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3.
Nature ; 603(7902): 706-714, 2022 03.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1764186

ABSTRACT

The SARS-CoV-2 Omicron BA.1 variant emerged in 20211 and has multiple mutations in its spike protein2. Here we show that the spike protein of Omicron has a higher affinity for ACE2 compared with Delta, and a marked change in its antigenicity increases Omicron's evasion of therapeutic monoclonal and vaccine-elicited polyclonal neutralizing antibodies after two doses. mRNA vaccination as a third vaccine dose rescues and broadens neutralization. Importantly, the antiviral drugs remdesivir and molnupiravir retain efficacy against Omicron BA.1. Replication was similar for Omicron and Delta virus isolates in human nasal epithelial cultures. However, in lung cells and gut cells, Omicron demonstrated lower replication. Omicron spike protein was less efficiently cleaved compared with Delta. The differences in replication were mapped to the entry efficiency of the virus on the basis of spike-pseudotyped virus assays. The defect in entry of Omicron pseudotyped virus to specific cell types effectively correlated with higher cellular RNA expression of TMPRSS2, and deletion of TMPRSS2 affected Delta entry to a greater extent than Omicron. Furthermore, drug inhibitors targeting specific entry pathways3 demonstrated that the Omicron spike inefficiently uses the cellular protease TMPRSS2, which promotes cell entry through plasma membrane fusion, with greater dependency on cell entry through the endocytic pathway. Consistent with suboptimal S1/S2 cleavage and inability to use TMPRSS2, syncytium formation by the Omicron spike was substantially impaired compared with the Delta spike. The less efficient spike cleavage of Omicron at S1/S2 is associated with a shift in cellular tropism away from TMPRSS2-expressing cells, with implications for altered pathogenesis.


Subject(s)
COVID-19/pathology , COVID-19/virology , Membrane Fusion , SARS-CoV-2/metabolism , SARS-CoV-2/pathogenicity , Serine Endopeptidases/metabolism , Virus Internalization , Adult , Aged , Aged, 80 and over , Angiotensin-Converting Enzyme 2/metabolism , Animals , Antibodies, Neutralizing/immunology , Antibodies, Viral/immunology , COVID-19/immunology , COVID-19 Vaccines/immunology , Cell Line , Cell Membrane/metabolism , Cell Membrane/virology , Chlorocebus aethiops , Convalescence , Female , Humans , Immune Sera/immunology , Intestines/pathology , Intestines/virology , Lung/pathology , Lung/virology , Male , Middle Aged , Mutation , Nasal Mucosa/pathology , Nasal Mucosa/virology , SARS-CoV-2/drug effects , SARS-CoV-2/immunology , Spike Glycoprotein, Coronavirus/genetics , Spike Glycoprotein, Coronavirus/metabolism , Tissue Culture Techniques , Virulence , Virus Replication
4.
EuropePMC; 2020.
Preprint in English | EuropePMC | ID: ppcovidwho-307422

ABSTRACT

The response to the coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) pandemic has been hampered by lack of an effective severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2) antiviral therapy. Here we report the successful use of remdesivir in a patient with COVID-19 and the prototypic genetic antibody deficiency X-linked agammaglobulinaemia (XLA). Despite evidence of complement activation and a robust T cell response, the patient developed persistent SARS-CoV-2 pneumonitis, without progressing to multi-organ involvement. His unusual clinical course identifies a key role for SARS-CoV-2 antibodies in both viral clearance and progression to severe disease. In the absence of these confounders, we took an experimental medicine approach to examine the in vivo utility of remdesivir. Over two independent courses of treatment, we observed a dramatic, temporally correlated clinical and virological response, leading to clinical resolution and viral clearance, with no evidence of acquired drug resistance. We therefore provide unambiguous evidence for the antiviral efficacy of remdesivir in vivo , and its potential benefit in selected patients.

