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1.
JCI Insight ; 2022 May 17.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1846631

ABSTRACT

The recent emergence of the SARS-CoV-2 Omicron variant of concern (VOC) containing a heavily mutated spike protein capable of escaping preexisting immunity identifies a continued need for interventional measures. Molnupiravir (MK-4482), an orally administered nucleoside analog, has demonstrated efficacy against earlier SARS-CoV-2 lineages and was recently approved for SARS-CoV-2 infections in high-risk adults. Here we assessed the efficacy of MK-4482 against the earlier Alpha, Beta and Delta VOCs and Omicron in the hamster COVID-19 model. Omicron replication and associated lung disease in vehicle treated hamsters was reduced compared to the earlier VOCs. MK-4482 treatment inhibited virus replication in the lungs of Alpha, Beta and Delta VOC infected hamsters. Importantly, MK-4482 profoundly inhibited virus replication in the upper and lower respiratory tract of hamsters infected with the Omicron VOC. Consistent with its mutagenic mechanism, MK-4482 treatment had a more pronounced inhibitory effect on infectious titers compared to viral RNA genome load. Histopathologic analysis showed that MK-4482 treatment caused a concomitant reduction in the level of lung disease and viral antigen load in infected hamsters across all VOCs examined. Together, our data indicate the potential of MK-4482 as an effective antiviral against known SARS-CoV-2 VOCs, especially Omicron, and likely future SARS-CoV-2 variants.

2.
Elife ; 112022 Feb 22.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1776585

ABSTRACT

Despite mass public health efforts, the SARS-CoV2 pandemic continues as of late 2021 with resurgent case numbers in many parts of the world. The emergence of SARS-CoV2 variants of concern (VoCs) and evidence that existing vaccines that were designed to protect from the original strains of SARS-CoV-2 may have reduced potency for protection from infection against these VoC is driving continued development of second-generation vaccines that can protect against multiple VoC. In this report, we evaluated an alphavirus-based replicating RNA vaccine expressing Spike proteins from the original SARS-CoV-2 Alpha strain and recent VoCs delivered in vivo via a lipid inorganic nanoparticle. Vaccination of both mice and Syrian Golden hamsters showed that vaccination induced potent neutralizing titers against each homologous VoC but reduced neutralization against heterologous challenges. Vaccinated hamsters challenged with homologous SARS-CoV2 variants exhibited complete protection from infection. In addition, vaccinated hamsters challenged with heterologous SARS-CoV-2 variants exhibited significantly reduced shedding of infectious virus. Our data demonstrate that this vaccine platform can be updated to target emergent VoCs, elicits significant protective immunity against SARS-CoV2 variants and supports continued development of this platform.


Since 2019, the SARS-CoV-2 virus has spread worldwide and caused hundreds of millions of cases of COVID-19. Vaccines were rapidly developed to protect people from becoming severely ill from the virus and decrease the risk of death. However, new variants ­ such as Alpha, Beta and Omicron ­ have emerged that the vaccines do not work as well against, contributing to the ongoing spread of the virus. One way to overcome this is to create a vaccine that can be quickly and easily updated to target new variants, like the vaccine against influenza. Many of the vaccines made against COVID-19 use a new technology to introduce the RNA sequence of the spike protein on the surface of SARS-CoV-2 into our cells. Once injected, our cells use their own machinery to build the protein, or 'antigen', so the immune system can learn how to recognize and destroy the virus. Here, Hawman et al. have renovated an RNA vaccine they made in 2020 which provides immunity against the original strain of SARS-CoV-2 in monkeys and mice. In the newer versions of the vaccine, the RNA was updated with a sequence that matches the spike protein on the Beta or Alpha variant of the virus. Both the original and updated vaccines were then administered to mice and hamsters to see how well they worked against SARS-CoV-2 infections. The experiment showed that all three vaccines caused the animals to produce antibodies that can neutralize the original, Alpha and Beta strains of the virus. Vaccinated hamsters were then infected with one of the three variants ­ either matched or mismatched to their vaccination ­ to see how much protection each vaccine provided. All the vaccines reduced the amount of virus in the animals after infection and mitigated damage in their lungs. But animals that received a vaccine which corresponded to the SARS-CoV-2 strain they were infected with had slightly better protection. These findings suggest that these vaccines work best when their RNA sequence matches the strain responsible for the infection; however, even non-matched vaccines still provide a decent degree of protection. Furthermore, the data demonstrate that the vaccine platform created by Hawman et al. can be easily updated to target new strains of SARS-CoV-2 that may emerge in the future. Recently, the Beta variant of the vaccine entered clinical trials in the United States (led by HDT Bio) to evaluate whether it can be used as a booster in previously vaccinated individuals as well as unvaccinated participants.


