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1.
EBioMedicine ; 76: 103861, 2022 Feb.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1734342

ABSTRACT

BACKGROUND: Since late 2019, SARS-CoV-2 infection has resulted in COVID-19 accompanied by diverse clinical manifestations. However, the underlying mechanism of how SARS-CoV-2 interacts with host and develops multiple symptoms is largely unexplored. METHODS: Bioinformatics analysis determined the sequence similarity between SARS-CoV-2 and human genomes. Diverse fragments of SARS-CoV-2 genome containing Human Identical Sequences (HIS) were cloned into the lentiviral vector. HEK293T, MRC5 and HUVEC were infected with laboratory-packaged lentivirus or transfected with plasmids or antagomirs for HIS. Quantitative RT-PCR and chromatin immunoprecipitation assay detected gene expression and H3K27ac enrichment, respectively. UV-Vis spectroscopy assessed the interaction between HIS and their target locus. Enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay evaluated the hyaluronan (HA) levels of culture supernatant and plasma of COVID-19 patients. FINDINGS: Five short sequences (24-27 nt length) sharing identity between SARS-CoV-2 and human genome were identified. These RNA elements were highly conserved in primates. The genomic fragments containing HIS were predicted to form hairpin structures in silico similar to miRNA precursors. HIS may function through direct genomic interaction leading to activation of host enhancers, and upregulation of adjacent and distant genes, including cytokine genes and hyaluronan synthase 2 (HAS2). HIS antagomirs and Cas13d-mediated HIS degradation reduced HAS2 expression. Severe COVID-19 patients displayed decreased lymphocytes and elevated D-dimer, and C-reactive proteins, as well as increased plasma hyaluronan. Hymecromone inhibited hyaluronan production in vitro, and thus could be further investigated as a therapeutic option for preventing severe outcome in COVID-19 patients. INTERPRETATION: HIS of SARS-CoV-2 could promote COVID-19 progression by upregulating hyaluronan, providing novel targets for treatment. FUNDING: The National Key R&D Program of China (2018YFC1005004), Major Special Projects of Basic Research of Shanghai Science and Technology Commission (18JC1411101), and the National Natural Science Foundation of China (31872814, 32000505).


Subject(s)
Gene Regulatory Networks/genetics , Genome, Human , Hyaluronic Acid/metabolism , RNA, Viral/genetics , SARS-CoV-2/genetics , Antagomirs/metabolism , Argonaute Proteins/genetics , Base Sequence , COVID-19/pathology , COVID-19/virology , Cell Line , Disease Progression , Enhancer Elements, Genetic/genetics , Humans , Hyaluronan Synthases/genetics , Hyaluronan Synthases/metabolism , Hyaluronic Acid/blood , MicroRNAs/genetics , RNA, Viral/chemistry , SARS-CoV-2/isolation & purification , SARS-CoV-2/pathogenicity , Up-Regulation
3.
EuropePMC; 2020.
Preprint in English | EuropePMC | ID: ppcovidwho-315723

ABSTRACT

The pandemic of COVID-19 caused by SARS-CoV-2 has posed serious threats to global health and economy, thus calling for the development of safe and effective vaccines. The receptor-binding domain (RBD) in the spike protein of SARS-CoV-2 is responsible for its binding to ACE2 receptor. It contains multiple dominant neutralizing epitopes and serves as an important antigen for the development of COVID-19 vaccines. Here, we showed that immunization of mice with a candidate subunit vaccine consisting of SARS-CoV-2 RBD and Fc fragment of human IgG, as an immunopotentiator, elicited high titer of RBD-specific antibodies with robust neutralizing activity against both pseudotyped and live SARS-CoV-2 infections. The mouse antisera could also effectively neutralize infection by pseudotyped SARS-CoV-2 with several natural mutations in RBD and the IgG extracted from the mouse antisera could also show neutralization against pseudotyped SARS-CoV and SARS-related coronavirus (SARSr-CoV). Vaccination of human ACE2 transgenic mice with RBD-Fc could effectively protect mice from the SARS-CoV-2 challenge. These results suggest that SARS-CoV-2 RBD-Fc has good potential to be further developed as an effective and broad-spectrum vaccine to prevent infection of the current SARS-CoV-2 and its mutants, as well as future emerging SARSr-CoVs and re-emerging SARS-CoV.

