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1.
biorxiv; 2023.
Preprint in English | bioRxiv | ID: ppzbmed-10.1101.2023.07.10.548406

ABSTRACT

Second-generation COVID-19 vaccines with improved immunogenicity (e.g., breadth, duration) and availability (e.g., lower costs, refrigerator stable) are needed to enhance global coverage. In this work, we formulated a clinical-stage SARS-CoV-2 receptor binding domain (RBD) virus-like particle (VLP) vaccine candidate (IVX-411) with widely available adjuvants. Specifically, we assessed the in vitro storage stability and in vivo mouse immunogenicity of IVX-411 formulated with aluminum-salt adjuvants (Alhydrogel, AH and Adjuphos, AP), without or with the TLR-9 agonist CpG-1018 (CpG), and compared these profiles to IVX-411 adjuvanted with an oil-in-water nano-emulsion (AddaVax, AV). Although IVX-411 bound both AH and AP, lower binding strength of antigen to AP was observed by Langmuir binding isotherms. Interestingly, AH- and AP-adsorbed IVX-411 had similar storage stability profiles as measured by antigen binding assays (competitive ELISAs), but the latter displayed higher pseudovirus neutralizing titers (pNT) in mice, at levels comparable to titers elicited by AV-adjuvanted IVX-411. CpG addition to alum (AP or AH) resulted in a marginal trend of improved pNTs in stressed samples only, yet did not impact the storage stability profiles of IVX-411. In contrast, previous work with AH-formulations of a monomeric RBD antigen showed greatly improved immunogenicity and decreased stability upon CpG addition to alum. At elevated temperatures (25, 37{degrees}C), IVX-411 formulated with AH or AP displayed decreased in vitro stability compared to AV-formulated IVX-411and this rank-ordering correlated with in vivo performance (mouse pNT values). This case study highlights the importance of optimizing antigen-adjuvant interactions to develop low cost, aluminum-salt adjuvanted recombinant subunit vaccine candidates.


Subject(s)
Hypotrichosis , COVID-19
2.
biorxiv; 2023.
Preprint in English | bioRxiv | ID: ppzbmed-10.1101.2023.03.19.533338

ABSTRACT

With the rapid emergence of variants of concern (VOC), the efficacy of currently licensed vaccines has reduced drastically. VOC mutations largely occur in the S1 subunit of Spike. The S2 subunit of SARS-CoV-2 is conserved and thus more likely to elicit broadly protective antibody and T-cell responses. However, the contribution of the S2 subunit in improving the overall efficacy of vaccines remains unclear. Therefore, we designed, characterized, and evaluated the immunogenicity and protective potential of a stabilized SARS-CoV-2 Receptor Binding Domain (RBD) fused to a stabilized S2. Designed immunogens were expressed as soluble proteins with significantly higher purified yield than the Spike ectodomain. Squalene-in-water emulsion (SWE) formulated fusions were highly immunogenic. S2 immunization failed to elicit a neutralizing immune response but significantly reduced lung viral titers in mice challenged with the heterologous Beta variant, while RBD-S2 fusions elicited broad neutralization including against the Clade 1a WIV-1 variant, and were highly efficacious. A lyophilized RBD-S2 fusion retained antigenicity and immunogenicity even after incubation at 37 degrees C for a month. In hamsters, SWE-formulated RBD-S2 showed enhanced immunogenicity and efficacy relative to corresponding RBD and Spike formulations.