Subject(s)
COVID-19 , SARS-CoV-2 , Animals , Antibodies, Neutralizing , COVID-19/prevention & control , COVID-19 Vaccines , Cricetinae , Humans , Mice , RNA, Viral , SARS-CoV-2/genetics , Spike Glycoprotein, Coronavirus/metabolism , Vaccines, Synthetic
3.
Microorganisms ; 10(2)2022 Feb 10.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1706054

ABSTRACT

As the COVID-19 pandemic moves into its third year, there remains a need for additional animal models better recapitulating severe COVID to study SARS-CoV-2 pathogenesis and develop countermeasures, especially treatment options. Pigs are known intermediate hosts for many viruses with zoonotic potential and are susceptible to infection with alpha, beta and delta genera of coronaviruses. Herein, we infected young (3 weeks of age) pigs with SARS-CoV-2 using a combination of respiratory and parenteral inoculation routes. Pigs did not develop clinical disease, nor macroscopic or microscopic pathologic lesions upon SARS-CoV-2 infection. Despite occasional low levels of SARS-CoV-2 genomic RNA in the respiratory tract, subgenomic RNA and infectious virus were never found, and SARS-CoV-2-specific adaptive immune responses were not detectable over the 13-day study period. We concluded that pigs are not susceptible to productive SARS-CoV-2 infection and do not serve as a SARS-CoV-2 reservoir for zoonotic transmission.

4.
Cell Rep ; 38(11): 110515, 2022 03 15.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1705950

ABSTRACT

Human cases of SARS-CoV-2 reinfection have been documented throughout the pandemic, but are likely under-reported. In the current study, we use the Syrian hamster SARS-CoV-2 model to assess reinfection with homologous WA1 and heterologous B.1.1.7 (Alpha) and B.1.351 (Beta) SARS-CoV-2 variants over time. Upon primary infection with SARS-CoV-2 WA1, hamsters rapidly develop a strong and long-lasting humoral immune response. After reinfection with homologous and heterologous SARS-CoV-2 variants, this immune response protects hamsters from clinical disease, virus replication in the lower respiratory tract, and acute lung pathology. However, reinfection leads to SARS-CoV-2 replication in the upper respiratory tract with the potential for virus shedding. Our findings indicate that reinfection results in restricted SARS-CoV-2 replication despite substantial levels of humoral immunity, denoting the potential for transmission through reinfected asymptomatic individuals.


Subject(s)
COVID-19 , SARS-CoV-2 , Animals , Cricetinae , Humans , Mesocricetus , Nose , Reinfection
5.
EuropePMC; 2020.
Preprint in English | EuropePMC | ID: ppcovidwho-320262

ABSTRACT

The COVID-19 pandemic progresses unabated in many regions of the world. An effective antiviral against SARS-CoV-2 that could be administered orally for use following high-risk exposure would be of substantial benefit in controlling the COVID-19 pandemic. Herein, we show that MK-4482, an orally administered nucleoside analog, inhibits SARS-CoV-2 replication in the Syrian hamster model. The inhibitory effect of MK-4482 on SARS-CoV-2 replication was observed in animals when the drug was administered either beginning 12 hours before or 12 hours following infection in a high-risk exposure model. These data support the potential utility of MK-4482 to control SARS-CoV-2 infection in humans following high-risk exposure as well as for treatment of COVID-19 patients.