4.
EuropePMC; 2021.
Preprint in English | EuropePMC | ID: ppcovidwho-313429

ABSTRACT

Accumulating mutations on SARS-CoV-2 Spike (S) protein may increase the possibility of immune escape, challenging the present COVID-19 prophylaxis and clinical interventions. Here, in a panel of receptor binding domain (S-RBD) specific monoclonal antibodies (mAbs) with high neutralizing potency against authentic SARS-CoV-2, at least 6 of them were found to efficiently block the pseudovirus of 501Y.V2, a highly transmissible SARS-CoV-2 variant with escape mutations. The top 3 neutralizing Abs (13G9, 58G6 and 510A5) exhibited comparative ultrapotency as those being actively pursued for clinical development. Interestingly, the antigenic sites for the majority of our neutralizing Abs overlapped with a single epitope (13G9e) on S-RBD. Further, the 3-dimensional structures of 2 ultrapotent neutralizing Abs 13G9 or 58G6 in complex with SARS-CoV-2 S trimer demonstrated that both Abs bound to a steric region within S 472–490 . Moreover, a specific linear region (S 450–457 ) was identified as an additional target for 58G6. Importantly, our cryo-electron microscopy (cryo-EM) analysis revealed a unique phenomenon that the S-RBDs interacting with the fragments of antigen binding (Fabs) of 13G9 or 58G6 encoded by the IGHV1-58 and the IGKV3-20 gene segments were universally in the ‘up’ conformation in all observed particles. The potent neutralizing Abs presented in the current study may be promising candidates to fulfill the urgent needs for the current pandemic of SARS-CoV-2, and may of fundamental value for the next-generation vaccine development.

5.
EuropePMC; 2020.
Preprint in English | EuropePMC | ID: ppcovidwho-311951

ABSTRACT

After the epidemic of COVID-19, neutralizing antibodies (NAbs) against SARS-CoV-2 has been developed for the preventative and therapeutic purposes. However, few methodologies are reported in detail on how to rapidly and efficiently generate NAbs of interest. Here, we present a strategically optimized screening method for NAbs, which has enabled us to obtain SARS-CoV-2 receptor-binding domain (RBD) specific monoclonal Abs within 4 days, followed by additional 2 days to evaluate their neutralizing activities. Using this method, we obtained 198 specific Abs against SARS-CoV-2 RBD from the blood samples of COVID-19 convalescent patients, and 96 of them showed neutralizing activity. At least 20% of these NAbs exhibited high neutralizing potency. The top 2 NAbs showed the half-maximal inhibitory concentration (IC50) to block authentic SARS-CoV-2 at 9.88 and 11.13 ng/ml, respectively. Altogether, our study provides a fundamental methodology for discovering NAbs with potential preventative and therapeutic value for emerging infectious diseases.

6.
EuropePMC; 2021.
Preprint in English | EuropePMC | ID: ppcovidwho-324633

ABSTRACT

The receptor-binding domain (RBD) variants of SARS-CoV-2 could impair antibody-mediated neutralization of the virus by host immunity;thus, prospective surveillance for such antibody escape mutants is urgently needed. Here, we comprehensively profiled four antigenic sites of the RBD and mapped the binding hot spots for a panel of RBD-specific monoclonal antibodies isolated from COVID-19 convalescents, especially dominant VH3-53/3–66 antibodies, which are valuable indicators of antigenic changes in the RBD. We further demonstrated that several natural mutations, namely, K417N, F486L, N450K, L452R, E484K, F490S and R346S, significantly decreased the neutralizing activity of multiple human monoclonal antibodies and of human convalescent plasma obtained in the early stage of the COVID-19 pandemic. Of note, among the natural escape mutations, L452R enhanced ACE2 binding affinity, indicating that it potentially increased virulence. Overall, the in-depth maps may have far-reaching value for surveillance of SARS-CoV-2 immune escape variants and guidance of vaccine design.

