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ACS Infect Dis ; 8(4): 825-840, 2022 04 08.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1735186


FDA-approved and emergency use-authorized vaccines using new mRNA and viral-vector technology are highly effective in preventing moderate to severe disease; however, information on their long-term efficacy and protective breadth against severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 variants of concern (VOCs) is currently scarce. Here, we describe the durability and broad-spectrum VOC immunity of a prefusion-stabilized spike (S) protein adjuvanted with liquid or lyophilized CoVaccine HT in cynomolgus macaques. This recombinant subunit vaccine is highly immunogenic and induces robust spike-specific and broadly neutralizing antibody responses effective against circulating VOCs (B.1.351 [Beta], P.1 [Gamma], and B.1.617 [Delta]) for at least three months after the final boost. Protective efficacy and postexposure immunity were evaluated using a heterologous P.1 challenge nearly three months after the last immunization. Our results indicate that while immunization with both high and low S doses shorten and reduce viral loads in the upper and lower respiratory tract, a higher antigen dose is required to provide durable protection against disease as vaccine immunity wanes. Histologically, P.1 infection causes similar COVID-19-like lung pathology as seen with early pandemic isolates. Postchallenge IgG concentrations were restored to peak immunity levels, and vaccine-matched and cross-variant neutralizing antibodies were significantly elevated in immunized macaques indicating an efficient anamnestic response. Only low levels of P.1-specific neutralizing antibodies with limited breadth were observed in control (nonvaccinated but challenged) macaques, suggesting that natural infection may not prevent reinfection by other VOCs. Overall, these results demonstrate that a properly dosed and adjuvanted recombinant subunit vaccine can provide protective immunity against circulating VOCs for at least three months.

COVID-19 , SARS-CoV-2 , Adjuvants, Immunologic , Animals , Antibodies, Neutralizing , Antibodies, Viral , Antibody Formation , COVID-19/prevention & control , COVID-19 Vaccines , Humans , Macaca , Vaccines, Subunit
Nature ; 601(7893): 410-414, 2022 01.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1521758


The CVnCoV (CureVac) mRNA vaccine for severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus-2 (SARS-CoV-2) was recently evaluated in a phase 2b/3 efficacy trial in humans1. CV2CoV is a second-generation mRNA vaccine containing non-modified nucleosides but with optimized non-coding regions and enhanced antigen expression. Here we report the results of a head-to-head comparison of the immunogenicity and protective efficacy of CVnCoV and CV2CoV in non-human primates. We immunized 18 cynomolgus macaques with two doses of 12 µg lipid nanoparticle-formulated CVnCoV or CV2CoV or with sham (n = 6 per group). Compared with CVnCoV, CV2CoV induced substantially higher titres of binding and neutralizing antibodies, memory B cell responses and T cell responses as well as more potent neutralizing antibody responses against SARS-CoV-2 variants, including the Delta variant. Moreover, CV2CoV was found to be comparably immunogenic to the BNT162b2 (Pfizer) vaccine in macaques. Although CVnCoV provided partial protection against SARS-CoV-2 challenge, CV2CoV afforded more robust protection with markedly lower viral loads in the upper and lower respiratory tracts. Binding and neutralizing antibody titres were correlated with protective efficacy. These data demonstrate that optimization of non-coding regions can greatly improve the immunogenicity and protective efficacy of a non-modified mRNA SARS-CoV-2 vaccine in non-human primates.

COVID-19 Vaccines/genetics , COVID-19 Vaccines/immunology , COVID-19/prevention & control , Immunogenicity, Vaccine , Nucleosides/chemistry , Vaccines, Synthetic/genetics , Vaccines, Synthetic/immunology , /immunology , Animals , Antibodies, Neutralizing/immunology , Antibodies, Viral/immunology , COVID-19/immunology , COVID-19/virology , COVID-19 Vaccines/standards , Female , Macaca fascicularis/immunology , Male , Nucleosides/genetics , Respiratory System/immunology , Respiratory System/virology , SARS-CoV-2/immunology , T-Lymphocytes/immunology , Vaccines, Synthetic/standards , Viral Load , /standards
Nature ; 596(7872): 423-427, 2021 08.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1279884


The emergence of SARS-CoV-2 variants that partially evade neutralizing antibodies poses a threat to the efficacy of current COVID-19 vaccines1,2. The Ad26.COV2.S vaccine expresses a stabilized spike protein from the WA1/2020 strain of SARS-CoV-2, and has recently demonstrated protective efficacy against symptomatic COVID-19 in humans in several geographical regions-including in South Africa, where 95% of sequenced viruses in cases of COVID-19 were the B.1.351 variant3. Here we show that Ad26.COV2.S elicits humoral and cellular immune responses that cross-react with the B.1.351 variant and protects against B.1.351 challenge in rhesus macaques. Ad26.COV2.S induced lower binding and neutralizing antibodies against B.1.351 as compared to WA1/2020, but elicited comparable CD8 and CD4 T cell responses against the WA1/2020, B.1.351, B.1.1.7, P.1 and CAL.20C variants. B.1.351 infection of control rhesus macaques resulted in higher levels of virus replication in bronchoalveolar lavage and nasal swabs than did WA1/2020 infection. Ad26.COV2.S provided robust protection against both WA1/2020 and B.1.351, although we observed higher levels of virus in vaccinated macaques after B.1.351 challenge. These data demonstrate that Ad26.COV2.S provided robust protection against B.1.351 challenge in rhesus macaques. Our findings have important implications for vaccine control of SARS-CoV-2 variants of concern.

COVID-19 Vaccines/immunology , COVID-19/prevention & control , COVID-19/virology , Immunity, Cellular , Immunity, Humoral , Macaca mulatta/immunology , SARS-CoV-2/immunology , Animals , Antibodies, Neutralizing/immunology , Antibodies, Viral/immunology , Bronchoalveolar Lavage Fluid/virology , COVID-19/immunology , COVID-19/pathology , Female , Macaca mulatta/virology , Male , Nose/virology , SARS-CoV-2/growth & development , SARS-CoV-2/pathogenicity , T-Lymphocytes/immunology , Virus Replication