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1.
biorxiv; 2021.
Preprint in English | bioRxiv | ID: ppzbmed-10.1101.2021.05.15.444222

ABSTRACT

The unprecedented global demand for SARS-CoV-2 vaccines has demonstrated the need for highly effective vaccine candidates that are thermostable and amenable to large-scale manufacturing. Nanoparticle immunogens presenting the receptor-binding domain (RBD) of the SARS-CoV-2 Spike protein (S) in repetitive arrays are being advanced as second-generation vaccine candidates, as they feature robust manufacturing characteristics and have shown promising immunogenicity in preclinical models. Here, we used previously reported deep mutational scanning (DMS) data to guide the design of stabilized variants of the RBD. The selected mutations fill a cavity in the RBD that has been identified as a linoleic acid binding pocket. Screening of several designs led to the selection of two lead candidates that expressed at higher yields than the wild-type RBD. These stabilized RBDs possess enhanced thermal stability and resistance to aggregation, particularly when incorporated into an icosahedral nanoparticle immunogen that maintained its integrity and antigenicity for 28 days at 35-40{degrees}C, while corresponding immunogens displaying the wild-type RBD experienced aggregation and loss of antigenicity. The stabilized immunogens preserved the potent immunogenicity of the original nanoparticle immunogen, which is currently being evaluated in a Phase I/II clinical trial. Our findings may improve the scalability and stability of RBD-based coronavirus vaccines in any format and more generally highlight the utility of comprehensive DMS data in guiding vaccine design.


Subject(s)
Blood Platelet Disorders , Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome
2.
biorxiv; 2021.
Preprint in English | bioRxiv | ID: ppzbmed-10.1101.2021.03.15.435528

ABSTRACT

Understanding the ability of SARS-CoV-2 vaccine-elicited antibodies to neutralize and protect against emerging variants of concern and other sarbecoviruses is key for guiding vaccine development decisions and public health policies. We show that a clinical stage multivalent SARS-CoV-2 receptor-binding domain nanoparticle vaccine (SARS-CoV-2 RBD-NP) protects mice from SARS-CoV-2-induced disease after a single shot, indicating that the vaccine could allow dose-sparing. SARS-CoV-2 RBD-NP elicits high antibody titers in two non-human primate (NHP) models against multiple distinct RBD antigenic sites known to be recognized by neutralizing antibodies. We benchmarked NHP serum neutralizing activity elicited by RBD-NP against a lead prefusion-stabilized SARS-CoV-2 spike immunogen using a panel of single-residue spike mutants detected in clinical isolates as well as the B.1.1.7 and B.1.351 variants of concern. Polyclonal antibodies elicited by both vaccines are resilient to most RBD mutations tested, but the E484K substitution has similar negative consequences for neutralization, and exhibit modest but comparable neutralization breadth against distantly related sarbecoviruses. We demonstrate that mosaic and cocktail sarbecovirus RBD-NPs elicit broad sarbecovirus neutralizing activity, including against the SARS-CoV-2 B.1.351 variant, and protect mice against severe SARS-CoV challenge even in the absence of the SARS-CoV RBD in the vaccine. This study provides proof of principle that sarbecovirus RBD-NPs induce heterotypic protection and enables advancement of broadly protective sarbecovirus vaccines to the clinic.


Subject(s)
Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome
3.
biorxiv; 2021.
Preprint in English | bioRxiv | ID: ppzbmed-10.1101.2021.02.10.430696

ABSTRACT

The development of a portfolio of SARS-CoV-2 vaccines to vaccinate the global population remains an urgent public health imperative. Here, we demonstrate the capacity of a subunit vaccine under clinical development, comprising the SARS-CoV-2 Spike protein receptor-binding domain displayed on a two-component protein nanoparticle (RBD-NP), to stimulate robust and durable neutralizing antibody (nAb) responses and protection against SARS-CoV-2 in non-human primates. We evaluated five different adjuvants combined with RBD-NP including Essai O/W 1849101, a squalene-in-water emulsion; AS03, an alpha-tocopherol-containing squalene-based oil-in-water emulsion used in pandemic influenza vaccines; AS37, a TLR-7 agonist adsorbed to Alum; CpG 1018-Alum (CpG-Alum), a TLR-9 agonist formulated in Alum; or Alum, the most widely used adjuvant. All five adjuvants induced substantial nAb and CD4 T cell responses after two consecutive immunizations. Durable nAb responses were evaluated for RBD-NP/AS03 immunization and the live-virus nAb response was durably maintained up to 154 days post-vaccination. AS03, CpG-Alum, AS37 and Alum groups conferred significant protection against SARS-CoV-2 infection in the pharynges, nares and in the bronchoalveolar lavage. The nAb titers were highly correlated with protection against infection. Furthermore, RBD-NP when used in conjunction with AS03 was as potent as the prefusion stabilized Spike immunogen, HexaPro. Taken together, these data highlight the efficacy of the RBD-NP formulated with clinically relevant adjuvants in promoting robust immunity against SARS-CoV-2 in non-human primates.