3.
biorxiv; 2023.
Preprint in English | bioRxiv | ID: ppzbmed-10.1101.2023.01.19.524784

ABSTRACT

The rapid emergence of SARS-CoV-2 variants that evade immunity to vaccination has placed a global health imperative on the development of therapeutic countermeasures that provide broad protection against SARS-CoV-2 and related sarbecoviruses. Here, we identified extremely potent pan-sarbecovirus antibodies from non-human primates vaccinated with an AS03 adjuvanted subunit vaccine against SARS-CoV-2 that recognize conserved epitopes in the receptor binding domain (RBD) with femtomolar affinities. Longitudinal analysis revealed progressive accumulation of somatic mutation in the immunoglobulin genes of antigen-specific memory B cells for at least one year following primary vaccination. 514 monoclonal antibodies (mAbs) were generated from antigen-specific memory B cells. Antibodies isolated at 5 to 12 months following vaccination displayed greater potency and breadth, relative to those identified at 1.4 months. Notably, 15 out of 338 (~4.4%) antibodies isolated at 1.4~6 months after the primary vaccination showed extraordinary neutralization potency against SARS-CoV-2 omicron BA.1, despite the absence of BA.1 neutralization in serum. Two of them, 25F9 and 20A7, neutralized authentic clade Ia sarbecoviruses (SARS-CoV, WIV-1, SHC014) and clade Ib sarbecoviruses (SARS-CoV-2 D614G, SARS-CoV-2 BA.1, Pangolin-GD) with half-maximal inhibition concentrations of (0.85 ng/ml, 3 ng/ml, 6 ng/ml, 6 ng/ml, 42 ng/ml, 6 ng/ml) and (13 ng/ml, 2 ng/ml, 18 ng/ml, 9 ng/ml, 6 ng/ml, 345 ng/ml), respectively. Furthermore, 20A7 and 27A12 showed potent neutralization against all SARS-CoV-2 variants of concern and multiple Omicron sublineages, including BA.1, BA.2, BA.3, BA.4/5, BQ.1, BQ.1.1 and XBB variants. X-ray crystallography studies revealed the molecular basis of broad and potent neutralization through targeting conserved RBD sites. In vivo prophylactic protection of 25F9, 20A7 and 27A12 was confirmed in aged Balb/c mice. Notably, administration of 25F9 provided complete protection against SARS-CoV-2, SARS-CoV-2 BA.1, SARS-CoV, and SHC014 challenge, underscoring that these mAbs are promising pan-sarbecovirus therapeutic antibodies.


Subject(s)
Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome
4.
biorxiv; 2022.
Preprint in English | bioRxiv | ID: ppzbmed-10.1101.2022.09.14.507842

ABSTRACT

There is a continued need for sarbecovirus vaccines that can be manufactured and distributed in low- and middle-income countries (LMICs). Subunit protein vaccines are manufactured at large scales at low costs, have less stringent temperature requirements for distribution in LMICs, and several candidates have shown protection against SARS-CoV-2. We previously reported an engineered variant of the SARS-CoV-2 Spike protein receptor binding domain antigen (RBD-L452K-F490W; RBD-J) with enhanced manufacturability and immunogenicity compared to the ancestral RBD. Here, we report a second-generation engineered RBD antigen (RBD-J6) with two additional mutations to a hydrophobic cryptic epitope in the RBD core, S383D and L518D, that further improved expression titers and biophysical stability. RBD-J6 retained binding affinity to human convalescent sera and to all tested neutralizing antibodies except antibodies that target the class IV epitope on the RBD core. K18-hACE2 transgenic mice immunized with three doses of a Beta variant of RBD-J6 displayed on a virus-like particle (VLP) generated neutralizing antibodies (nAb) to nine SARS-CoV-2 variants of concern at similar levels as two doses of Comirnaty. The vaccinated mice were also protected from challenge with Alpha or Beta SARS-CoV-2. This engineered antigen could be useful for modular RBD-based subunit vaccines to enhance manufacturability and global access, or for further development of variant-specific or broadly acting booster vaccines.


