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1.
Front Immunol ; 13: 845969, 2022.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1775680

ABSTRACT

To control the coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) pandemic and the emergence of different variants of concern (VoCs), novel vaccines against severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2) are needed. In this study, we report the potent immunogenicity and efficacy induced in hamsters by a vaccine candidate based on a modified vaccinia virus Ankara (MVA) vector expressing a human codon optimized full-length SARS-CoV-2 spike (S) protein (MVA-S). Immunization with one or two doses of MVA-S elicited high titers of S- and receptor-binding domain (RBD)-binding IgG antibodies and neutralizing antibodies against parental SARS-CoV-2 and VoC alpha, beta, gamma, delta, and omicron. After SARS-CoV-2 challenge, MVA-S-vaccinated hamsters showed a significantly strong reduction of viral RNA and infectious virus in the lungs compared to the MVA-WT control group. Moreover, a marked reduction in lung histopathology was also observed in MVA-S-vaccinated hamsters. These results favor the use of MVA-S as a potential vaccine candidate for SARS-CoV-2 in clinical trials.


Subject(s)
COVID-19 , Animals , Antibodies, Viral , COVID-19/prevention & control , COVID-19 Vaccines , Cricetinae , Humans , SARS-CoV-2 , Spike Glycoprotein, Coronavirus/genetics , Vaccinia virus/genetics
2.
Front Immunol ; 13: 845887, 2022.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1775679

ABSTRACT

Novel safe, immunogenic, and effective vaccines are needed to control the COVID-19 pandemic, caused by SARS-CoV-2. Here, we describe the safety, robust immunogenicity, and potent efficacy elicited in rhesus macaques by a modified vaccinia virus Ankara (MVA) vector expressing a full-length SARS-CoV-2 spike (S) protein (MVA-S). MVA-S vaccination was well tolerated and induced S and receptor-binding domain (RBD)-binding IgG antibodies and neutralizing antibodies against SARS-CoV-2 and several variants of concern. S-specific IFNγ, but not IL-4, -producing cells were also elicited. After SARS-CoV-2 challenge, vaccinated animals showed a significant strong reduction of virus loads in bronchoalveolar lavages (BAL) and decreased levels in throat and nasal mucosa. Remarkably, MVA-S also protected macaques from fever and infection-induced cytokine storm. Computed tomography and histological examination of the lungs showed reduced lung pathology in MVA-S-vaccinated animals. These findings favor the use of MVA-S as a potential vaccine for SARS-CoV-2 in clinical trials.


Subject(s)
COVID-19 , Vaccinia virus , Animals , Antibodies, Viral , COVID-19/prevention & control , COVID-19 Vaccines , Humans , Macaca mulatta , Pandemics , SARS-CoV-2/genetics , Spike Glycoprotein, Coronavirus , Vaccinia virus/genetics
3.
Pharmaceuticals (Basel) ; 15(3)2022 Mar 15.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1765807

ABSTRACT

Zika virus (ZIKV) is a mosquito-borne flavivirus whose infection in pregnant women is associated with a spectrum of birth defects, which are together referred as Congenital Zika Syndrome. In addition, ZIKV can also induce Guillain-Barré syndrome, which is an autoimmune disease with neurological symptoms. The recent description of the first local infections of ZIKV in the European continent together with the expansion of one of its potential vectors, the Asian tiger mosquito (Aedes albopictus), invite us to be prepared for future outbreaks of ZIKV in this geographical region. However, the antigenic similarities of ZIKV with other flaviviruses can lead to an immune cross-reactivity with other circulating flaviviruses inducing, in some cases, flavivirus-disease exacerbation by antibody-dependent enhancement (ADE) of infection, which is a major concern for ZIKV vaccine development. Until now, West Nile virus (WNV) is the main medically relevant flavivirus circulating in the Mediterranean Basin. Therefore, anticipating the potential scenario of emergency vaccination against ZIKV in areas of Europe where WNV is endemic, in this investigation, we have evaluated the cross-reactivity between WNV and our previously developed ZIKV vaccine candidate based on modified vaccinia virus Ankara (MVA) vector expressing ZIKV structural proteins (MVA-ZIKV). To this end, mice were first immunized with MVA-ZIKV, subsequently challenged with WNV, and then, the ZIKV- and WNV-specific immune responses and protection against WNV were evaluated. Our results indicate low cross-reactivity between the MVA-ZIKV vaccine candidate and WNV and absence of ADE, supporting the safety of this ZIKV vaccine candidate in areas where the circulation of WNV is endemic.