6.
EuropePMC;
Preprint in English | EuropePMC | ID: ppcovidwho-327298

ABSTRACT

In late 2021, the SARS-CoV-2 Omicron (B.1.1.529) variant of concern (VoC) was reported with many mutations in the viral spike protein that were predicted to enhance transmissibility and allow viral escape of neutralizing antibodies. Within weeks of the first report of B.1.1.529, this VoC has rapidly spread throughout the world, replacing previously circulating strains of SARS-CoV-2 and leading to a resurgence in COVID-19 cases even in populations with high levels of vaccine- and infection-induced immunity. Initial studies have shown that B.1.1.529 is less sensitive to protective antibody conferred by previous infections and vaccines developed against earlier lineages of SARS-CoV-2. The ability of B.1.1.529 to spread even among vaccinated populations has led to a global public health demand for updated vaccines that can confer protection against B.1.1.529. We report here the rapid development of a replicating RNA vaccine expressing the B.1.1.529 spike and show that this B.1.1.529-targeted vaccine is immunogenic in mice and hamsters. Interestingly, we found that mice previously immunized with A.1-specific vaccines failed to elevate neutralizing antibody titers against B.1.1.529 following B.1.1.529-targeted boosting, suggesting pre-existing immunity may impact the efficacy of B.1.1.529-targeted boosters. Furthermore, we found that our B.1.1.529-targeted vaccine provides superior protection compared to the ancestral A.1-targeted vaccine in hamsters challenged with the B.1.1.529 VoC after a single dose of each vaccine. One Sentence Summary Rapidly developed RNA vaccine protects against SARS-CoV-2 Omicron variant

7.
Vet Pathol ; 59(4): 673-680, 2022 Jul.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1582697

ABSTRACT

Coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19), caused by the severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2), is an emergent, amphixenotic infection that resulted in a pandemic declaration in March 2020. A rapid search for appropriate animal models of this newly emergent viral respiratory disease focused initially on traditional nonhuman primate research species. Nonhuman primate models have previously been shown to be valuable in evaluation of emerging respiratory coronaviruses with pandemic potential (ie, SARS-CoV and Middle East respiratory syndrome coronavirus). In this article, we review the pulmonary histopathologic characteristics and immunohistochemical evaluation of experimental SARS-CoV-2 infection in the rhesus macaque, pigtail macaque, African green monkey, and squirrel monkey. Our results indicate that all evaluated nonhuman primate species developed variably severe histopathologic changes typical of coronavirus respiratory disease characterized by interstitial pneumonia with or without syncytial cell formation, alveolar fibrin, and pulmonary edema that progressed to type II pneumocyte hyperplasia. Lesion distribution was multifocal, frequently subpleural, and often more severe in lower lung lobes. However, squirrel monkeys showed the least severe and least consistent lesions of the evaluated nonhuman primates. Additionally, our results highlight the disparate physical relationship between viral antigen and foci of pulmonary lesions. While classic respiratory coronaviral lesions were observed in the lungs of all nonhuman primates evaluated, none of the primates exhibited severe lesions or evidence of diffuse alveolar damage and therefore are unlikely to represent the severe form of SARS-CoV-2 infection observed in fatal human cases.


