification , COVID-19 , Coronavirus Infections/transmission , Female , Genome, Viral , Genomics/methods , Health Personnel , Humans , Male , Middle Aged , Molecular Epidemiology , Pandemics , Phylogeny , Pneumonia, Viral/transmission , Public Health , Retrospective Studies , SARS-CoV-2 , Travel
14.
J Gen Virol ; 101(9): 925-940, 2020 09.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-610420

ABSTRACT

The sudden emergence of severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2) at the end of 2019 from the Chinese province of Hubei and its subsequent pandemic spread highlight the importance of understanding the full molecular details of coronavirus infection and pathogenesis. Here, we compared a variety of replication features of SARS-CoV-2 and SARS-CoV and analysed the cytopathology caused by the two closely related viruses in the commonly used Vero E6 cell line. Compared to SARS-CoV, SARS-CoV-2 generated higher levels of intracellular viral RNA, but strikingly about 50-fold less infectious viral progeny was recovered from the culture medium. Immunofluorescence microscopy of SARS-CoV-2-infected cells established extensive cross-reactivity of antisera previously raised against a variety of non-structural proteins, membrane and nucleocapsid protein of SARS-CoV. Electron microscopy revealed that the ultrastructural changes induced by the two SARS viruses are very similar and occur within comparable time frames after infection. Furthermore, we determined that the sensitivity of the two viruses to three established inhibitors of coronavirus replication (remdesivir, alisporivir and chloroquine) is very similar, but that SARS-CoV-2 infection was substantially more sensitive to pre-treatment of cells with pegylated interferon alpha. An important difference between the two viruses is the fact that - upon passaging in Vero E6 cells - SARS-CoV-2 apparently is under strong selection pressure to acquire adaptive mutations in its spike protein gene. These mutations change or delete a putative furin-like cleavage site in the region connecting the S1 and S2 domains and result in a very prominent phenotypic change in plaque assays.


Subject(s)
Betacoronavirus/physiology , SARS Virus/physiology , Virus Replication/physiology , Adaptation, Biological , Animals , Antibodies, Viral/immunology , Betacoronavirus/genetics , Cell Line/ultrastructure , Cell Line/virology , Chlorocebus aethiops , Computational Biology , Conserved Sequence , Cross Reactions , Cytopathogenic Effect, Viral , High-Throughput Nucleotide Sequencing , Humans , Immune Sera/immunology , Kinetics , Mice , Microscopy, Electron , Microscopy, Fluorescence , RNA, Viral/isolation & purification , Rabbits , SARS-CoV-2 , Vero Cells/ultrastructure , Vero Cells/virology
16.
Med J Aust ; 212(10): 459-462, 2020 06.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-39583

ABSTRACT

OBJECTIVES: To describe the first isolation and sequencing of SARS-CoV-2 in Australia and rapid sharing of the isolate. SETTING: SARS-CoV-2 was isolated from a 58-year-old man from Wuhan, China who arrived in Melbourne on 19 January 2020 and was admitted to the Monash Medical Centre, Melbourne from the emergency department on 24 January 2020 with fever, cough, and progressive dyspnoea. MAJOR OUTCOMES: Clinical course and laboratory features of the first reported case of COVID-19 (the illness caused by SARS-CoV-2) in Australia; isolation, whole genome sequencing, imaging, and rapid sharing of virus from the patient. RESULTS: A nasopharyngeal swab and sputum collected when the patient presented to hospital were each positive for SARS-CoV-2 (reverse transcription polymerase chain reaction). Inoculation of Vero/hSLAM cells with material from the nasopharyngeal swab led to the isolation of SARS-CoV-2 virus in culture. Electron microscopy of the supernatant confirmed the presence of virus particles with morphology characteristic of viruses of the family Coronaviridae. Whole genome sequencing of the viral isolate and phylogenetic analysis indicated the isolate exhibited greater than 99.99% sequence identity with other publicly available SARS-CoV-2 genomes. Within 24 hours of isolation, the first Australian SARS-CoV-2 isolate was shared with local and overseas reference laboratories and major North American and European culture collections. CONCLUSIONS: The ability to rapidly identify, propagate, and internationally share our SARS-CoV-2 isolate is an important step in collaborative scientific efforts to deal effectively with this international public health emergency by developing better diagnostic procedures, vaccine candidates, and antiviral agents.


Subject(s)
Betacoronavirus/genetics , Coronavirus Infections/genetics , Information Dissemination/methods , Patient Isolation/methods , Pneumonia, Viral/genetics , Australia , COVID-19 , Coronavirus Infections/diagnosis , Humans , Male , Middle Aged , Pandemics , Pneumonia, Viral/diagnosis , SARS-CoV-2 , Whole Genome Sequencing
17.
Antiviral Res ; 178: 104787, 2020 06.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-30819

ABSTRACT

Although several clinical trials are now underway to test possible therapies, the worldwide response to the COVID-19 outbreak has been largely limited to monitoring/containment. We report here that Ivermectin, an FDA-approved anti-parasitic previously shown to have broad-spectrum anti-viral activity in vitro, is an inhibitor of the causative virus (SARS-CoV-2), with a single addition to Vero-hSLAM cells 2 h post infection with SARS-CoV-2 able to effect ~5000-fold reduction in viral RNA at 48 h. Ivermectin therefore warrants further investigation for possible benefits in humans.


Subject(s)
Antiviral Agents/pharmacology , Betacoronavirus/drug effects , Coronavirus Infections/virology , Drug Approval , Ivermectin/pharmacology , Ivermectin/therapeutic use , Pneumonia, Viral/virology , Virus Replication/drug effects , Animals , Australia , Betacoronavirus/physiology , COVID-19 , Chlorocebus aethiops , Coronavirus Infections/drug therapy , Humans , Pandemics , Pneumonia, Viral/drug therapy , SARS-CoV-2 , Vero Cells
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