7.
EuropePMC; 2021.
Preprint in English | EuropePMC | ID: ppcovidwho-324321

ABSTRACT

SARS-CoV-2 can remain viable on the protective face masks surface for several days. Mask touching, reuse and disposal occurs frequently, leading to increased risk of cross-contamination, infection and further transmission. Cuprous-oxide has potent virucidal properties. We determined the capacity of surgical face masks (type IIR) made with nonwoven fabric impregnated with cuprous-oxide microparticles (Test Fabric), to inactivate SARS-CoV-2 when in direct contact with the virus. The Test Fabric reduced the infectious titers of SARS-CoV-2 by 0.73, 3.02 and 4.19 log10 within 5, 30 and 60 minutes, respectively. In contrast, the infectious titers of the virus were reduced by Control Fabric by 0.24, 0.67 and 0.97 within 5, 30 and 60 minutes, respectively. The reductions were significantly higher in the Test Fabric than in the Control Fabric (0.49, 2.35 and 3.22 log difference, accordingly), reaching a statistically significant difference after 5 minutes (p < 0.01). The mask filtration properties were not affected by the presence of the cuprous oxide microparticles. We conclude that the use of cuprous-oxide containing face masks in the external layers of respiratory face masks may significantly reduce the risk of SARS-CoV-2 cross-contamination, transmission and infection, due to masks handling and disposal, especially when used by the general population.

8.
Nat Biomed Eng ; 6(3): 276-285, 2022 03.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1671563

ABSTRACT

The detection of samples at ultralow concentrations (one to ten copies in 100 µl) in biofluids is hampered by the orders-of-magnitude higher amounts of 'background' biomolecules. Here we report a molecular system, immobilized on a liquid-gated graphene field-effect transistor and consisting of an aptamer probe bound to a flexible single-stranded DNA cantilever linked to a self-assembled stiff tetrahedral double-stranded DNA structure, for the rapid and ultrasensitive electromechanical detection (down to one to two copies in 100 µl) of unamplified nucleic acids in biofluids, and also of ions, small molecules and proteins, as we show for Hg2+, adenosine 5'-triphosphate and thrombin. We implemented an electromechanical biosensor for the detection of SARS-CoV-2 into an integrated and portable prototype device, and show that it detected SARS-CoV-2 RNA in less than four minutes in all nasopharyngeal samples from 33 patients with COVID-19 (with cycle threshold values of 24.9-41.3) and in none of the 54 COVID-19-negative controls, without the need for RNA extraction or nucleic acid amplification.


Subject(s)
COVID-19 , Graphite , COVID-19/diagnosis , Humans , Ions , RNA, Viral/genetics , SARS-CoV-2/genetics
9.
Emerg Microbes Infect ; 11(1): 351-367, 2022 Dec.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1585238

ABSTRACT

The emergence of multiple severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2) variants of concern threatens the efficacy of currently approved vaccines and authorized therapeutic monoclonal antibodies (MAbs). It is hence important to continue searching for SARS-CoV-2 broadly neutralizing MAbs and defining their epitopes. Here, we isolate 9 neutralizing mouse MAbs raised against the spike protein of a SARS-CoV-2 prototype strain and evaluate their neutralizing potency towards a panel of variants, including B.1.1.7, B.1.351, B.1.617.1, and B.1.617.2. By using a combination of biochemical, virological, and cryo-EM structural analyses, we identify three types of cross-variant neutralizing MAbs, represented by S5D2, S5G2, and S3H3, respectively, and further define their epitopes. S5D2 binds the top lateral edge of the receptor-binding motif within the receptor-binding domain (RBD) with a binding footprint centred around the loop477-489, and efficiently neutralizes all variant pseudoviruses, but the potency against B.1.617.2 was observed to decrease significantly. S5G2 targets the highly conserved RBD core region and exhibits comparable neutralization towards the variant panel. S3H3 binds a previously unreported epitope located within the evolutionarily stable SD1 region and is able to near equally neutralize all of the variants tested. Our work thus defines three distinct cross-variant neutralizing sites on the SARS-CoV-2 spike protein, providing guidance for design and development of broadly effective vaccines and MAb-based therapies.