Subject(s)
COVID-19 , SARS-CoV-2 , Animals , COVID-19/veterinary , Chlorocebus aethiops , Lung/pathology , Macaca mulatta , Pandemics/veterinary
8.
EuropePMC; 2021.
Preprint in English | EuropePMC | ID: ppcovidwho-296710

ABSTRACT

Despite mass public health efforts, the SARS-CoV2 pandemic continues as of late-2021 with resurgent case numbers in many parts of the world. The emergence of SARS-CoV2 variants of concern (VoC) and evidence that existing vaccines that were designed to protect from the original strains of SARS-CoV-2 may have reduced potency for protection from infection against these VoC is driving continued development of second generation vaccines that can protect against multiple VoC. In this report, we evaluated an alphavirus-based replicating RNA vaccine expressing Spike proteins from the original SARS-CoV-2 Alpha strain and recent VoCs delivered in vivo via a lipid inorganic nanoparticle. Vaccination of both mice and Syrian Golden hamsters showed that vaccination induced potent neutralizing titers against each homologous VoC but reduced neutralization against heterologous challenges. Vaccinated hamsters challenged with homologous SARS-CoV2 variants exhibited complete protection from infection. In addition, vaccinated hamsters challenged with heterologous SARS-CoV-2 variants exhibited significantly reduced shedding of infectious virus. Our data demonstrate that this vaccine platform elicits significant protective immunity against SARS-CoV2 variants and supports continued development of this platform.

9.
EuropePMC; 2021.
Preprint in English | EuropePMC | ID: ppcovidwho-294892

ABSTRACT

Human cases of SARS-CoV-2 reinfection have been documented throughout the pandemic but are likely underreported. In the current study, we used the Syrian hamster SARS-CoV-2 model to assess reinfection with homologous (Washington WA1) and heterologous (United Kingdom B.1.1.7 (alpha) and South Africa B.1.351 (beta)) SARS-CoV-2 variants over time. Upon primary infection with SARS-CoV-2 WA1, hamsters rapidly developed a strong and long-lasting humoral immune response. Following reinfection with homologous and heterologous SARS-CoV-2 variants, this immune response protected hamsters from clinical disease, virus replication in the lower respiratory tract and acute lung pathology. However, reinfection led to SARS-CoV-2 replication in the upper respiratory tract with the potential for virus shedding. Our findings indicate that reinfection results in restricted SARS-CoV-2 replication despite substantial levels of humoral immunity, denoting the potential for transmission through reinfected asymptomatic individuals.<br><br>Funding: This study was funded by the Intramural Research Program of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases (NIAID) at the National Institutes of Health (NIH). <br><br>Declaration of Interests: The authors declare no competing interests.<br><br>Ethics Approval Statement: Work with infectious SARS-CoV-2 was approved by the Institutional Biosafety Committee (IBC) and performed in the high biocontainment facilities at Rocky Mountain Laboratories (RML), NIAID, NIH. Sample removal from high biocontainment followed IBC-approved Standard Operating Protocols (44). Animal work was approved by the Institutional Animal Care and Use Committee and performed by certified staff in an Association for Assessment and Accreditation of Laboratory Animal Care International accredited facility. Work followed the institution’s guidelines for animal use, the guidelines and basic principles in the NIH Guide for the Care and Use of Laboratory Animals, the Animal Welfare Act, United States Department of Agriculture and the United States Public Health Service Policy on Humane Care and Use of Laboratory Animals.

10.
Emerg Microbes Infect ; 10(1): 2173-2182, 2021 Dec.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1493581

ABSTRACT

The continuing emergence of SARS-CoV-2 variants calls for regular assessment to identify differences in viral replication, shedding and associated disease. In this study, we compared African green monkeys infected intranasally with either the UK B.1.1.7 (Alpha) variant or its contemporary D614G progenitor. Both variants caused mild respiratory disease with no significant differences in clinical presentation. Significantly higher levels of viral RNA and infectious virus were found in upper and lower respiratory tract samples and tissues from B.1.1.7 infected animals. Interestingly, D614G infected animals showed significantly higher levels of viral RNA and infectious virus in rectal swabs and gastrointestinal tissues. Our results indicate that B.1.1.7 infection in African green monkeys is associated with increased respiratory replication and shedding but no disease enhancement similar to human B.1.1.7 cases.


