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1.
Preprint in English | medRxiv | ID: ppmedrxiv-22279589

ABSTRACT

BACKGROUNDThe rising breakthrough infections caused by severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2) variants, especially Omicron and its sub-lineages, have raised an urgent need to develop broad-spectrum vaccines against coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19). We have developed a mosaic-type recombinant vaccine candidate, named NVSI-06-09, having immune potentials against a broad range of SARS-CoV-2 variants. METHODSAn ongoing randomized, double-blind, controlled phase 2 trial was conducted to evaluate the safety and immunogenicity of NVSI-06-09 as a booster dose in subjects aged 18 years and older from the United Arab Emirates (UAE), who had completed two or three doses of BBIBP-CorV vaccinations at least 6 months prior to the enrollment. The participants were randomly assigned with 1:1 to receive a booster dose of NVSI-06-09 or BBIBP-CorV. The primary outcomes were immunogenicity and safety against SARS-CoV-2 Omicron variant, and the exploratory outcome was cross-immunogenicity against other circulating strains. RESULTSA total of 516 participants received booster vaccination. Interim results showed a similar safety profile between NVSI-06-09 and BBIBP-CorV booster groups, with low incidence of adverse reactions of grade 1 or 2. For immunogenicity, by day 14 after the booster vaccination, the fold rises in neutralizing antibody geometric mean titers (GMTs) from baseline level elicited by NVSI-06-09 were remarkably higher than those by BBIBP-CorV against the prototype strain (19.67 vs 4.47-fold), Omicron BA.1.1 (42.35 vs 3.78-fold), BA.2 (25.09 vs 2.91-fold), BA.4 (22.42 vs 2.69-fold), and BA.5 variants (27.06 vs 4.73-fold). Similarly, the neutralizing GMTs boosted by NVSI-06-09 against Beta and Delta variants were also 6.60-fold and 7.17-fold higher than those boosted by BBIBP-CorV. CONCLUSIONSA booster dose of NVSI-06-09 was well-tolerated and elicited broad-spectrum neutralizing responses against SARS-CoV-2 prototype strain and immune-evasive variants, including Omicron and its sub-lineages. The immunogenicity of NVSI-06-09 as a booster vaccine was superior to that of BBIBP-CorV. (Funded by LIBP and BIBP of Sinopharm; ClinicalTrials.gov number, NCT05293548).

2.
China CDC Weekly ; 4:1-2, 2022.
Article in English | China CDC Weekly | ID: covidwho-1879865

ABSTRACT

On April 27, 2022, an international flight KL857 from Amsterdam, the Netherlands arrived at Pudong International Airport, Shanghai Municipality. Passengers were transferred to the quarantine hotel for a routine 14-day medical observation in Songjiang District and regularly tested for severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2). One of the passengers (a 37-year-old Chinese male) was reported positive and diagnosed as a mild case on April 29. The case set out from Uganda (flight KL535) on April 25 and transferred at Amsterdam, the Netherlands on April 26 and Seoul, the Republic of Korea (KL857) on April 27. The patient has been vaccinated in four doses against coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) (Beijing Institute of Biological Products Co., Ltd) in China and Uganda. After diagnosis, he was transferred to Shanghai Public Health Clinical Center for treatment. He recovered after treatment and was discharged on May 12. A nasopharyngeal swab from the patient was sampled on April 29 and sequenced using MGISEQ-200 (MGI TECH CO., LTD, Wuhan City, Hubei Province, China) on May 13. Genotyping analysis revealed that the patient was infected by SARS-CoV-2 variant of concern (VOC)/Omicron subvariant BA.5. The genome is most closely related to a sequence (GISAID ID: EPI_ISL_12713186) uploaded in South Africa (Figure 1) and 34 nonsynonymous mutations (T19I, A27S, G142D, V213G, G339D, S371F, S373P, S375F, T376A, D405N, R408S, K417N, N440K, L452R, S477N, T478K, E484A, F486V, Q498R, N501Y, Y505H, D614G, H655Y, N679K, P681H, N764K, D796Y, Q954H, N969K, and L24del, P25del, P26del, H69del, V70del) occurred in the spike gene matching the signature of the sublineage BA.5. The sequence of BA.5 was first uploaded to GISAID on March 15, 2022 from a patient’s nasopharyngeal and oropharyngeal swab collected on February 25 in South Africa. Together with BA.4, BA.5 has increased in prevalence in South Africa in recent weeks and has already spread to additional 19 countries in 3 months (total of 2,614 sequences submitted to GISAID);BA.5 caused a rise in the number of cases in some countries, such as Portugal, and South Africa has also reported a moderate increase in hospital admissions since late April (1). The L452R, F486V, and 69–70del mutations may impact the characteristics of BA.5 and make it appear to have a growth advantage over BA.1 and BA.2, which may mainly be driven by immune evasion (2-4). The 69–70del mutation is also responsible for S-gene target failure in polymerase chain reaction (PCR) tests, but PCR assays that include multiple gene targets will maintain accuracy for detecting this lineage (5-6). Due to the short duration of the epidemic, studies showed that the extent of vaccination and the high level of BA.2 waves in each country likely influence the emergence of BA.5 (7), but ongoing monitoring and assessment are needed to further elucidate the characteristics and impact of this lineage.