Subject(s)
Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome
5.
biorxiv; 2022.
Preprint in English | bioRxiv | ID: ppzbmed-10.1101.2022.03.18.484950

ABSTRACT

Despite the remarkable efficacy of COVID-19 vaccines, waning immunity, and the emergence of SARS-CoV-2 variants such as Omicron represents a major global health challenge. Here we present data from a study in non-human primates demonstrating durable protection against the Omicron BA.1 variant induced by a subunit SARS-CoV-2 vaccine, consisting of RBD (receptor binding domain) on the I53-50 nanoparticle, adjuvanted with AS03, currently in Phase 3 clinical trial (NCT05007951). Vaccination induced robust neutralizing antibody (nAb) titers that were maintained at high levels for at least one year after two doses (Pseudovirus nAb GMT: 2207, Live-virus nAb GMT: 1964) against the ancestral strain, but not against Omicron. However, a booster dose at 6-12 months with RBD-Wu or RBD-{beta} (RBD from the Beta variant) displayed on I53-50 elicited equivalent and remarkably high neutralizing titers against the ancestral as well as the Omicron variant. Furthermore, there were substantial and persistent memory T and B cell responses reactive to Beta and Omicron variants. Importantly, vaccination resulted in protection against Omicron infection in the lung (no detectable virus in any animal) and profound suppression of viral burden in the nares (median peak viral load of 7567 as opposed to 1.3x107 copies in unvaccinated animals) at 6 weeks post final booster. Even at 6 months post vaccination, there was significant protection in the lung (with 7 out of 11 animals showing no viral load, 3 out of 11 animals showing ~20-fold lower viral load than unvaccinated controls) and rapid control of virus in the nares. These results highlight the durable cross-protective immunity elicited by the AS03-adjuvanted RBD-I53-50 nanoparticle vaccine platform.


Subject(s)
Memory Disorders , COVID-19
6.
biorxiv; 2021.
Preprint in English | bioRxiv | ID: ppzbmed-10.1101.2021.07.13.452251

ABSTRACT

Vaccines against SARS-CoV-2 have been distributed at massive scale in developed countries, and have been effective at preventing COVID-19. Access to vaccines is limited, however, in low- and middle-income countries (LMICs) due to insufficient supply, high costs, and cold storage requirements. New vaccines that can be produced in existing manufacturing facilities in LMICs, can be manufactured at low cost, and use widely available, proven, safe adjuvants like alum, would improve global immunity against SARS-CoV-2. One such protein subunit vaccine is produced by the Serum Institute of India Pvt. Ltd. and is currently in clinical testing. Two protein components, the SARS-CoV-2 receptor binding domain (RBD) and hepatitis B surface antigen virus-like particles (VLPs), are each produced in yeast, which would enable a low-cost, high-volume manufacturing process. Here, we describe the design and preclinical testing of the RBD-VLP vaccine in cynomolgus macaques. We observed titers of neutralizing antibodies (>104) above the range of protection for other licensed vaccines in non-human primates. Interestingly, addition of a second adjuvant (CpG1018) appeared to improve the cellular response while reducing the humoral response. We challenged animals with SARS-CoV-2, and observed a ~3.4 and ~2.9 log10 reduction in median viral loads in bronchoalveolar lavage and nasal mucosa, respectively, compared to sham controls. These results inform the design and formulation of current clinical COVID-19 vaccine candidates like the one described here, and future designs of RBD-based vaccines against variants of SARS-CoV-2 or other betacoronaviruses.


Subject(s)
COVID-19
7.
biorxiv; 2021.
Preprint in English | bioRxiv | ID: ppzbmed-10.1101.2021.03.15.435528