4.
EuropePMC;
Preprint in English | EuropePMC | ID: ppcovidwho-328811

ABSTRACT

The protective efficacy of vaccines against SARS-CoV-2 infection in the brain is yet unclear. Here, in the susceptible transgenic K18-hACE2 mouse model of severe COVID-19 disease, we report a detailed spatiotemporal description of the SARS-CoV-2 infection and replication in different areas of the brain. Remarkably, SARS-CoV-2 brain replication occurs primarily in neurons, producing important neuropathological alterations such as neuronal loss, incipient signs of neuroinflammation, and vascular damage in SARS-CoV-2 infected mice. Notably, one or two doses of a modified vaccinia virus Ankara (MVA) vector expressing the SARS-CoV-2 spike (S) protein (MVA-CoV2-S) conferred full protection against SARS-CoV-2 cerebral infection, preventing virus replication in all areas of the brain and its associated damage. This protection was maintained even after SARS-CoV-2 reinfection. To our knowledge, this is the first study of a COVID-19 vaccine candidate showing 100% efficacy against SARS-CoV-2 brain infection and damage, reinforcing the use of MVA-CoV2-S as a promising vaccine candidate against SARS-CoV-2/COVID-19, worth to move forward into clinical trials.

5.
Front Immunol ; 12: 824728, 2021.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1686477

ABSTRACT

We generated an optimized COVID-19 vaccine candidate based on the modified vaccinia virus Ankara (MVA) vector expressing a full-length prefusion-stabilized SARS-CoV-2 spike (S) protein, termed MVA-CoV2-S(3P). The S(3P) protein was expressed at higher levels (2-fold) than the non-stabilized S in cells infected with the corresponding recombinant MVA viruses. One single dose of MVA-CoV2-S(3P) induced higher IgG and neutralizing antibody titers against parental SARS-CoV-2 and variants of concern than MVA-CoV2-S in wild-type C57BL/6 and in transgenic K18-hACE2 mice. In immunized C57BL/6 mice, two doses of MVA-CoV2-S or MVA-CoV2-S(3P) induced similar levels of SARS-CoV-2-specific B- and T-cell immune responses. Remarkably, a single administration of MVA-CoV2-S(3P) protected all K18-hACE2 mice from morbidity and mortality caused by SARS-CoV-2 infection, reducing SARS-CoV-2 viral loads, histopathological lesions, and levels of pro-inflammatory cytokines in the lungs. These results demonstrated that expression of a novel full-length prefusion-stabilized SARS-CoV-2 S protein by the MVA poxvirus vector enhanced immunogenicity and efficacy against SARS-CoV-2 in animal models, further supporting MVA-CoV2-S(3P) as an optimized vaccine candidate for clinical trials.


Subject(s)
COVID-19 Vaccines/immunology , COVID-19/prevention & control , SARS-CoV-2/immunology , Spike Glycoprotein, Coronavirus/immunology , Vaccines, DNA/immunology , Viral Vaccines/immunology , Aged , Angiotensin-Converting Enzyme 2/genetics , Angiotensin-Converting Enzyme 2/metabolism , Animals , Antibodies, Neutralizing/blood , Antibodies, Viral/blood , COVID-19/mortality , COVID-19 Vaccines/genetics , Cell Line, Tumor , Chick Embryo , Chlorocebus aethiops , Cytokines/analysis , Female , HeLa Cells , Humans , Male , Mice , Mice, Inbred C57BL , Mice, Transgenic , Plasmids/genetics , Spike Glycoprotein, Coronavirus/genetics , Vaccines, DNA/genetics , Vaccinia virus/immunology , Vero Cells , Viral Vaccines/genetics
6.
NPJ Vaccines ; 7(1): 17, 2022 Feb 09.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1684031

ABSTRACT

Two doses of the MVA-CoV2-S vaccine candidate expressing the SARS-CoV-2 spike (S) protein protected K18-hACE2 transgenic mice from a lethal dose of SARS-CoV-2. This vaccination regimen prevented virus replication in the lungs, reduced lung pathology, and diminished levels of pro-inflammatory cytokines. High titers of IgG antibodies against S and receptor-binding domain (RBD) proteins and of neutralizing antibodies were induced against parental virus and variants of concern, markers that correlated with protection. Similar SARS-CoV-2-specific antibody responses were observed at prechallenge and postchallenge in the two-dose regimen, while the single-dose treatment does not avoid vaccine breakthrough infection. All vaccinated animals survived infection and were also protected to SARS-CoV-2 reinfection. Furthermore, two MVA-CoV2-S doses induced long-term memory S-specific humoral and cellular immune responses in C57BL/6 mice, 6 months after immunization. The efficacy and immunological benefits of the MVA-CoV2-S vaccine candidate against COVID-19 supports its consideration for human clinical trials.

