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1.
Viruses ; 14(4):800, 2022.
Article in English | MDPI | 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.

2.
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

3.
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.

5.
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.

6.
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
7.
EuropePMC; 2021.
Preprint in English | EuropePMC | ID: ppcovidwho-296620

ABSTRACT

Background: Rapid antigen testing is widely used as a way of scaling up population-level testing. To better inform antigen test deployment in Australia, we evaluated 22 commercially available antigen tests, including an assessment of culture infectivity. Methods Analytical sensitivity was evaluated against SARS-CoV-2 B.1.617.2 (Delta), reported as TCID50/mL, cycle threshold (Ct) value and viral load (RNA copies/mL). Specificity was assessed against non-SARS-CoV-2 viruses. Clinical sensitivity and correlation with cell culture infectivity was assessed using the Abbott PanBio™ COVID-19 Ag test. Results Nineteen kits consistently detected SARS-CoV-2 antigen equivalent to 1.3x10

8.
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.

9.
Pathology ; 53(6): 689-699, 2021 Oct.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1347786

ABSTRACT

Emerging testing technologies for detection of SARS-CoV-2 include those that are rapid and can be used at point-of-care (POC), and those facilitating high throughput laboratory-based testing. Tests designed to be performed at POC (such as antigen tests and molecular assays) have the potential to expedite isolation of infectious patients and their contacts, but most are less sensitive than standard-of-care reverse transcription polymerase chain reaction (RT-PCR). Data on clinical performance of the majority of emerging assays are limited with most evaluations performed on contrived or stored laboratory samples. Further evaluations of these assays are required, particularly when performed at POC on symptomatic and asymptomatic patients and at various time-points after symptom onset. A few studies have so far shown several of these assays have high specificity. However, large prospective evaluations are needed to confirm specificity, particularly before the assays are implemented in low prevalence settings or asymptomatic populations. High throughput laboratory-based testing includes the use of new sample types (e.g., saliva to increase acceptability) or innovative uses of existing technology (e.g., sample pooling). Information detailing population-wide testing strategies for SARS-COV-2 is largely missing from peer-reviewed literature. Logistics and supply chains are key considerations in any plan to 'scale up' testing in the Australian context. The strategic use of novel assays will help strike the balance between achieving adequate test numbers without overwhelming laboratory capacity. To protect testing of high-risk populations, the aims of testing with respect to the phase of the pandemic must be considered.


Subject(s)
COVID-19 Testing/methods , COVID-19/diagnosis , Australia , Humans , SARS-CoV-2
10.
NPJ Vaccines ; 5: 96, 2020.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1343456

ABSTRACT

The 'D614G' mutation (Aspartate-to-Glycine change at position 614) of the SARS-CoV-2 spike protein has been speculated to adversely affect the efficacy of most vaccines and countermeasures that target this glycoprotein, necessitating frequent vaccine matching. Virus neutralisation assays were performed using sera from ferrets which received two doses of the INO-4800 COVID-19 vaccine, and Australian virus isolates (VIC01, SA01 and VIC31) which either possess or lack this mutation but are otherwise comparable. Through this approach, supported by biomolecular modelling of this mutation and the commonly-associated P314L mutation in the RNA-dependent RNA polymerase, we have shown that there is no experimental evidence to support this speculation. We additionally demonstrate that the putative elastase cleavage site introduced by the D614G mutation is unlikely to be accessible to proteases.

11.
Angewandte Chemie ; 133(31):17239-17244, 2021.
Article in English | ProQuest Central | ID: covidwho-1315247

ABSTRACT

Severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS‐CoV‐2) has resulted in an unprecedented need for diagnostic testing that is critical in controlling the spread of COVID‐19. We propose a portable infrared spectrometer with purpose‐built transflection accessory for rapid point‐of‐care detection of COVID‐19 markers in saliva. Initially, purified virion particles were characterized with Raman spectroscopy, synchrotron infrared (IR) and AFM‐IR. A data set comprising 171 transflection infrared spectra from 29 subjects testing positive for SARS‐CoV‐2 by RT‐qPCR and 28 testing negative, was modeled using Monte Carlo Double Cross Validation with 50 randomized test and model sets. The testing sensitivity was 93 % (27/29) with a specificity of 82 % (23/28) that included positive samples on the limit of detection for RT‐qPCR. Herein, we demonstrate a proof‐of‐concept high throughput infrared COVID‐19 test that is rapid, inexpensive, portable and utilizes sample self‐collection thus minimizing the risk to healthcare workers and ideally suited to mass screening.

