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biorxiv; 2020.
Preprint in English | bioRxiv | ID: ppzbmed-10.1101.2020.11.17.368258


The development of preventive corona virus disease (COVID)-19 vaccines is an urgent need, especially for the aging population that is most affected by the ongoing pandemic. The Janssen Ad26.COV2.S vaccine candidate is currently the only one evaluated as a single dose vaccination regimen in Phase 3 clinical studies. While the advantages of single dose vaccines, especially for use during a pandemic, are obvious, multiple doses may potentially improve magnitude and durability of immune responses. Here we assessed the immunogenicity of one- and two-dose Ad26.COV2.S vaccine regimens in adult and aged non-human primates (NHP). A second vaccine dose, administered 8 weeks post the first immunization, induced a significant increase in antigen-specific binding and neutralizing antibody responses in both adult and aged animals as compared to a single dose. In addition, in one-dose regimens neutralizing antibody responses were maintained for at least 14 weeks, providing an early indication of durable immune responses elicited by Ad26.COV2.S. Similar to what we showed previously in adult animals, Ad26.COV2.S vaccination of aged NHP induced a CD8+ T cell response and a Th1 skewed CD4+ T cell response. These data support the initiation of a two-dose Ad26.COV2.S regimen in a Phase 3 clinical trial in adults and elderly.

COVID-19 , Virus Diseases
biorxiv; 2020.
Preprint in English | bioRxiv | ID: ppzbmed-10.1101.2020.11.16.380899


Barn swallows that have crossed the sea from Southeast Asia usually appear in the Kyushu Region of Japan around March after passing through Okinawa Prefecture. When the climate becomes warmer, these birds then move further north, nesting and raising their chicks in various parts of Japan. It is worth noting that barn swallows typically nest on man-made objects, for example, the roofs of houses and barns. It is believed that this is because barn swallows protect their eggs and chicks from foreign enemies such as sparrows and crows so they build their nests in populated areas. The barn swallows behavior of using the presence of people to keep foreign enemies away shows that barn swallows are quite wise. However, it has been reported that from the spring to summer of 2020, barn swallows, nesting and raising their chicks, which were seen every year, were not found in various parts of Japan. Therefore, we investigated the relationship between peoples self-restraint from going out and the fledging of barn swallow chicks in Tokyo metropolitan during the corona virus disease 2019 (COVID-19) era. The results of the survey showed a link between peoples refraining from going out and the fledging of barn swallow chicks. Next spring of 2021, the termination of COVID-19 is an important environment for swallow chick fledging.

biorxiv; 2020.
Preprint in English | bioRxiv | ID: ppzbmed-10.1101.2020.11.05.369413


SARS-CoV-2 is a coronavirus that sparked the current COVID-19 pandemic. To stop the shattering effect of COVID-19, effective and safe vaccines, and antiviral therapies are urgently needed. To facilitate the preclinical evaluation of intervention approaches, relevant animal models need to be developed and validated. Rhesus macaques (Macaca mulatta) and cynomolgus macaques (Macaca fascicularis) are widely used in biomedical research and serve as models for SARS-CoV-2 infection. However, differences in study design make it difficult to compare and understand potential species-related differences. Here, we directly compared the course of SARS-CoV-2 infection in the two genetically closely-related macaque species. After inoculation with a low passage SARS-CoV-2 isolate, clinical, virological, and immunological characteristics were monitored. Both species showed slightly elevated body temperatures in the first days after exposure while a decrease in physical activity was only observed in the rhesus macaques and not in cynomolgus macaques. The virus was quantified in tracheal, nasal, and anal swabs, and in blood samples by qRT-PCR, and showed high similarity between the two species. Immunoglobulins were detected by various enzyme-linked immunosorbent assays (ELISAs) and showed seroconversion in all animals by day 10 post-infection. The cytokine responses were highly comparable between species and computed tomography (CT) imaging revealed pulmonary lesions in all animals. Consequently, we concluded that both rhesus and cynomolgus macaques represent valid models for evaluation of COVID-19 vaccine and antiviral candidates in a preclinical setting.

Lung Diseases , COVID-19