Subject(s)
COVID-19/virology , Chlorocebus aethiops/virology , Respiratory System/virology , Virus Replication , Virus Shedding , Administration, Intranasal , Animals , COVID-19/epidemiology , Gastrointestinal Tract/virology , Host Specificity , Polymorphism, Single Nucleotide , RNA, Viral/isolation & purification , Random Allocation , Rectum/virology , United Kingdom/epidemiology , Vero Cells , Viral Load
11.
mBio ; 12(4): e0150321, 2021 08 31.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1327616

ABSTRACT

Severe coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) has been associated with T cell lymphopenia, but no causal effect of T cell deficiency on disease severity has been established. To investigate the specific role of T cells in recovery from severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2) infections, we studied rhesus macaques that were depleted of either CD4+, CD8+, or both T cell subsets prior to infection. Peak virus loads were similar in all groups, but the resolution of virus in the T cell-depleted animals was slightly delayed compared to that in controls. The T cell-depleted groups developed virus-neutralizing antibody responses and class switched to IgG. When reinfected 6 weeks later, the T cell-depleted animals showed anamnestic immune responses characterized by rapid induction of high-titer virus-neutralizing antibodies, faster control of virus loads, and reduced clinical signs. These results indicate that while T cells play a role in the recovery of rhesus macaques from acute SARS-CoV-2 infections, their depletion does not induce severe disease, and T cells do not account for the natural resistance of rhesus macaques to severe COVID-19. Neither primed CD4+ nor CD8+ T cells appeared critical for immunoglobulin class switching, the development of immunological memory, or protection from a second infection. IMPORTANCE Patients with severe COVID-19 often have decreased numbers of T cells, a cell type important in fighting most viral infections. However, it is not known whether the loss of T cells contributes to severe COVID-19 or is a consequence of it. We studied rhesus macaques, which develop only mild COVID-19, similar to most humans. Experimental depletion of T cells slightly prolonged their clearance of virus, but there was no increase in disease severity. Furthermore, they were able to develop protection from a second infection and produced antibodies capable of neutralizing the virus. They also developed immunological memory, which allows a much stronger and more rapid response upon a second infection. These results suggest that T cells are not critical for recovery from acute SARS-CoV-2 infections in this model and point toward B cell responses and antibodies as the essential mediators of protection from re-exposure.


Subject(s)
Antibodies, Neutralizing/immunology , Antibodies, Viral/immunology , COVID-19/pathology , Immunologic Memory/immunology , Lymphopenia/immunology , SARS-CoV-2/immunology , Animals , CD4-Positive T-Lymphocytes/cytology , CD4-Positive T-Lymphocytes/immunology , CD8-Positive T-Lymphocytes/cytology , CD8-Positive T-Lymphocytes/immunology , COVID-19/immunology , Female , Lymphocyte Depletion/methods , Macaca mulatta/immunology , Male
12.
Vaccines (Basel) ; 9(6)2021 Jun 10.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1282654

ABSTRACT

Ebola virus (EBOV) is the cause of sporadic outbreaks of human hemorrhagic disease in Africa, and the best-characterized virus in the filovirus family. The West African epidemic accelerated the clinical development of vaccines and therapeutics, leading to licensure of vaccines and antibody-based therapeutics for human use in recent years. The most widely used vaccine is based on vesicular stomatitis virus (VSV) expressing the EBOV glycoprotein (GP) (VSV-EBOV). Due to its favorable immune cell targeting, this vaccine has also been used as a base vector for the development of second generation VSV-based vaccines against Influenza, Nipah, and Zika viruses. However, in these situations, it may be beneficial if the immunogenicity against EBOV GP is minimized to induce a better protective immune response against the other foreign immunogen. Here, we analyzed if EBOV GP can be truncated to be less immunogenic, yet still able to drive replication of the vaccine vector. We found that the EBOV GP glycan cap and the mucin-like domain are both dispensable for VSV-EBOV replication. The glycan cap, however, appears critical for mediating a protective immune response against lethal EBOV challenge in mice.