5.
J Crit Care Med (Targu Mures) ; 7(3): 199-210, 2021 Jul.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1496898

ABSTRACT

INTRODUCTION: In early 2020, at first surge of the coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) pandemic, many health care workers (HCW) were re-deployed to critical care environments to support intensive care teams looking after patients with severe COVID-19. There was considerable anxiety of increased risk of COVID-19 for these staff. To determine whether critical care HCW were at increased risk of hospital acquired infection, we explored the relationship between workplace, patient facing role and evidence of immune exposure to the severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2) within a quaternary hospital providing a regional critical care response. Routine viral surveillance was not available at this time. METHODS: We screened over 500 HCW (25% of the total workforce) for history of clinical symptoms of possible COVID19, assigning a symptom severity score, and quantified SARS-CoV-2 serum antibodies as evidence of immune exposure to the virus. RESULTS: Whilst 45% of the cohort reported symptoms that they consider may have represented COVID-19, 14% had evidence of immune exposure. Staffs in patient facing critical care roles were least likely to be seropositive (9%) and staff working in non-patient facing roles most likely to be seropositive (22%). Anosmia and fever were the most discriminating symptoms for seropositive status. Older males presented with more severe symptoms. Of the 12 staff screened positive by nasal swab (10 symptomatic), 3 showed no evidence of seroconversion in convalescence. CONCLUSIONS: Patient facing staff working in critical care do not appear to be at increased risk of hospital acquired infection however the risk of nosocomial infection from non-patient facing staff may be more significant than previous recognised. Most symptoms ascribed to possible COVID-19 were found to have no evidence of immune exposure however seroprevalence may underrepresent infection frequency. Older male staff were at the greatest risk of more severe symptoms.

6.
Nature ; 592(7853): 277-282, 2021 04.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1387425

ABSTRACT

The spike protein of severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2) is critical for virus infection through the engagement of the human ACE2 protein1 and is a major antibody target. Here we show that chronic infection with SARS-CoV-2 leads to viral evolution and reduced sensitivity to neutralizing antibodies in an immunosuppressed individual treated with convalescent plasma, by generating whole-genome ultra-deep sequences for 23 time points that span 101 days and using in vitro techniques to characterize the mutations revealed by sequencing. There was little change in the overall structure of the viral population after two courses of remdesivir during the first 57 days. However, after convalescent plasma therapy, we observed large, dynamic shifts in the viral population, with the emergence of a dominant viral strain that contained a substitution (D796H) in the S2 subunit and a deletion (ΔH69/ΔV70) in the S1 N-terminal domain of the spike protein. As passively transferred serum antibodies diminished, viruses with the escape genotype were reduced in frequency, before returning during a final, unsuccessful course of convalescent plasma treatment. In vitro, the spike double mutant bearing both ΔH69/ΔV70 and D796H conferred modestly decreased sensitivity to convalescent plasma, while maintaining infectivity levels that were similar to the wild-type virus.The spike substitution mutant D796H appeared to be the main contributor to the decreased susceptibility to neutralizing antibodies, but this mutation resulted in an infectivity defect. The spike deletion mutant ΔH69/ΔV70 had a twofold higher level of infectivity than wild-type SARS-CoV-2, possibly compensating for the reduced infectivity of the D796H mutation. These data reveal strong selection on SARS-CoV-2 during convalescent plasma therapy, which is associated with the emergence of viral variants that show evidence of reduced susceptibility to neutralizing antibodies in immunosuppressed individuals.


Subject(s)
COVID-19/drug therapy , COVID-19/therapy , COVID-19/virology , Evolution, Molecular , Mutagenesis/drug effects , SARS-CoV-2/drug effects , SARS-CoV-2/genetics , Adenosine Monophosphate/analogs & derivatives , Adenosine Monophosphate/pharmacology , Adenosine Monophosphate/therapeutic use , Aged , Alanine/analogs & derivatives , Alanine/pharmacology , Alanine/therapeutic use , Antibodies, Neutralizing/immunology , Antibodies, Viral/immunology , COVID-19/immunology , Chronic Disease , Genome, Viral/drug effects , Genome, Viral/genetics , High-Throughput Nucleotide Sequencing , Humans , Immune Evasion/drug effects , Immune Evasion/genetics , Immune Evasion/immunology , Immune Tolerance/drug effects , Immune Tolerance/immunology , Immunization, Passive , Male , Mutant Proteins/chemistry , Mutant Proteins/genetics , Mutant Proteins/immunology , Mutation , Phylogeny , SARS-CoV-2/immunology , SARS-CoV-2/metabolism , Spike Glycoprotein, Coronavirus/chemistry , Spike Glycoprotein, Coronavirus/genetics , Spike Glycoprotein, Coronavirus/immunology , Time Factors , Viral Load/drug effects , Virus Shedding
7.
J Virol ; 95(15): e0020321, 2021 07 12.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1305505