8.
Front Immunol ; 12: 748103, 2021.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1555317

ABSTRACT

COVID-19-specific vaccines are efficient prophylactic weapons against SARS-CoV-2 virus. However, boosting innate responses may represent an innovative way to immediately fight future emerging viral infections or boost vaccines. MV130 is a mucosal immunotherapy, based on a mixture of whole heat-inactivated bacteria, that has shown clinical efficacy against recurrent viral respiratory infections. Herein, we show that the prophylactic intranasal administration of this immunotherapy confers heterologous protection against SARS-CoV-2 infection in susceptible K18-hACE2 mice. Furthermore, in C57BL/6 mice, prophylactic administration of MV130 improves the immunogenicity of two different COVID-19 vaccine formulations targeting the SARS-CoV-2 spike (S) protein, inoculated either intramuscularly or intranasally. Independently of the vaccine candidate and vaccination route used, intranasal prophylaxis with MV130 boosted S-specific responses, including CD8+-T cell activation and the production of S-specific mucosal IgA antibodies. Therefore, the bacterial mucosal immunotherapy MV130 protects against SARS-CoV-2 infection and improves COVID-19 vaccines immunogenicity.


Subject(s)
Bacteria/immunology , COVID-19 Vaccines/immunology , COVID-19/prevention & control , SARS-CoV-2/immunology , Administration, Mucosal , Animals , Antibodies, Viral/immunology , CD8-Positive T-Lymphocytes/immunology , COVID-19/immunology , COVID-19 Vaccines/administration & dosage , Immunity, Heterologous , Immunity, Innate , Immunogenicity, Vaccine , Immunoglobulin A/immunology , Immunologic Factors/administration & dosage , Immunologic Factors/immunology , Mice , Vaccination
9.
Vaccines (Basel) ; 9(9)2021 Aug 27.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1374553

ABSTRACT

Development of a vaccine against HIV remains a major target goal in the field. The recent success of mRNA vaccines against the coronavirus SARS-CoV-2 is pointing out a new era of vaccine designs against pathogens. Here, we have generated two types of mRNA vaccine candidates against HIV-1; one based on unmodified vectors and the other on 1-methyl-3'-pseudouridylyl modified vectors expressing a T cell multiepitopic construct including protective conserved epitopes from HIV-1 Gag, Pol and Nef proteins (referred to as RNA-TMEP and RNA-TMEPmod, respectively) and defined their biological and immunological properties in cultured cells and in mice. In cultured cells, both mRNA vectors expressed the corresponding protein, with higher levels observed in the unmodified mRNA, leading to activated macrophages with differential induction of innate immune molecules. In mice, intranodal administration of the mRNAs induced the activation of specific T cell (CD4 and CD8) responses, and the levels were markedly enhanced after a booster immunization with the poxvirus vector MVA-TMEP expressing the same antigen. This immune activation was maintained even three months later. These findings revealed a potent combined immunization regimen able to enhance the HIV-1-specific immune responses induced by an mRNA vaccine that might be applicable to human vaccination programs with mRNA and MVA vectors.

10.
FASEB J ; 35(8): e21745, 2021 08.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1288103

ABSTRACT

Studies are needed to identify useful biomarkers to assess the severity and prognosis of COVID-19 disease, caused by severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus (SARS-CoV-2) virus. Here, we examine the levels of various plasma species of the SARS-CoV-2 host receptor, the angiotensin-converting enzyme 2 (ACE2), in patients at different phases of the infection. Human plasma ACE2 species were characterized by immunoprecipitation and western blotting employing antibodies against the ectodomain and the C-terminal domain, using a recombinant human ACE2 protein as control. In addition, changes in the cleaved and full-length ACE2 species were also examined in serum samples derived from humanized K18-hACE2 mice challenged with a lethal dose of SARS-CoV-2. ACE2 immunoreactivity was present in human plasma as several molecular mass species that probably comprise truncated (70 and 75 kDa) and full-length forms (95, 100, 130, and 170 kDa). COVID-19 patients in the acute phase of infection (n = 46) had significantly decreased levels of ACE2 full-length species, while a truncated 70-kDa form was marginally higher compared with non-disease controls (n = 26). Levels of ACE2 full-length species were in the normal range in patients after a recovery period with an interval of 58-70 days (n = 29), while the 70-kDa species decreased. Levels of the truncated ACE2 species served to discriminate between individuals infected by SARS-CoV-2 and those infected with influenza A virus (n = 17). In conclusion, specific plasma ACE2 species are altered in patients with COVID-19 and these changes normalize during the recovery phase. Alterations in ACE2 species following SARS-CoV-2 infection warrant further investigation regarding their potential usefulness as biomarkers for the disease process and to asses efficacy during vaccination.