3.
Preprint in English | medRxiv | ID: ppmedrxiv-22272062

ABSTRACT

The emergence of severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2) variants with immune escape ability raises the urgent need for developing cross-neutralizing vaccines against the virus. NVSI-06-08 is a potential broad-spectrum recombinant COVID-19 vaccine that integrates the antigens from multiple SARS-CoV-2 strains into a single immunogen. Here, we evaluated the safety and immunogenicity of NVSI-06-08 as a heterologous booster dose in adults previously vaccinated with the inactivated vaccine BBIBP-CorV in a randomized, double-blind, controlled, phase 2 trial conducted in the United Arab Emirates (NCT05069129). Three groups of healthy adults over 18 years of age (600 participants per group) who had administered two doses of BBIBP-CorV 4-6-month, 7-9-month and >9-month earlier, respectively, were vaccinated with either a homologous booster of BBIBP-CorV or a heterologous booster of NVSI-06-08. The primary outcome was immunogenicity and safety of booster vaccinations. The exploratory outcome was cross-reactive immunogenicity against multiple SARS-CoV-2 variants of concerns (VOCs). The incidence of adverse reactions was low in both booster vaccinations, and the overall safety profile of heterologous boost was quite similar to that of homologous boost. Heterologous NVSI-06-08 booster was immunogenically superior to homologous booster of BBIBP-CorV. Both Neutralizing and IgG antibodies elicited by NVSI-06-08 booster were significantly higher than by the booster of BBIBP-CorV against not only SARS-CoV-2 prototype strain but also multiple VOCs. Especially, the neutralizing activity induced by NVSI-06-08 booster against the immune-evasive Beta variant was no less than that against the prototype strain, and a considerable level of neutralizing antibodies against Omicron (GMT: 367.67; 95%CI, 295.50-457.47) was induced by heterologous booster, which was substantially higher than that boosted by BBIBP-CorV (GMT: 45.03; 95%CI, 36.37-55.74). Our findings showed that NVSI-06-08 was safe and immunogenic as a booster dose following two doses of BBIBP-CorV, which was immunogenically superior to homologous boost with another dose of BBIBP-CorV. Our study also indicated that the design of hybrid antigen may provide an effective strategy for broad-spectrum vaccine developments.