ABSTRACT

The majority of SARS-CoV-2 vaccines in use or advanced development are based on the viral spike protein (S) as their immunogen. S is present on virions as prefusion trimers in which the receptor binding domain (RBD) is stochastically open or closed. Neutralizing antibodies have been described against both open and closed conformations. The long-term success of vaccination strategies depends upon inducing antibodies that provide long-lasting broad immunity against evolving SARS-CoV-2 strains. Here, we have assessed the results of immunization in a mouse model using an S protein trimer stabilized in the closed state to prevent full exposure of the receptor binding site and therefore interaction with the receptor. We compared this with other modified S protein constructs, including representatives used in current vaccines. We found that all trimeric S proteins induced a T cell response and long-lived, strongly neutralizing antibody responses against 2019 SARS-CoV-2 and variants of concern P.1 and B.1.351. Notably, the protein binding properties of sera induced by the closed spike differed from those induced by standard S protein constructs. Closed S proteins induced more potent neutralizing responses than expected based on the degree to which they inhibit interactions between the RBD and ACE2. These observations suggest that closed spikes recruit different, but equally potent, immune responses than open spikes and that this is likely to include neutralizing antibodies against conformational epitopes present in the closed conformation. We suggest that closed spikes, together with their improved stability and storage properties, may be a valuable component of refined, next-generation vaccines. IMPORTANCE Vaccines in use against SARS-CoV-2 induce immune responses against the spike protein. There is intense interest in whether the antibody response induced by vaccines will be robust against new variants, as well as in next-generation vaccines for use in previously infected or immunized individuals. We assessed the use as an immunogen of a spike protein engineered to be conformationally stabilized in the closed state where the receptor binding site is occluded. Despite occlusion of the receptor binding site, the spike induces potently neutralizing sera against multiple SARS-CoV-2 variants. Antibodies are raised against a different pattern of epitopes to those induced by other spike constructs, preferring conformational epitopes present in the closed conformation. Closed spikes, or mRNA vaccines based on their sequence, can be a valuable component of next-generation vaccines.


Subject(s)
Angiotensin-Converting Enzyme 2 , Antibodies, Neutralizing , Antibodies, Viral , Epitopes , SARS-CoV-2 , Spike Glycoprotein, Coronavirus , Angiotensin-Converting Enzyme 2/chemistry , Angiotensin-Converting Enzyme 2/immunology , Animals , Antibodies, Neutralizing/chemistry , Antibodies, Neutralizing/immunology , Antibodies, Viral/chemistry , Antibodies, Viral/immunology , COVID-19 Vaccines/chemistry , COVID-19 Vaccines/immunology , Epitopes/chemistry , Epitopes/immunology , HEK293 Cells , Humans , Mice , Protein Stability , SARS-CoV-2/chemistry , SARS-CoV-2/immunology , Spike Glycoprotein, Coronavirus/chemistry , Spike Glycoprotein, Coronavirus/immunology
8.
Nature ; 596(7872): 417-422, 2021 08.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1287811

ABSTRACT

Although two-dose mRNA vaccination provides excellent protection against SARS-CoV-2, there is little information about vaccine efficacy against variants of concern (VOC) in individuals above eighty years of age1. Here we analysed immune responses following vaccination with the BNT162b2 mRNA vaccine2 in elderly participants and younger healthcare workers. Serum neutralization and levels of binding IgG or IgA after the first vaccine dose were lower in older individuals, with a marked drop in participants over eighty years old. Sera from participants above eighty showed lower neutralization potency against the B.1.1.7 (Alpha), B.1.351 (Beta) and P.1. (Gamma) VOC than against the wild-type virus and were more likely to lack any neutralization against VOC following the first dose. However, following the second dose, neutralization against VOC was detectable regardless of age. The frequency of SARS-CoV-2 spike-specific memory B cells was higher in elderly responders (whose serum showed neutralization activity) than in non-responders after the first dose. Elderly participants showed a clear reduction in somatic hypermutation of class-switched cells. The production of interferon-γ and interleukin-2 by SARS-CoV-2 spike-specific T cells was lower in older participants, and both cytokines were secreted primarily by CD4 T cells. We conclude that the elderly are a high-risk population and that specific measures to boost vaccine responses in this population are warranted, particularly where variants of concern are circulating.


Subject(s)
Aging/immunology , COVID-19 Vaccines/immunology , Immunity , SARS-CoV-2/immunology , Adult , Aged , Aged, 80 and over , Aging/blood , Antibodies, Neutralizing/blood , Antibodies, Neutralizing/immunology , Antibodies, Viral/blood , Antibodies, Viral/immunology , Autoantibodies/immunology , B-Lymphocytes/cytology , B-Lymphocytes/immunology , B-Lymphocytes/metabolism , COVID-19 Vaccines/administration & dosage , Female , Health Personnel , Humans , Immunity/genetics , Immunization, Secondary , Immunoglobulin A/immunology , Immunoglobulin Class Switching , Immunoglobulin G/genetics , Immunoglobulin G/immunology , Immunologic Memory/immunology , Inflammation/blood , Inflammation/immunology , Interferon-gamma/immunology , Interleukin-2/immunology , Male , Middle Aged , Somatic Hypermutation, Immunoglobulin , Spike Glycoprotein, Coronavirus/immunology , T-Lymphocytes/immunology , Vaccination , Vaccines, Synthetic/administration & dosage , Vaccines, Synthetic/immunology
9.
Nature ; 593(7857): 136-141, 2021 05.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1127162