Subject(s)
Angiotensin-Converting Enzyme 2/blood , COVID-19/blood , SARS-CoV-2 , Adult , Aged , Aged, 80 and over , Angiotensin-Converting Enzyme 2/cerebrospinal fluid , Angiotensin-Converting Enzyme 2/chemistry , Angiotensin-Converting Enzyme 2/urine , Biomarkers/blood , Brain Chemistry , Colon/chemistry , Female , Humans , Liver/chemistry , Male , Middle Aged , Saliva/chemistry
11.
J Virol ; 2021 Jan 07.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1145357

ABSTRACT

Vaccines against SARS-CoV-2, the causative agent of the COVID-19 pandemic, are urgently needed. We developed two COVID-19 vaccines based on modified vaccinia virus Ankara (MVA) vectors expressing the entire SARS-CoV-2 spike (S) protein (MVA-CoV2-S); their immunogenicity was evaluated in mice using DNA/MVA or MVA/MVA prime/boost immunizations. Both vaccines induced robust, broad and polyfunctional S-specific CD4+ (mainly Th1) and CD8+ T-cell responses, with a T effector memory phenotype. DNA/MVA immunizations elicited higher T-cell responses. All vaccine regimens triggered high titers of IgG antibodies specific for the S, as well as for the receptor-binding domain; the predominance of the IgG2c isotype was indicative of Th1 immunity. Notably, serum samples from vaccinated mice neutralized SARS-CoV-2 in cell cultures, and those from MVA/MVA immunizations showed a higher neutralizing capacity. Remarkably, one or two doses of MVA-CoV2-S protect humanized K18-hACE2 mice from a lethal dose of SARS-CoV-2. In addition, two doses of MVA-CoV2-S confer full inhibition of virus replication in the lungs. These results demonstrate the robust immunogenicity and full efficacy of MVA-based COVID-19 vaccines in animal models and support its translation to the clinic.IMPORTANCE The continuous dissemination of the novel emerging SARS-CoV-2 virus, with more than 78 million infected cases worldwide and higher than 1,700,000 deaths as of December 23, 2020, highlights the urgent need for the development of novel vaccines against COVID-19. With this aim, we have developed novel vaccine candidates based on the poxvirus modified vaccinia virus Ankara (MVA) strain expressing the full-length SARS-CoV-2 spike (S) protein, and we have evaluated their immunogenicity in mice using DNA/MVA or MVA/MVA prime/boost immunization protocols. The results showed the induction of a potent S-specific T-cell response and high titers of neutralizing antibodies. Remarkably, humanized K18-hACE2 mice immunized with one or two doses of the MVA-based vaccine were 100% protected from SARS-CoV-2 lethality. Moreover, two doses of the vaccine prevented virus replication in lungs. Our findings prove the robust immunogenicity and efficacy of MVA-based COVID-19 vaccines in animal models and support its translation to the clinic.

12.
Vaccines (Basel) ; 9(3)2021 Mar 11.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1125682

ABSTRACT

The emergence of severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus-2 (SARS-CoV-2) variants in different continents is causing a major concern in human global health. These variants have in common a higher transmissibility, becoming dominant within populations in a short time, and an accumulation of a high number of mutations in the spike (S) protein, especially within the amino terminal domain (NTD) and the receptor binding domain (RBD). These mutations have direct implications on virus infection rates through higher affinity of S RBD for the cellular angiotensin-converting enzyme-2 (ACE-2) receptor. There are also signs of enhanced virulence, re-infection frequency, and increased resistance to the action of monoclonal and polyclonal antibodies from convalescence sera and in vaccinated individuals in regions where the variants spread dominantly. In this review, we describe the different SARS-CoV-2 variants that have thus far been identified in various parts of the world with mutational changes and biological properties as well as their impact in medical countermeasures and human health.

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