4.
Preprint in English | medRxiv | ID: ppmedrxiv-21268499

ABSTRACT

BackgroundThe increased coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) breakthrough cases pose the need of booster vaccinations. In this study, we reported the safety and immunogenicity of a heterologous boost with a recombinant COVID-19 vaccine (CHO cells), named NVSI-06-07, as a third dose in participants who have previously received two doses of the inactivated vaccine (BBIBP-CorV) at pre-specified time intervals. Using homologous boost with BBIBP-CorV as control, the safety and immunogenicity of the heterologous boost with NVSI-06-07 against various SARS-CoV-2 strains, including Omicron, were characterized. MethodsThis study is a single-center, randomised, double-blinded, controlled phase 2 trial for heterologous boost of NVSI-06-07 in BBIBP-CorV recipients from the United Arab Emirates (UAE). Healthy adults (aged [≥]18 years) were enrolled and grouped by the specified prior vaccination interval of BBIBP-CorV, i.e., 1-3 months, 4-6 months or [≥]6 months, respectively, with 600 individuals per group. For each group, participants were randomly assigned at 1:1 ratio to receive either a heterologous boost of NVSI-06-07 or a homologous booster dose of BBIBP-CorV. The primary outcome was to comparatively assess the immunogenicity between heterologous and homologous boosts at 14 and 28 days post-boosting immunization, by evaluation of the geometric mean titers (GMTs) of IgG and neutralizing antibodies as well as the corresponding seroconversion rate ([≥]4-fold rise in antibody titers). The secondary outcomes were the safety profile of the boosting strategies within 30 days post vaccination. The exploratory outcome was the immune efficacy against Omicron and other variants of concern (VOCs) of SARS-CoV-2. This trial is registered with ClinicalTrials.gov, NCT05033847. FindingsA total of 1800 individuals who have received two doses of BBIBP-CorV were enrolled, of which 899 participants received a heterologous boost of NVSI-06-07 and 901 received a homologous boost for comparison. No vaccine-related serious adverse event (SAE) and no adverse events of special interest (AESI) were reported. 184 (20{middle dot}47%) participants in the heterologous boost groups and 177 (19{middle dot}64%) in the homologous boost groups reported at least one adverse reaction within 30 days. Most of the local and systemic adverse reactions reported were grades 1 (mild) or 2 (moderate), and there was no significant difference in the overall safety between heterologous and homologous boosts. Immunogenicity assays showed that the seroconversion rates in neutralizing antibodies against prototype SARS-CoV-2 elicited by heterologous boost were 89{middle dot}96% - 97{middle dot}52% on day 28 post-boosting vaccination, which was much higher than what was induced by homologous boost (36{middle dot}80% - 81{middle dot}75%). Similarly, in heterologous NVSI-06-07 booster groups, the neutralizing geometric mean titers (GMTs) against the prototype strain increased by 21{middle dot}01 - 63{middle dot}85 folds from baseline to 28 days post-boosting vaccination, whereas only 4{middle dot}20 - 16{middle dot}78 folds of increases were observed in homologous BBIBP-CorV booster group. For Omicron variant, the neutralizing antibody GMT elicited by the homologous boost of BBIBP-CorV was 37{middle dot}91 (95%CI, 30{middle dot}35-47{middle dot}35), however, a significantly higher level of neutralizing antibodies with GMT 292{middle dot}53 (95%CI, 222{middle dot}81-384{middle dot}07) was induced by the heterologous boost of NVSI-06-07, suggesting that it may serve as an effective boosting strategy combating the pandemic of Omicron. The similar results were obtained for other VOCs, including Alpha, Beta and Delta, in which the neutralizing response elicited by the heterologous boost was also significantly greater than that of the homologous boost. In the participants primed with BBIBP-CorV over 6 months, the largest increase in the neutralizing GMTs was obtained both in the heterologous and homologous boost groups, and thus the booster vaccination with over 6 months intervals was optimal. InterpretationOur findings indicated that the heterologous boost with