Subject(s)
COVID-19/virology , SARS-CoV-2/immunology , Spike Glycoprotein, Coronavirus/chemistry , Spike Glycoprotein, Coronavirus/immunology , Animals , Antibodies, Neutralizing/immunology , Antibodies, Viral/immunology , COVID-19/immunology , Epitope Mapping , Female , Humans , Mice , Mice, Inbred BALB C , Neutralization Tests , SARS-CoV-2/chemistry , SARS-CoV-2/genetics , Spike Glycoprotein, Coronavirus/genetics
10.
EuropePMC; 2021.
Preprint in English | EuropePMC | ID: ppcovidwho-296092

ABSTRACT

The recurrent outbreak of coronaviruses and variants underscores the need for broadly reactive antivirals and vaccines. Here, a novel broad-spectrum human antibody named 76E1 was isolated from a COVID-19 convalescent patient and showed broad neutralization activity against multiple α- and β-coronaviruses, including the SARS-CoV-2 variants and also exhibited the binding breath to peptides containing the epitope from γ- and δ- coronaviruses. 76E1 cross-protects mice from SARS-CoV-2 and HCoV-OC43 infection in both prophylactic and treatment models. The epitope including the fusion peptide and S2’ cleavage site recognized by 76E1 was significantly conserved among α-, β-, γ- and δ- coronaviruses. We uncovered a novel mechanism of antibody neutralization that the epitope of 76E1 was proportionally less exposed in the prefusion trimeric structure of spike protein but could be unmasked by binding to the receptor ACE2. Once the epitope exposed, 76E1 inhibited S2’ cleavage, thus blocked the membrane fusion process. Our data demonstrate a key epitope targeted by broadly-neutralizing antibodies and will guide next-generation epitope-based pan-coronavirus vaccine design.

11.
Genome Med ; 13(1): 164, 2021 10 14.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1542128

ABSTRACT

BACKGROUND: The receptor-binding domain (RBD) variants of SARS-CoV-2 could impair antibody-mediated neutralization of the virus by host immunity; thus, prospective surveillance of antibody escape mutants and understanding the evolution of RBD are urgently needed. METHODS: Using the single B cell cloning technology, we isolated and characterized 93 RBD-specific antibodies from the memory B cells of four COVID-19 convalescent individuals in the early stage of the pandemic. Then, global RBD alanine scanning with a panel of 19 selected neutralizing antibodies (NAbs), including several broadly reactive NAbs, was performed. Furthermore, we assessed the impact of single natural mutation or co-mutations of concern at key positions of RBD on the neutralization escape and ACE2 binding function by recombinant proteins and pseudoviruses. RESULTS: Thirty-three amino acid positions within four independent antigenic sites (1 to 4) of RBD were identified as valuable indicators of antigenic changes in the RBD. The comprehensive escape mutation map not only confirms the widely circulating strains carrying important immune escape RBD mutations such as K417N, E484K, and L452R, but also facilitates the discovery of new immune escape-enabling mutations such as F486L, N450K, F490S, and R346S. Of note, these escape mutations could not affect the ACE2 binding affinity of RBD, among which L452R even enhanced binding. Furthermore, we showed that RBD co-mutations K417N, E484K, and N501Y present in B.1.351 appear more resistant to NAbs and human convalescent plasma from the early stage of the pandemic, possibly due to an additive effect. Conversely, double mutations E484Q and L452R present in B.1.617.1 variant show partial antibody evasion with no evidence for an additive effect. CONCLUSIONS: Our study provides a global view of the determinants for neutralizing antibody recognition, antigenic conservation, and RBD conformation. The in-depth escape maps may have value for prospective surveillance of SARS-CoV-2 immune escape variants. Special attention should be paid to the accumulation of co-mutations at distinct major antigenic sites. Finally, the new broadly reactive NAbs described here represent new potential opportunities for the prevention and treatment of COVID-19.


Subject(s)
Antibodies, Neutralizing/immunology , Antibodies, Viral/immunology , COVID-19 , Immune Evasion , Mutation , SARS-CoV-2 , Spike Glycoprotein, Coronavirus , Adult , Aged , B-Lymphocytes/immunology , COVID-19/genetics , COVID-19/immunology , Female , Humans , Immunologic Memory , Male , Middle Aged , SARS-CoV-2/genetics , SARS-CoV-2/immunology , Spike Glycoprotein, Coronavirus/genetics , Spike Glycoprotein, Coronavirus/immunology
12.
Nat Commun ; 12(1): 6304, 2021 11 02.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1500462