ABSTRACT

Transmission of SARS-CoV-2 is uncontrolled in many parts of the world; control is compounded in some areas by the higher transmission potential of the B.1.1.7 variant1, which has now been reported in 94 countries. It is unclear whether the response of the virus to vaccines against SARS-CoV-2 on the basis of the prototypic strain will be affected by the mutations found in B.1.1.7. Here we assess the immune responses of individuals after vaccination with the mRNA-based vaccine BNT162b22. We measured neutralizing antibody responses after the first and second immunizations using pseudoviruses that expressed the wild-type spike protein or a mutated spike protein that contained the eight amino acid changes found in the B.1.1.7 variant. The sera from individuals who received the vaccine exhibited a broad range of neutralizing titres against the wild-type pseudoviruses that were modestly reduced against the B.1.1.7 variant. This reduction was also evident in sera from some patients who had recovered from COVID-19. Decreased neutralization of the B.1.1.7 variant was also observed for monoclonal antibodies that target the N-terminal domain (9 out of 10) and the receptor-binding motif (5 out of 31), but not for monoclonal antibodies that recognize the receptor-binding domain that bind outside the receptor-binding motif. Introduction of the mutation that encodes the E484K substitution in the B.1.1.7 background to reflect a newly emerged variant of concern (VOC 202102/02) led to a more-substantial loss of neutralizing activity by vaccine-elicited antibodies and monoclonal antibodies (19 out of 31) compared with the loss of neutralizing activity conferred by the mutations in B.1.1.7 alone. The emergence of the E484K substitution in a B.1.1.7 background represents a threat to the efficacy of the BNT162b2 vaccine.


Subject(s)
Antibodies, Neutralizing/immunology , Antibodies, Viral/immunology , COVID-19 Vaccines/immunology , COVID-19/immunology , COVID-19/therapy , SARS-CoV-2/immunology , Spike Glycoprotein, Coronavirus/immunology , Vaccines, Synthetic/immunology , Aged , Aged, 80 and over , Angiotensin-Converting Enzyme 2/metabolism , Antibodies, Monoclonal/immunology , Antibodies, Monoclonal/isolation & purification , Antibodies, Neutralizing/isolation & purification , Antibodies, Viral/isolation & purification , COVID-19/metabolism , COVID-19/virology , Female , HEK293 Cells , Humans , Immune Evasion/genetics , Immune Evasion/immunology , Immunization, Passive , Male , Middle Aged , Models, Molecular , Mutation , Neutralization Tests , SARS-CoV-2/genetics , Spike Glycoprotein, Coronavirus/chemistry , Spike Glycoprotein, Coronavirus/genetics , Spike Glycoprotein, Coronavirus/metabolism , Vaccines, Synthetic/administration & dosage
10.
Nat Commun ; 11(1): 6385, 2020 12 14.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-977267

ABSTRACT

The response to the coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) pandemic has been hampered by lack of an effective severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2) antiviral therapy. Here we report the use of remdesivir in a patient with COVID-19 and the prototypic genetic antibody deficiency X-linked agammaglobulinaemia (XLA). Despite evidence of complement activation and a robust T cell response, the patient developed persistent SARS-CoV-2 pneumonitis, without progressing to multi-organ involvement. This unusual clinical course is consistent with a contribution of antibodies to both viral clearance and progression to severe disease. In the absence of these confounders, we take an experimental medicine approach to examine the in vivo utility of remdesivir. Over two independent courses of treatment, we observe a temporally correlated clinical and virological response, leading to clinical resolution and viral clearance, with no evidence of acquired drug resistance. We therefore provide evidence for the antiviral efficacy of remdesivir in vivo, and its potential benefit in selected patients.


Subject(s)
Adenosine Monophosphate/analogs & derivatives , Alanine/analogs & derivatives , Immunity, Humoral/drug effects , SARS-CoV-2/drug effects , Adenosine Monophosphate/therapeutic use , Adult , Alanine/therapeutic use , Antiviral Agents/therapeutic use , COVID-19/virology , Fever/prevention & control , Humans , Immunity, Humoral/immunology , Lymphocyte Count , Male , SARS-CoV-2/immunology , SARS-CoV-2/physiology , Treatment Outcome
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