NVSI-06-07 was safe, well-tolerated and immunogenic in adults primed with a full regimen of BBIBP-CorV. Compared to homologous boost with a third dose of BBIBP-CorV, incremental increases in immune responses were achieved by the heterologous boost with NVSI-06-07 against SARS-CoV-2 prototype strain, Omicron variant, and other VOCs. The heterologous BBIBP-CorV/NVSI-06-07 prime-boosting vaccination may be valuable in preventing the pandemic of Omicron. The optimal booster strategy was the heterologous boost with NVSI-06-07 over 6 months after a priming with two doses of BBIBP-CorV. Research in contextO_ST_ABSEvidence before this studyC_ST_ABSWe searched PubMed for clinical trials or prospective/cohort studies involving heterologous booster vaccination in non-immunocompromised population published up to Dec 25, 2021, using the term "(COVID) AND (vaccin*) AND (clinical trial OR cohort OR prospective) AND (heterologous) AND (booster OR prime-boost OR third dose)" with no language restrictions. Nine studies of heterologous prime-boost vaccinations with adenovirus-vector vaccines (ChAdOx1 nCov-19, Oxford-AstraZeneca, Ad26.COV2.S, Janssen) and mRNA vaccines (BNT162b2, Pfizer-BioNtech; mRNA1273, Moderna) were identified. The adenovirus-vector and mRNA heterologous prime-boost vaccination was found to be well tolerated and immunogenic. In individuals primed with adenovirus-vector vaccine, mRNA booster vaccination led to greater immune response than homologous boost. However, varied results were obtained on whether heterologous boost was immunogenically superior to the homologous mRNA prime-boost vaccination. Besides that, A preprint trial in population previously immunized with inactivated vaccines (CoronaVac, Sinovac Biotech) showed that the heterologous boost with adenovirus-vector vaccine (Convidecia, CanSino Biologicals) was safe and induced higher level of live-virus neutralizing antibodies than by the homogeneous boost. A pilot study reported that boosting with BNT162b2 in individuals primed with two doses of inactivated vaccines (BBIBP-CorV) was significantly more immunogenic than homologous vaccination with two-dose of BNT162b2. In addition, a preprint paper demonstrated that heterologous boost of ZF2001, a recombinant protein subunit vaccine, after CoronaVac or BBIBP-CorV vaccination potently improved the immunogenicity. But only a small size of samples was tested in this study and the live-virus neutralization was not detected. Till now, it is still lacking a formal clinical trial to evaluate the immunogenicity and safety of the heterologous prime-boost vaccination with an inactivated vaccine followed by a recombinant protein subunit-based vaccine. Added value of this studyTo our knowledge, this is the first reported result of a large-scale randomised, controlled clinical trial of heterologous prime-boost vaccination with an inactivated vaccine followed by a recombinant protein subunit vaccine. This trial demonstrated that the heterologous prime-booster vaccination with BBIBP-CorV/NVSI-06-07 is safe and immunogenic. Its immunoreactivity is similar to that of homologous vaccination with BBIBP-CorV. Compared to homologous boost, heterologous boost with NVSI-06-07 in BBIBP-CorV recipients elicited significantly higher immunogenicity not only against the SARS-CoV-2 prototype strain but also against Omicron and other variants of concern (VOCs). Implications of all the available evidenceBooster vaccination is considered an effective strategy to improve the protection efficacy of COVID-19 vaccines and control the epidemic waves of SARS-CoV-2. Data from our trial suggested that the booster vaccination of NVSI-06-07 in BBIBP-CorV recipients significantly improved the immune responses against various SARS-CoV-2 strains, including Omicron. Due to no Omicron-specific vaccine available currently, the BBIBP-CorV/NVSI-06-07 heterologous prime-boost might serve as an effective strategy combating Omicron variant. Besides that, BBIBP-CorV has been widely inoculated in population, and thus further boosting vaccination with NVSI-06-07 is valuable in preventing the COVID-19 pandemic. But further studies are needed to assess the long-term protection of BBIBP-CorV/NVSI-06-07 prime-booster vaccination.

