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1.
Lancet Oncol ; 22(6): 765-778, 2021 06.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1531901

ABSTRACT

BACKGROUND: The efficacy and safety profiles of vaccines against SARS-CoV-2 in patients with cancer is unknown. We aimed to assess the safety and immunogenicity of the BNT162b2 (Pfizer-BioNTech) vaccine in patients with cancer. METHODS: For this prospective observational study, we recruited patients with cancer and healthy controls (mostly health-care workers) from three London hospitals between Dec 8, 2020, and Feb 18, 2021. Participants who were vaccinated between Dec 8 and Dec 29, 2020, received two 30 µg doses of BNT162b2 administered intramuscularly 21 days apart; patients vaccinated after this date received only one 30 µg dose with a planned follow-up boost at 12 weeks. Blood samples were taken before vaccination and at 3 weeks and 5 weeks after the first vaccination. Where possible, serial nasopharyngeal real-time RT-PCR (rRT-PCR) swab tests were done every 10 days or in cases of symptomatic COVID-19. The coprimary endpoints were seroconversion to SARS-CoV-2 spike (S) protein in patients with cancer following the first vaccination with the BNT162b2 vaccine and the effect of vaccine boosting after 21 days on seroconversion. All participants with available data were included in the safety and immunogenicity analyses. Ongoing follow-up is underway for further blood sampling after the delayed (12-week) vaccine boost. This study is registered with the NHS Health Research Authority and Health and Care Research Wales (REC ID 20/HRA/2031). FINDINGS: 151 patients with cancer (95 patients with solid cancer and 56 patients with haematological cancer) and 54 healthy controls were enrolled. For this interim data analysis of the safety and immunogenicity of vaccinated patients with cancer, samples and data obtained up to March 19, 2021, were analysed. After exclusion of 17 patients who had been exposed to SARS-CoV-2 (detected by either antibody seroconversion or a positive rRT-PCR COVID-19 swab test) from the immunogenicity analysis, the proportion of positive anti-S IgG titres at approximately 21 days following a single vaccine inoculum across the three cohorts were 32 (94%; 95% CI 81-98) of 34 healthy controls; 21 (38%; 26-51) of 56 patients with solid cancer, and eight (18%; 10-32) of 44 patients with haematological cancer. 16 healthy controls, 25 patients with solid cancer, and six patients with haematological cancer received a second dose on day 21. Of the patients with available blood samples 2 weeks following a 21-day vaccine boost, and excluding 17 participants with evidence of previous natural SARS-CoV-2 exposure, 18 (95%; 95% CI 75-99) of 19 patients with solid cancer, 12 (100%; 76-100) of 12 healthy controls, and three (60%; 23-88) of five patients with haematological cancers were seropositive, compared with ten (30%; 17-47) of 33, 18 (86%; 65-95) of 21, and four (11%; 4-25) of 36, respectively, who did not receive a boost. The vaccine was well tolerated; no toxicities were reported in 75 (54%) of 140 patients with cancer following the first dose of BNT162b2, and in 22 (71%) of 31 patients with cancer following the second dose. Similarly, no toxicities were reported in 15 (38%) of 40 healthy controls after the first dose and in five (31%) of 16 after the second dose. Injection-site pain within 7 days following the first dose was the most commonly reported local reaction (23 [35%] of 65 patients with cancer; 12 [48%] of 25 healthy controls). No vaccine-related deaths were reported. INTERPRETATION: In patients with cancer, one dose of the BNT162b2 vaccine yields poor efficacy. Immunogenicity increased significantly in patients with solid cancer within 2 weeks of a vaccine boost at day 21 after the first dose. These data support prioritisation of patients with cancer for an early (day 21) second dose of the BNT162b2 vaccine. FUNDING: King's College London, Cancer Research UK, Wellcome Trust, Rosetrees Trust, and Francis Crick Institute.


Subject(s)
COVID-19 Vaccines/therapeutic use , COVID-19/immunology , Neoplasms/immunology , Adult , Aged , Aged, 80 and over , Antibodies, Viral/blood , COVID-19/blood , COVID-19/complications , COVID-19/virology , COVID-19 Vaccines/immunology , Dose-Response Relationship, Immunologic , Female , Humans , Immunogenicity, Vaccine/immunology , London/epidemiology , Male , Middle Aged , Neoplasms/blood , Neoplasms/complications , Neoplasms/virology , Prospective Studies , SARS-CoV-2 , Wales
2.
Cytometry A ; 2021 Nov 22.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1527429