ABSTRACT

Understanding the ability of SARS-CoV-2 vaccine-elicited antibodies to neutralize and protect against emerging variants of concern and other sarbecoviruses is key for guiding vaccine development decisions and public health policies. We show that a clinical stage multivalent SARS-CoV-2 receptor-binding domain nanoparticle vaccine (SARS-CoV-2 RBD-NP) protects mice from SARS-CoV-2-induced disease after a single shot, indicating that the vaccine could allow dose-sparing. SARS-CoV-2 RBD-NP elicits high antibody titers in two non-human primate (NHP) models against multiple distinct RBD antigenic sites known to be recognized by neutralizing antibodies. We benchmarked NHP serum neutralizing activity elicited by RBD-NP against a lead prefusion-stabilized SARS-CoV-2 spike immunogen using a panel of single-residue spike mutants detected in clinical isolates as well as the B.1.1.7 and B.1.351 variants of concern. Polyclonal antibodies elicited by both vaccines are resilient to most RBD mutations tested, but the E484K substitution has similar negative consequences for neutralization, and exhibit modest but comparable neutralization breadth against distantly related sarbecoviruses. We demonstrate that mosaic and cocktail sarbecovirus RBD-NPs elicit broad sarbecovirus neutralizing activity, including against the SARS-CoV-2 B.1.351 variant, and protect mice against severe SARS-CoV challenge even in the absence of the SARS-CoV RBD in the vaccine. This study provides proof of principle that sarbecovirus RBD-NPs induce heterotypic protection and enables advancement of broadly protective sarbecovirus vaccines to the clinic.


Subject(s)
Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome
8.
biorxiv; 2021.
Preprint in English | bioRxiv | ID: ppzbmed-10.1101.2021.03.03.433558

ABSTRACT

Global containment of COVID-19 still requires accessible and affordable vaccines for low- and middle-income countries (LMICs). Recently approved vaccines provide needed interventions, albeit at prices that may limit their global access. Subunit vaccines based on recombinant proteins are suited for large-volume microbial manufacturing to yield billions of doses annually, minimizing their manufacturing costs. These types of vaccines are well-established, proven interventions with multiple safe and efficacious commercial examples. Many vaccine candidates of this type for SARS-CoV-2 rely on sequences containing the receptor-binding domain (RBD), which mediates viral entry to cells via ACE2. Here we report an engineered sequence variant of RBD that exhibits high-yield manufacturability, high-affinity binding to ACE2, and enhanced immunogenicity after a single dose in mice compared to the Wuhan-Hu-1 variant used in current vaccines. Antibodies raised against the engineered protein exhibited heterotypic binding to the RBD from two recently reported SARS-CoV-2 variants of concern (501Y.V1/V2). Presentation of the engineered RBD on a designed virus-like particle (VLP) also reduced weight loss in hamsters upon viral challenge.


Subject(s)
Weight Loss , COVID-19
9.
biorxiv; 2021.
Preprint in English | bioRxiv | ID: ppzbmed-10.1101.2021.02.10.430696

ABSTRACT

The development of a portfolio of SARS-CoV-2 vaccines to vaccinate the global population remains an urgent public health imperative. Here, we demonstrate the capacity of a subunit vaccine under clinical development, comprising the SARS-CoV-2 Spike protein receptor-binding domain displayed on a two-component protein nanoparticle (RBD-NP), to stimulate robust and durable neutralizing antibody (nAb) responses and protection against SARS-CoV-2 in non-human primates. We evaluated five different adjuvants combined with RBD-NP including Essai O/W 1849101, a squalene-in-water emulsion; AS03, an alpha-tocopherol-containing squalene-based oil-in-water emulsion used in pandemic influenza vaccines; AS37, a TLR-7 agonist adsorbed to Alum; CpG 1018-Alum (CpG-Alum), a TLR-9 agonist formulated in Alum; or Alum, the most widely used adjuvant. All five adjuvants induced substantial nAb and CD4 T cell responses after two consecutive immunizations. Durable nAb responses were evaluated for RBD-NP/AS03 immunization and the live-virus nAb response was durably maintained up to 154 days post-vaccination. AS03, CpG-Alum, AS37 and Alum groups conferred significant protection against SARS-CoV-2 infection in the pharynges, nares and in the bronchoalveolar lavage. The nAb titers were highly correlated with protection against infection. Furthermore, RBD-NP when used in conjunction with AS03 was as potent as the prefusion stabilized Spike immunogen, HexaPro. Taken together, these data highlight the efficacy of the RBD-NP formulated with clinically relevant adjuvants in promoting robust immunity against SARS-CoV-2 in non-human primates.


Subject(s)
COVID-19
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