13.
Microorganisms ; 9(5)2021 May 12.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1227045

ABSTRACT

The 2019 novel coronavirus, SARS-CoV-2, first reported in December 2019, has infected over 102 million people around the world as of February 2021 and thus calls for rapid development of safe and effective interventions, namely vaccines. In our study, we evaluated a DNA vaccine against SARS-CoV-2 in the Syrian hamster model. Hamsters were vaccinated with a DNA-plasmid encoding the SARS-CoV-2 full length spike open reading frame (ORF) to induce host cells to produce spike protein and protective immune responses before exposure to infectious virus. We tested this vaccine candidate by both intranasal (IN) and intramuscular (IM) routes of administration and complexing with and without an in vivo delivery reagent. Hamsters receiving prime-boost-boost IM-only vaccinations recovered body weight quicker, had decreased lung viral loads, and increased SARS-CoV-2-specific antibody titers compared to control vaccinated animals but, surprisingly, lung pathology was as severe as sham vaccinated controls. The IM/IN combination group showed no efficacy in reducing lung virus titers or pathology. With increasing public health need for rapid and effective interventions, our data demonstrate that in some vaccine contexts, significant antibody responses and decreased viral loads may not be sufficient to prevent lung pathology.

14.
JCI Insight ; 6(10)2021 05 24.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1197299

ABSTRACT

Emerging coronaviruses from zoonotic reservoirs, including severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus (SARS-CoV), Middle East respiratory syndrome coronavirus (MERS-CoV), and severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2), have been associated with human-to-human transmission and significant morbidity and mortality. Here, we study both intradermal and intramuscular 2-dose delivery regimens of an advanced synthetic DNA vaccine candidate encoding a full-length MERS-CoV spike (S) protein, which induced potent binding and neutralizing antibodies as well as cellular immune responses in rhesus macaques. In a MERS-CoV challenge, all immunized rhesus macaques exhibited reduced clinical symptoms, lowered viral lung load, and decreased severity of pathological signs of disease compared with controls. Intradermal vaccination was dose sparing and more effective in this model at protecting animals from disease. The data support the further study of this vaccine for preventing MERS-CoV infection and transmission, including investigation of such vaccines and simplified delivery routes against emerging coronaviruses.


Subject(s)
Coronavirus Infections/veterinary , Macaca mulatta/immunology , Middle East Respiratory Syndrome Coronavirus/immunology , Vaccines, DNA/therapeutic use , Viral Vaccines/therapeutic use , Animals , Coronavirus Infections/immunology , Coronavirus Infections/prevention & control , Immunogenicity, Vaccine , Injections, Intradermal , Middle East Respiratory Syndrome Coronavirus/genetics , Spike Glycoprotein, Coronavirus/genetics , Spike Glycoprotein, Coronavirus/immunology , Vaccines, DNA/administration & dosage , Vaccines, DNA/genetics , Viral Vaccines/administration & dosage , Viral Vaccines/genetics
15.
Am J Trop Med Hyg ; 104(6): 2195-2198, 2021 04 20.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1194763

ABSTRACT

The burden on diagnostic and research laboratories to provide reliable inactivation for biological specimens to allow for safe downstream processing is high during the coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) pandemic. We provide safety data regarding commonly used chemical and physical inactivation procedures that verify their effectiveness against severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2).


Subject(s)
Detergents/pharmacology , Disinfectants/pharmacology , SARS-CoV-2/drug effects , SARS-CoV-2/radiation effects , Virus Inactivation , Humans , Laboratories , RNA, Viral/physiology , Specimen Handling/methods
16.
Nat Commun ; 12(1): 2295, 2021 04 16.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1189225

ABSTRACT

The COVID-19 pandemic progresses unabated in many regions of the world. An effective antiviral against SARS-CoV-2 that could be administered orally for use following high-risk exposure would be of substantial benefit in controlling the COVID-19 pandemic. Herein, we show that MK-4482, an orally administered nucleoside analog, inhibits SARS-CoV-2 replication in the Syrian hamster model. The inhibitory effect of MK-4482 on SARS-CoV-2 replication is observed in animals when the drug is administered either beginning 12 h before or 12 h following infection in a high-risk exposure model. These data support the potential utility of MK-4482 to control SARS-CoV-2 infection in humans following high-risk exposure as well as for treatment of COVID-19 patients.