12.
Open Forum Infect Dis ; 8(7): ofab239, 2021 Jul.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1309620

ABSTRACT

BACKGROUND: Serological testing for severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2) complements nucleic acid tests for patient diagnosis and enables monitoring of population susceptibility to inform the coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) pandemic response. It is important to understand the reliability of assays with different antigen or antibody targets to detect humoral immunity after SARS-CoV-2 infection and to understand how antibody (Ab) binding assays compare to those detecting neutralizing antibody (nAb), particularly as we move into the era of vaccines. METHODS: We evaluated the performance of 6 commercially available enzyme-linked immunosorbent assays (ELISAs), including a surrogate virus neutralization test (sVNT), for detection of SARS-CoV-2 immunoglobulins (IgA, IgM, IgG), total or nAb. A result subset was compared with a cell culture-based microneutralization (MN) assay. We tested sera from patients with prior reverse transcription polymerase chain reaction-confirmed SARS-CoV-2 infection, prepandemic sera, and potential cross-reactive sera from patients with other non-COVID-19 acute infections. RESULTS: For sera collected >14 days post-symptom onset, the assay achieving the highest sensitivity was the Wantai total Ab at 100% (95% CI, 94.6%-100%), followed by 93.1% for Euroimmun NCP-IgG, 93.1% for GenScript sVNT, 90.3% for Euroimmun S1-IgG, 88.9% for Euroimmun S1-IgA, and 83.3% for Wantai IgM. Specificity for the best-performing assay was 99.5% for the Wantai total Ab, and for the lowest-performing assay it was 97.1% for sVNT (as per the Instructions for Use [IFU]). The Wantai Total Ab had the best agreement with MN at 98% followed by Euroimmun S1-IgA, Euro NCP-IgG, and sVNT (as per IFU) with 97%, 97% and 95%, respectively; Wantai IgM had the poorest agreement at 93%. CONCLUSIONS: Performance characteristics of the SARS-CoV-2 serology assays detecting different antibody types are consistent with those found in previously published reports. Evaluation of the surrogate virus neutralization test in comparison to the Ab binding assays and a cell culture-based neutralization assay showed good result correlation between all assays. However, correlation between the cell-based neutralization test and some assays detecting Ab's not specifically involved in neutralization was higher than with the sVNT. This study demonstrates the reliability of different assays to detect the humoral immune response following SARS-CoV-2 infection, which can be used to optimize serological test algorithms for assessing antibody responses post-SARS-CoV-2 infection or vaccination.

13.
Front Immunol ; 12: 694857, 2021.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1305648

ABSTRACT

The ongoing COVID-19 pandemic has resulted in significant global morbidity and mortality on a scale similar to the influenza pandemic of 1918. Over the course of the last few months, a number of SARS-CoV-2 variants have been identified against which vaccine-induced immune responses may be less effective. These "variants-of-concern" have garnered significant attention in the media, with discussion around their impact on the future of the pandemic and the ability of leading COVID-19 vaccines to protect against them effectively. To address concerns about emerging SARS-CoV-2 variants affecting vaccine-induced immunity, we investigated the neutralisation of representative 'G614', '501Y.V1' and '501Y.V2' virus isolates using sera from ferrets that had received prime-boost doses of the DNA vaccine, INO-4800. Neutralisation titres against G614 and 501Y.V1 were comparable, but titres against the 501Y.V2 variant were approximately 4-fold lower, similar to results reported with other nucleic acid vaccines and supported by in silico biomolecular modelling. The results confirm that the vaccine-induced neutralising antibodies generated by INO-4800 remain effective against current variants-of-concern, albeit with lower neutralisation titres against 501Y.V2 similar to other leading nucleic acid-based vaccines.


Subject(s)
COVID-19 Vaccines/immunology , COVID-19/immunology , SARS-CoV-2/physiology , Animals , Antibodies, Neutralizing/metabolism , Antibodies, Viral/metabolism , Antigenic Variation , Disease Models, Animal , Ferrets , Humans , Immunization, Secondary , Immunogenicity, Vaccine , Models, Molecular , Mutation/genetics , Spike Glycoprotein, Coronavirus/genetics , Vaccination
16.
Angew Chem Int Ed Engl ; 60(31): 17102-17107, 2021 07 26.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1245354

ABSTRACT

Severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2) has resulted in an unprecedented need for diagnostic testing that is critical in controlling the spread of COVID-19. We propose a portable infrared spectrometer with purpose-built transflection accessory for rapid point-of-care detection of COVID-19 markers in saliva. Initially, purified virion particles were characterized with Raman spectroscopy, synchrotron infrared (IR) and AFM-IR. A data set comprising 171 transflection infrared spectra from 29 subjects testing positive for SARS-CoV-2 by RT-qPCR and 28 testing negative, was modeled using Monte Carlo Double Cross Validation with 50 randomized test and model sets. The testing sensitivity was 93 % (27/29) with a specificity of 82 % (23/28) that included positive samples on the limit of detection for RT-qPCR. Herein, we demonstrate a proof-of-concept high throughput infrared COVID-19 test that is rapid, inexpensive, portable and utilizes sample self-collection thus minimizing the risk to healthcare workers and ideally suited to mass screening.