ABSTRACT

Accumulating mutations in the SARS-CoV-2 Spike (S) protein can increase the possibility of immune escape, challenging the present COVID-19 prophylaxis and clinical interventions. Here, 3 receptor binding domain (RBD) specific monoclonal antibodies (mAbs), 58G6, 510A5 and 13G9, with high neutralizing potency blocking authentic SARS-CoV-2 virus display remarkable efficacy against authentic B.1.351 virus. Surprisingly, structural analysis has revealed that 58G6 and 13G9 both recognize the steric region S470-495 on the RBD, overlapping the E484K mutation presented in B.1.351. Also, 58G6 directly binds to another region S450-458 in the RBD. Significantly, 58G6 and 510A5 both demonstrate prophylactic efficacy against authentic SARS-CoV-2 and B.1.351 viruses in the transgenic mice expressing human ACE2 (hACE2), protecting weight loss and reducing virus loads. Together, we have evidenced 2 potent neutralizing Abs with unique mechanism targeting authentic SARS-CoV-2 mutants, which can be promising candidates to fulfill the urgent needs for the prolonged COVID-19 pandemic.


Subject(s)
Antibodies, Neutralizing/immunology , Antibodies, Viral/immunology , COVID-19/prevention & control , SARS-CoV-2/immunology , Animals , Antibodies, Monoclonal/administration & dosage , Antibodies, Monoclonal/chemistry , Antibodies, Monoclonal/immunology , Antibodies, Neutralizing/administration & dosage , Antibodies, Neutralizing/chemistry , Antibodies, Viral/administration & dosage , Antibodies, Viral/chemistry , Binding Sites , COVID-19/pathology , COVID-19/virology , Epitopes , Humans , Mice , Mice, Transgenic , Mutation , SARS-CoV-2/genetics , Spike Glycoprotein, Coronavirus/chemistry , Spike Glycoprotein, Coronavirus/genetics , Spike Glycoprotein, Coronavirus/immunology , Viral Load/drug effects , Weight Loss/drug effects
13.
Nano Lett ; 21(22): 9450-9457, 2021 11 24.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1500414

ABSTRACT

Direct SARS-CoV-2 nucleic acid testing with fast speed and high frequency is crucial for controlling the COVID-19 pandemic. Here, direct testing of SARS-CoV-2 nucleic acid is realized by field-effect transistors (FETs) with an electro-enrichable liquid gate (LG) anchored by tetrahedral DNA nanostructures (TDNs). The applied gate bias electrostatically preconcentrates nucleic acids, while the liquid gate with TDNs provides efficient analyte recognition and signal transduction. The average diagnosis time is ∼80 s, and the limit of detection approaches 1-2 copies in 100 µL of clinical samples without nucleic acid extraction and amplification. As such, TDN-LG FETs solve the dilemma of COVID-19 testing on mass scale that diagnosis accuracy and speed undergo trade-off. In addition, TDN-LG FETs achieve unamplified 10-in-1 pooled nucleic acid testing for the first time, and the results are consistent with PCR. Thus, this technology promises on-site and wide population COVID-19 screening and ensures safe world-reopening.


Subject(s)
COVID-19 , Nanostructures , Nucleic Acids , COVID-19 Testing , DNA/genetics , Humans , Pandemics , SARS-CoV-2 , Sensitivity and Specificity
14.
Vaccine ; 39(48): 7001-7011, 2021 11 26.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1488001

ABSTRACT

COVID-19 pandemic has severely impacted the public health and social economy worldwide. A safe, effective, and affordable vaccine against SARS-CoV-2 infections/diseases is urgently needed. We have been developing a recombinant vaccine based on a prefusion-stabilized spike trimer of SARS-CoV-2 and formulated with aluminium hydroxide and CpG 7909. The spike protein was expressed in Chinese hamster ovary (CHO) cells, purified, and prepared as a stable formulation with the dual adjuvant. Immunogenicity studies showed that candidate vaccines elicited robust neutralizing antibody responses and substantial CD4+ T cell responses in both mice and non-human primates. And vaccine-induced neutralizing antibodies persisted at high level for at least 6 months. Challenge studies demonstrated that candidate vaccine reduced the viral loads and inflammation in the lungs of SARS-CoV-2 infected golden Syrian hamsters significantly. In addition, the vaccine-induced antibodies showed cross-neutralization activity against B.1.1.7 and B.1.351 variants. These data suggest candidate vaccine is efficacious in preventing SARS-CoV-2 infections and associated pneumonia, thereby justifying ongoing phase I/II clinical studies in China (NCT04982068 and NCT04990544).