5.
Preprint in English | bioRxiv | ID: ppbiorxiv-444111

ABSTRACT

SARS-CoV-2 and its variants are raging worldwide. Unfortunately, the global vaccination is not efficient enough to attain a vaccine-based herd-immunity and yet no special and effective drug is developed to contain the spread of the disease. Previously we have identified CD147 as a novel receptor for SARS-CoV-2 infection. Here, we demonstrated that CD147 antibody effectively inhibits infection and cytokine storm caused by SARS-CoV-2 variants. In CD147KO VeroE6 cells, infections of SARS-CoV-2, its variants (B.1.1.7, B.1.351) and pseudovirus mutants (B.1.1.7, B.1.351, B.1.525, B.1.526 (S477N), B.1.526 (E484K), P.1, P.2, B.1.617.1, B.1.617.2) were decreased. Meanwhile, CD147 antibody effectively blocked the entry of variants and pseudomutants in VeroE6 cells, and inhibited the expression of cytokines. A model of SARS-CoV-2-infected hCD147 transgenic mice was constructed, which recapitulated the features of exudative diffuse alveolar damage and dynamic immune responses of COVID-19. CD147 antibody could effectively clear the virus and alveolar exudation, resolving the pneumonia. We found the elevated level of cyclophilin A (CyPA) in plasma of severe/critical cases, and identified CyPA as the most important proinflammatory intermediate causing cytokine storm. Mechanistically, spike protein of SARS-CoV-2 bound to CD147 and initiated the JAK-STAT pathway, which induced expression of CyPA. CyPA reciprocally bound to CD147, triggered MAPK pathway and consequently mediated the expression of cytokine and chemokine. In conclusion, CD147 is a critical target for SARS-CoV-2 variants and CD147 antibody is a promising drug to control the new wave of COVID-19 epidemic.

7.
Preprint in English | bioRxiv | ID: ppbiorxiv-424622

ABSTRACT

Severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2) has caused the pandemic of coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19). Great international efforts have been put into the development of prophylactic vaccines and neutralizing antibodies. However, the knowledge about the B cell immune response induced by the SARS-CoV-2 virus is still limited. Here, we report a comprehensive characterization of the dynamics of immunoglobin heavy chain (IGH) repertoire in COVID-19 patients. By using next-generation sequencing technology, we examined the temporal changes in the landscape of the patients immunological status, and found dramatic changes in the IGH within the patients immune system after the onset of COVID-19 symptoms. Although different patients have distinct immune responses to SARS-CoV-2 infection, by employing clonotype overlap, lineage expansion and clonotype network analyses, we observed a higher clonotype overlap and substantial lineage expansion of B cell clones during 2-3 weeks of illness, which is of great importance to B-cell immune responses. Meanwhile, for preferences of V gene usage during SARS-CoV-2 infection, IGHV3-74 and IGHV4-34 and IGHV4-39 in COVID-19 patients were more abundant than that of healthy controls. Overall, we present an immunological resource for SARS-CoV-2 that could promote both therapeutic development as well as mechanistic research.

8.
Preprint in English | bioRxiv | ID: ppbiorxiv-262188

ABSTRACT

Without approved vaccines and specific treatment, severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2) is spreading around the world with above 20 million COVID-19 cases and approximately 700 thousand deaths until now. An efficacious and affordable vaccine is urgently needed. The Val308 - Gly548 of Spike protein of SARS-CoV-2 linked with Gln830 - Glu843 of Tetanus toxoid (TT peptide) (designated as S1-4) and without TT peptide (designated as S1-5), and prokaryotic expression, chromatography purification and the rational renaturation of the protein were performed. The antigenicity and immunogenicity of S1-4 protein was evaluated by Western Blotting (WB) in vitro and immune responses in mice, respectively. The protective efficiency of it was measured by virus neutralization test in Vero E6 cells with SARS-CoV-2. S1-4 protein was prepared to high homogeneity and purity by prokaryotic expression and chromatography purification. Adjuvanted with Alum, S1-4 protein stimulated a strong antibody response in immunized mice and caused a major Th2-type cellular immunity compared with S1-5 protein. Furthermore, the immunized sera could protect the Vero E6 cells from SARS-CoV-2 infection with neutralization antibody GMT 256. The candidate subunit vaccine molecule could stimulate strong humoral and Th1 and Th2-type cellular immune response in mice, giving us solid evidence that S1-4 protein could be a promising subunit vaccine candidate.