Subject(s)
Antiviral Agents/administration & dosage , COVID-19/drug therapy , Cytidine/analogs & derivatives , Hydroxylamines/administration & dosage , SARS-CoV-2/drug effects , Virus Replication/drug effects , Administration, Oral , Animals , COVID-19/virology , Chlorocebus aethiops , Cytidine/administration & dosage , Disease Models, Animal , Humans , Mesocricetus , SARS-CoV-2/isolation & purification , SARS-CoV-2/physiology , Vero Cells
17.
Cell Rep Med ; 2(4): 100230, 2021 04 20.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1147272

ABSTRACT

The deployment of a vaccine that limits transmission and disease likely will be required to end the coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) pandemic. We recently described the protective activity of an intranasally administered chimpanzee adenovirus-vectored vaccine encoding a pre-fusion stabilized spike (S) protein (ChAd-SARS-CoV-2-S [chimpanzee adenovirus-severe acute respiratory syndrome-coronavirus-2-S]) in the upper and lower respiratory tracts of mice expressing the human angiotensin-converting enzyme 2 (ACE2) receptor. Here, we show the immunogenicity and protective efficacy of this vaccine in non-human primates. Rhesus macaques were immunized with ChAd-Control or ChAd-SARS-CoV-2-S and challenged 1 month later by combined intranasal and intrabronchial routes with SARS-CoV-2. A single intranasal dose of ChAd-SARS-CoV-2-S induces neutralizing antibodies and T cell responses and limits or prevents infection in the upper and lower respiratory tracts after SARS-CoV-2 challenge. As ChAd-SARS-CoV-2-S confers protection in non-human primates, it is a promising candidate for limiting SARS-CoV-2 infection and transmission in humans.

18.
Sci Transl Med ; 13(578)2021 01 27.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1024212

ABSTRACT

Detailed knowledge about the dynamics of severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2) infection is important for uncovering the viral and host factors that contribute to coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) pathogenesis. Old-World nonhuman primates recapitulate mild to moderate cases of COVID-19, thereby serving as important pathogenesis models. We compared African green monkeys inoculated with infectious SARS-CoV-2 or irradiated, inactivated virus to study the dynamics of virus replication throughout the respiratory tract. Genomic RNA from the animals inoculated with the irradiated virus was found to be highly stable, whereas subgenomic RNA, an indicator of viral replication, was found to degrade quickly. We combined this information with single-cell RNA sequencing of cells isolated from the lung and lung-draining mediastinal lymph nodes and developed new analysis methods for unbiased targeting of important cells in the host response to SARS-CoV-2 infection. Through detection of reads to the viral genome, we were able to determine that replication of the virus in the lungs appeared to occur mainly in pneumocytes, whereas macrophages drove the inflammatory response. Monocyte-derived macrophages recruited to the lungs, rather than tissue-resident alveolar macrophages, were most likely to be responsible for phagocytosis of infected cells and cellular debris early in infection, with their roles switching during clearance of infection. Together, our dataset provides a detailed view of the dynamics of virus replication and host responses over the course of mild COVID-19 and serves as a valuable resource to identify therapeutic targets.