Subject(s)
COVID-19 Testing/methods , COVID-19/diagnosis , Saliva/chemistry , Animals , Chlorocebus aethiops , Cohort Studies , Discriminant Analysis , Humans , Least-Squares Analysis , Monte Carlo Method , Point-of-Care Testing , Proof of Concept Study , SARS-CoV-2 , Sensitivity and Specificity , Specimen Handling , Spectrophotometry, Infrared , Vero Cells
18.
Science of The Total Environment ; : 147469, 2021.
Article in English | ScienceDirect | ID: covidwho-1213515

ABSTRACT

In low prevalence settings the development of sensitive and specific quantitative Reverse Transcription Polymerase Chain Reaction tests to detect SARS-CoV − 2 (the virus causing COVID-19) in sewage presents the possibility of using sewage sampling as a diagnostic test for the presence of infected people in the catchment of the sampled sewer. However, the usefulness of such surveillance has not been quantified. In this study in the Australian state of Victoria between August and October 2020 the location of each known SARS-CoV − 2-infected person was determined on each day from two days before onset to 55 days after, in 46 metropolitan and rural sewer catchments sampled weekly – a total of 71 positive and 275 negative samples, and 354,155 person-days of location data. These were categorised by time since onset and distance from the sampling site. The odds of detection in sewage were between 5 and 20 times higher where known cases were present, with less effect of distance than time since onset. Using positive qRT-PCR in a sewage sample as a diagnostic test not just for viral RNA in the sample, but for the presence of known infected people in the catchment on the same day, the sensitivity was moderate (31% to 76%) and the specificity high (87% to 94%). The odds of detection were increased with increased numbers of known infected people but decreased with increased distance and time since onset. The probability of detection of the viral subgenome in sewage samples was about 10% when one known infected person was present, and this increased with higher numbers of known infected people and greater proximity to the sampling site. Sewage surveillance can be used to detect people infected with SARS-CoV − 2 in the catchment, directing a search for infectious clinical cases and other public health actions. However, detection at least eight weeks after onset may be due to existing cases rather than new ones, and, although not zero, the probability of detecting a single case is low.

19.
Commun Dis Intell (2018) ; 452021 Jan 29.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1080878

ABSTRACT

ABSTRACT: Significant reductions in the incidence of enteroviruses and noroviruses, both transmitted primarily by the faecal-oral route, were noted in 2020 compared to the previous decade, in Victoria, Australia. The enterovirus specimen positivity rate was reduced by 84.2% in 2020, while the norovirus outbreak positivity rate declined by 49.0%. The most likely explanation for these reductions is the concurrence of social restrictions, physical distancing, personal hygiene awareness and international and domestic border closures in response to the COVID-19 pandemic.


Subject(s)
COVID-19/epidemiology , Caliciviridae Infections/virology , Enterovirus , Gastroenteritis/epidemiology , Gastroenteritis/virology , Norovirus , Caliciviridae Infections/epidemiology , Enterovirus Infections/epidemiology , Enterovirus Infections/virology , Humans , Incidence , SARS-CoV-2 , Victoria/epidemiology
20.
Diagn Microbiol Infect Dis ; 99(2): 115238, 2021 Feb.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1071247

ABSTRACT

The COVID-19 pandemic has placed unprecedented global demand on laboratory supplies required for testing. Sample pooling has been investigated by laboratories as a strategy to preserve testing capacity. We evaluate the performance of Cepheid Xpert® Xpress SARS-CoV-2 RT-PCR assay for testing samples in pools of 4 and 6. Clinical samples containing SARS-CoV-2, and confirmed negative clinical samples were used to create sample pools. Clinical samples had 'neat' Xpert® E gene cycle threshold values ranging between 20 and 28 and all were detected qualitatively when contained in pools of 4 or 6 samples. For these samples, pooling had a median change in cycle threshold value of 2.0 in pools of 4, and of 2.9 in pools of 6. With the use of Cepheid Xpert® Xpress SARS-CoV-2 RT-PCR assay, pooling of 4 or 6 samples may be an effective strategy to increase testing capacity.


Subject(s)
COVID-19 Testing/methods , COVID-19/diagnosis , Clinical Laboratory Techniques/methods , Molecular Diagnostic Techniques/methods , Reverse Transcriptase Polymerase Chain Reaction/methods , Humans , Nasopharynx/virology , SARS-CoV-2/genetics , Sensitivity and Specificity
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