9.
Preprint in English | medRxiv | ID: ppmedrxiv-20077743

ABSTRACT

Neutralizing antibodies could be antivirals against COVID-19 pandemics. Here, we report the isolation of four human-origin monoclonal antibodies from a convalescent patient in China. All of these isolated antibodies display neutralization abilities in vitro. Two of them (B38 and H4) block the binding between RBD and vial cellular receptor ACE2. Further competition assay indicates that B38 and H4 recognize different epitopes on the RBD, which is ideal for a virus-targeting mAb-pair to avoid immune escape in the future clinical applications. Moreover, therapeutic study on the mouse model validated that these two antibodies can reduce virus titers in the infected mouse lungs. Structure of RBD-B38 complex revealed that most residues on the epitope are overlapped with the RBD-ACE2 binding interface, which explained the blocking efficacy and neutralizing capacity. Our results highlight the promise of antibody-based therapeutics and provide the structural basis of rational vaccine design. One Sentence SummaryA pair of human neutralizing monoclonal antibodies against COVID-19 compete cellular receptor binding but with different epitopes, and with post-exposure viral load reduction activity.

10.
Preprint in English | bioRxiv | ID: ppbiorxiv-971101

ABSTRACT

BackgroundThe 2019 novel coronavirus (2019-nCoV or SARS-CoV-2) has spread more rapidly than any other betacoronavirus including SARS-CoV and MERS-CoV. However, the mechanisms responsible for infection and molecular evolution of this virus remained unclear. MethodsWe collected and analyzed 120 genomic sequences of 2019-nCoV including 11 novel genomes from patients in China. Through comprehensive analysis of the available genome sequences of 2019-nCoV strains, we have tracked multiple inheritable SNPs and determined the evolution of 2019-nCoV relative to other coronaviruses. ResultsSystematic analysis of 120 genomic sequences of 2019-nCoV revealed co-circulation of two genetic subgroups with distinct SNPs markers, which can be used to trace the 2019-nCoV spreading pathways to different regions and countries. Although 2019-nCoV, human and bat SARS-CoV share high homologous in overall genome structures, they evolved into two distinct groups with different receptor entry specificities through potential recombination in the receptor binding regions. In addition, 2019-nCoV has a unique four amino acid insertion between S1 and S2 domains of the spike protein, which created a potential furin or TMPRSS2 cleavage site. ConclusionsOur studies provided comprehensive insights into the evolution and spread of the 2019-nCoV. Our results provided evidence suggesting that 2019-nCoV may increase its infectivity through the receptor binding domain recombination and a cleavage site insertion. One Sentence SummaryNovel 2019-nCoV sequences revealed the evolution and specificity of betacoronavirus with possible mechanisms of enhanced infectivity.

11.
Preprint in English | bioRxiv | ID: ppbiorxiv-939389

ABSTRACT

Severe acute respiratory syndrome CoV-2 (SARS-CoV-2) caused the Corona Virus Disease 2019 (COVID-19) cases in China has become a public health emergency of international concern (PHEIC). Based on angiotensin converting enzyme 2 (ACE2) as cell entry receptor of SARS-CoV, we used the hACE2 transgenic mice infected with SARS-CoV-2 to study the pathogenicity of the virus. Weight loss and virus replication in lung were observed in hACE2 mice infected with SARS-CoV-2. The typical histopathology was interstitial pneumonia with infiltration of significant lymphocytes and monocytes in alveolar interstitium, and accumulation of macrophages in alveolar cavities. Viral antigens were observed in the bronchial epithelial cells, alveolar macrophages and alveolar epithelia. The phenomenon was not found in wild type mice with SARS-CoV-2 infection. The pathogenicity of SARS-CoV-2 in hACE2 mice was clarified and the Kochs postulates were fulfilled as well, and the mouse model may facilitate the development of therapeutics and vaccines against SARS-CoV-2.

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