Subject(s)
COVID-19 Vaccines , COVID-19 , Alum Compounds , Aluminum Hydroxide , Animals , Antibodies, Neutralizing , Antibodies, Viral , CHO Cells , Cricetinae , Cricetulus , Humans , Mice , Pandemics , SARS-CoV-2 , Spike Glycoprotein, Coronavirus/genetics
15.
J Am Chem Soc ; 143(41): 17004-17014, 2021 10 20.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1461966

ABSTRACT

Rapid screening of infected individuals from a large population is an effective means in epidemiology, especially to contain outbreaks such as COVID-19. The gold standard assays for COVID-19 diagnostics are mainly based on the reverse transcription polymerase chain reaction, which mismatches the requirements for wide-population screening due to time-consuming nucleic acid extraction and amplification procedures. Here, we report a direct nucleic acid assay by using a graphene field-effect transistor (g-FET) with Y-shaped DNA dual probes (Y-dual probes). The assay relies on Y-dual probes modified on g-FET simultaneously targeting ORF1ab and N genes of SARS-CoV-2 nucleic acid, enabling high a recognition ratio and a limit of detection (0.03 copy µL-1) 1-2 orders of magnitude lower than existing nucleic acid assays. The assay realizes the fastest nucleic acid testing (∼1 min) and achieves direct 5-in-1 pooled testing for the first time. Owing to its rapid, ultrasensitive, easily operated features as well as capability in pooled testing, it holds great promise as a comprehensive tool for population-wide screening of COVID-19 and other epidemics.


Subject(s)
DNA Probes , DNA, Viral/analysis , Nucleic Acid Amplification Techniques/methods , SARS-CoV-2/genetics , COVID-19/diagnosis , COVID-19/virology , Graphite/chemistry , Humans , Limit of Detection
19.
Sci Bull (Beijing) ; 66(9): 925-936, 2021 May 15.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1386590

ABSTRACT

The SARS-CoV-2 infection is spreading rapidly worldwide. Efficacious antiviral therapeutics against SARS-CoV-2 is urgently needed. Here, we discovered that protoporphyrin IX (PpIX) and verteporfin, two Food and Drug Administration (FDA)-approved drugs, completely inhibited the cytopathic effect produced by SARS-CoV-2 infection at 1.25 µmol/L and 0.31 µmol/L, respectively, and their EC50 values of reduction of viral RNA were at nanomolar concentrations. The selectivity indices of PpIX and verteporfin were 952.74 and 368.93, respectively, suggesting a broad margin of safety. Importantly, PpIX and verteporfin prevented SARS-CoV-2 infection in mice adenovirally transduced with human angiotensin-converting enzyme 2 (ACE2). The compounds, sharing a porphyrin ring structure, were shown to bind viral receptor ACE2 and interfere with the interaction between ACE2 and the receptor-binding domain of viral S protein. Our study suggests that PpIX and verteporfin are potent antiviral agents against SARS-CoV-2 infection and sheds new light on developing novel chemoprophylaxis and chemotherapy against SARS-CoV-2.

20.
Cell Discov ; 7(1): 71, 2021 Aug 18.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1364581

ABSTRACT

Massive production of efficacious SARS-CoV-2 vaccines is essential for controlling the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic. We report here the preclinical development of yeast-produced receptor-binding domain (RBD)-based recombinant protein SARS-CoV-2 vaccines. We found that monomeric RBD of SARS-CoV-2 could be efficiently produced as a secreted protein from transformed Pichia pastoris (P. pastoris) yeast. Yeast-derived RBD-monomer possessed functional conformation and was able to elicit protective level of neutralizing antibodies in mice. We further designed and expressed a genetically linked dimeric RBD protein in yeast. The engineered dimeric RBD was more potent than the monomeric RBD in inducing long-lasting neutralizing antibodies. Mice immunized with either monomeric RBD or dimeric RBD were effectively protected from live SARS-CoV-2 virus challenge even at 18 weeks after the last vaccine dose. Importantly, we found that the antisera raised against the RBD of a single SARS-CoV-2 prototype strain could effectively neutralize the two predominant circulating variants B.1.1.7 and B.1.351, implying broad-spectrum protective potential of the RBD-based vaccines. Our data demonstrate that yeast-derived RBD-based recombinant SARS-CoV-2 vaccines are feasible and efficacious, opening up a new avenue for rapid and cost-effective production of SARS-CoV-2 vaccines to achieve global immunization.

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