Subject(s)
COVID-19
4.
medrxiv; 2020.
Preprint in English | medRxiv | ID: ppzbmed-10.1101.2020.11.25.20238592

ABSTRACT

Understanding immune responses following SARS-CoV-2 infection in relation to COVID-19 severity is critical to predicting the effects of long-term immunological memory on viral spread. Here we longitudinally assessed systemic and airway immune responses against SARS-CoV-2 in a well-characterized cohort of 147 infected individuals representing the full spectrum of COVID-19 severity; from asymptomatic infection to fatal disease. High systemic and airway antibody responses were elicited in patients with moderate to severe disease, and while systemic IgG levels were maintained after acute disease, airway IgG and IgA declined significantly. In contrast, individuals with mild symptoms showed significantly lower antibody responses but their levels of antigen-specific memory B cells were comparable with those observed in patients with moderate to severe disease. This suggests that antibodies in the airways may not be maintained at levels that prevent local virus entry upon re-exposure and therefore protection via activation of the memory B cell pool is critical.


Subject(s)
Acute Disease , COVID-19
5.
biorxiv; 2020.
Preprint in English | bioRxiv | ID: ppzbmed-10.1101.2020.08.11.247395

ABSTRACT

A safe, effective, and scalable vaccine is urgently needed to halt the ongoing SARS-CoV-2 pandemic. Here, we describe the structure-based design of self-assembling protein nanoparticle immunogens that elicit potent and protective antibody responses against SARS-CoV-2 in mice. The nanoparticle vaccines display 60 copies of the SARS-CoV-2 spike (S) glycoprotein receptor-binding domain (RBD) in a highly immunogenic array and induce neutralizing antibody titers roughly ten-fold higher than the prefusion-stabilized S ectodomain trimer despite a more than five-fold lower dose. Antibodies elicited by the nanoparticle immunogens target multiple distinct epitopes on the RBD, suggesting that they may not be easily susceptible to escape mutations, and exhibit a significantly lower binding:neutralizing ratio than convalescent human sera, which may minimize the risk of vaccine-associated enhanced respiratory disease. The high yield and stability of the protein components and assembled nanoparticles, especially compared to the SARS-CoV-2 prefusion-stabilized S trimer, suggest that manufacture of the nanoparticle vaccines will be highly scalable. These results highlight the utility of robust antigen display platforms for inducing potent neutralizing antibody responses and have launched cGMP manufacturing efforts to advance the lead RBD nanoparticle vaccine into the clinic.


Subject(s)
Respiratory Tract Diseases
6.
medrxiv; 2020.
Preprint in English | medRxiv | ID: ppzbmed-10.1101.2020.08.06.20169367

ABSTRACT

Most individuals infected with SARS-CoV-2 develop neutralizing antibodies that target the viral spike protein. Here we quantify how levels of these antibodies change in the months following SARS-CoV-2 infection by examining longitudinal samples collected between {approx}30 and 152 days post-symptom onset from a prospective cohort of 34 recovered individuals with asymptomatic, mild, or moderate-severe disease. Neutralizing antibody titers declined an average of about four-fold from one to four months post-symptom onset. Importantly, our data are consistent with the expected early immune response to viral infection, where an initial peak in antibody levels is followed by a decline to a lower plateau. Additional studies of long-lived B-cells and antibody titers over longer time frames are necessary to determine the durability of immunity to SARS-CoV-2.


Subject(s)
Virus Diseases , COVID-19
7.
medrxiv; 2020.
Preprint in English | medRxiv | ID: ppzbmed-10.1101.2020.05.26.20114124

ABSTRACT

Children are strikingly underrepresented in COVID-19 case counts. In the United States, children represent 22% of the population but only 1.7% of confirmed SARS-CoV-2 cases. One possibility is that symptom-based viral testing is less likely to identify infected children, since they often experience milder disease than adults. To better assess the frequency of pediatric SARS-CoV-2 infection, we serologically screened 1,775 residual samples from Seattle Children's Hospital collected from 1,076 children seeking medical care during March and April of 2020. Only one child was seropositive in March, but nine were seropositive in April for a period seroprevalence of >1%. Most seropositive children (8/10) were not suspected of having had COVID-19. The sera of most seropositive children had neutralizing activity, including one that neutralized at a dilution >1:18,000. Therefore, among children seeking medical care, the frequency of SARS-CoV-2 infection increased markedly during the early Seattle outbreak despite few positive viral tests.


Subject(s)
COVID-19
8.
biorxiv; 2020.
Preprint in English | bioRxiv | ID: ppzbmed-10.1101.2020.04.20.051219

ABSTRACT

SARS-CoV-2 enters cells using its Spike protein, which is also the main target of neutralizing antibodies. Therefore, assays to measure how antibodies and sera affect Spike-mediated viral infection are important for studying immunity. Because SARS-CoV-2 is a biosafety-level-3 virus, one way to simplify such assays is to pseudotype biosafety-level-2 viral particles with Spike. Such pseudotyping has now been described for single-cycle lentiviral, retroviral and VSV particles, but the reagents and protocols are not widely available. Here we detail how to effectively pseudotype lentiviral particles with SARS-CoV-2 Spike and infect 293T cells engineered to express the SARS-CoV-2 receptor, ACE2. We also make all the key experimental reagents available in the BEI Resources repository of ATCC and the NIH. Furthermore, we demonstrate how these pseudotyped lentiviral particles can be used to measure the neutralizing activity of human sera or plasma against SARS-CoV-2 in convenient luciferase-based assays, thereby providing a valuable complement to ELISA-based methods that measure antibody binding rather than neutralization.


Subject(s)
Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome
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