Subject(s)
COVID-19/epidemiology , COVID-19/virology , Lung/virology , SARS-CoV-2/physiology , Sequence Analysis, RNA , Single-Cell Analysis , Alveolar Epithelial Cells/pathology , Alveolar Epithelial Cells/virology , Animals , Bronchoalveolar Lavage Fluid/virology , COVID-19/genetics , Chlorocebus aethiops , DNA, Viral/genetics , Female , Genome, Viral/genetics , Inflammation/pathology , Lung/pathology , Lymph Nodes/pathology , Macrophages/pathology , Macrophages/virology , Male , Mediastinum/pathology , Transcription, Genetic , Viral Load , Virus Replication
19.
Emerg Microbes Infect ; 9(1): 2673-2684, 2020 Dec.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-949517

ABSTRACT

Following emergence in late 2019, SARS-CoV-2 rapidly became pandemic and is presently responsible for millions of infections and hundreds of thousands of deaths worldwide. There is currently no approved vaccine to halt the spread of SARS-CoV-2 and only very few treatment options are available to manage COVID-19 patients. For development of preclinical countermeasures, reliable and well-characterized small animal disease models will be of paramount importance. Here we show that intranasal inoculation of SARS-CoV-2 into Syrian hamsters consistently caused moderate broncho-interstitial pneumonia, with high viral lung loads and extensive virus shedding, but animals only displayed transient mild disease. We determined the infectious dose 50 to be only five infectious particles, making the Syrian hamster a highly susceptible model for SARS-CoV-2 infection. Neither hamster age nor sex had any impact on the severity of disease or course of infection. Finally, prolonged viral persistence in interleukin 2 receptor gamma chain knockout hamsters revealed susceptibility of SARS-CoV-2 to adaptive immune control. In conclusion, the Syrian hamster is highly susceptible to SARS-CoV-2 making it a very suitable infection model for COVID-19 countermeasure development.


Subject(s)
COVID-19/etiology , Disease Models, Animal , SARS-CoV-2 , Animals , COVID-19/immunology , COVID-19/pathology , Chlorocebus aethiops , Cricetinae , Disease Susceptibility , Female , Lung/pathology , Male , Mesocricetus , RNA, Viral/analysis , Receptors, Interleukin-2/physiology , Spike Glycoprotein, Coronavirus/metabolism , Vero Cells
20.
J Antimicrob Chemother ; 76(2): 413-417, 2021 01 19.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-915872

ABSTRACT

BACKGROUND: As the causative agent of COVID-19, SARS-CoV-2 is a pathogen of immense importance to global public health. Development of innovative direct-acting antiviral agents is sorely needed to address this virus. Peptide-conjugated morpholino oligomers (PPMO) are antisense compounds composed of a phosphorodiamidate morpholino oligomer covalently conjugated to a cell-penetrating peptide. PPMO require no delivery assistance to enter cells and are able to reduce expression of targeted RNA through sequence-specific steric blocking. METHODS: Five PPMO designed against sequences of genomic RNA in the SARS-CoV-2 5'-untranslated region and a negative control PPMO of random sequence were synthesized. Each PPMO was evaluated for its effect on the viability of uninfected cells and its inhibitory effect on the replication of SARS-CoV-2 in Vero-E6 cell cultures. Cell viability was evaluated with an ATP-based method using a 48 h PPMO treatment time. Viral growth was measured with quantitative RT-PCR and TCID50 infectivity assays from experiments where cells received a 5 h PPMO treatment time. RESULTS: PPMO designed to base-pair with sequence in the 5' terminal region or the leader transcription regulatory sequence region of SARS-CoV-2 genomic RNA were highly efficacious, reducing viral titres by up to 4-6 log10 in cell cultures at 48-72 h post-infection, in a non-toxic and dose-responsive manner. CONCLUSIONS: The data indicate that PPMO have the ability to potently and specifically suppress SARS-CoV-2 growth and are promising candidates for further preclinical development.


Subject(s)
Antiviral Agents/pharmacology , COVID-19/virology , Cell-Penetrating Peptides/pharmacology , Morpholinos/pharmacology , SARS-CoV-2/drug effects , Virus Replication/drug effects , Animals , Antiviral Agents/chemistry , Cell Survival/drug effects , Cell-Penetrating Peptides/chemistry , Chlorocebus aethiops , Cytopathogenic Effect, Viral/drug effects , Morpholinos/chemistry , SARS-CoV-2/genetics , Vero Cells
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