ABSTRACT

Here we consider how high-content flow cytometric methodology at appropriate scale and throughput rapidly provided meaningful biological data in our recent studies of COVID-19, which we discuss in the context of other similar investigations. In our work, high-throughput flow cytometry was instrumental to identify a consensus immune signature in COVID-19 patients, and to investigate the impact of SARS-CoV-2 exposure on patients with either solid or hematological cancers. We provide here some examples of our 'holistic' approach, in which flow cytometry data generated by lymphocyte and myelomonocyte panels were integrated with other analytical metrics, including SARS-CoV-2-specific serum antibody titers, plasma cytokine/chemokine levels, and in-depth clinical annotation. We report how selective differences between T cell subsets were revealed by a newly described flow cytometric TDS assay to distinguish actively cycling T cells in the peripheral blood. By such approaches, our and others' high-content flow cytometry studies collectively identified overt abnormalities and subtle but critical changes that discriminate the immuno-signature of COVID-19 patients from those of healthy donors and patients with non-COVID respiratory infections. Thereby, these studies offered several meaningful biomarkers of COVID-19 severity that have the potential to improve the management of patients and of hospital resources. In sum, flow cytometry provides an important means for rapidly obtaining data that can guide clinical decision-making without requiring highly expensive, sophisticated equipment, and/or "-omics" capabilities. We consider how this approach might be further developed.

3.
Cardiovasc Res ; 2021 Nov 10.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1510904

ABSTRACT

AIMS: Coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) can lead to multiorgan damage. MicroRNAs (miRNAs) in blood reflect cell activation and tissue injury. We aimed to determine the association of circulating miRNAs with COVID-19 severity and 28-day intensive care unit (ICU) mortality. METHODS AND RESULTS: We performed RNA-Seq in plasma of healthy controls (n = 11), non-severe (n = 18) and severe (n = 18) COVID-19 patients and selected 14 miRNAs according to cell- and tissue origin for measurement by reverse transcription quantitative polymerase chain reaction (RT-qPCR) in a separate cohort of mild (n = 6), moderate (n = 39) and severe (n = 16) patients. Candidates were then measured by RT-qPCR in longitudinal samples of ICU COVID-19 patients (n = 240 samples from n = 65 patients). 60 miRNAs, including platelet-, endothelial-, hepatocyte- and cardiomyocyte-derived miRNAs, were differentially expressed depending on severity, with increased miR-133a and reduced miR-122 also being associated with 28-day mortality. We leveraged mass spectrometry-based proteomics data for corresponding protein trajectories. Myocyte-derived (myomiR) miR-133a was inversely associated with neutrophil counts and positively with proteins related to neutrophil degranulation, such as myeloperoxidase. In contrast, levels of hepatocyte-derived miR-122 correlated to liver parameters and to liver-derived positive (inverse association) and negative acute phase proteins (positive association). Finally, we compared miRNAs to established markers of COVID-19 severity and outcome, i.e. SARS-CoV-2 RNAemia, age, BMI, D-dimer and troponin. Whilst RNAemia, age and troponin were better predictors of mortality, miR-133a and miR-122 showed superior classification performance for severity. In binary and triplet combinations, miRNAs improved classification performance of established markers for severity and mortality. CONCLUSION: Circulating miRNAs of different tissue origin, including several known cardiometabolic biomarkers, rise with COVID-19 severity. MyomiR miR-133a and liver-derived miR-122 also relate to 28-day mortality. MiR-133a reflects inflammation-induced myocyte damage, whilst miR-122 reflects the hepatic acute phase response. TRANSLATIONAL PERSPECTIVE: Adding biomarkers to conventional scores for illness severity and mortality could improve prognostic performance in COVID-19 patients. Circulating miRNAs are emerging as promising biomarkers with tissue specific origins but have only sparsely been investigated in COVID-19. We quantified circulating miRNAs of different tissue origin in COVID-19 patients, identifying several miRNAs of the cardiometabolic system to be associated with severity. Myocyte-derived miR-133a and liver-derived miR-122 also associated with mortality. Through longitudinal proteomics measurements, we related myomiR miR-133a release to neutrophil activation and miR-122 release to the hepatic acute phase response. Our findings highlight key pathophysiological changes and provide first evidence on the performance of miRNA biomarkers in COVID-19.

5.
Nat Commun ; 12(1): 3406, 2021 06 07.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1260941

ABSTRACT

Prognostic characteristics inform risk stratification in intensive care unit (ICU) patients with coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19). We obtained blood samples (n = 474) from hospitalized COVID-19 patients (n = 123), non-COVID-19 ICU sepsis patients (n = 25) and healthy controls (n = 30). Severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2) RNA was detected in plasma or serum (RNAemia) of COVID-19 ICU patients when neutralizing antibody response was low. RNAemia is associated with higher 28-day ICU mortality (hazard ratio [HR], 1.84 [95% CI, 1.22-2.77] adjusted for age and sex). RNAemia is comparable in performance to the best protein predictors. Mannose binding lectin 2 and pentraxin-3 (PTX3), two activators of the complement pathway of the innate immune system, are positively associated with mortality. Machine learning identified 'Age, RNAemia' and 'Age, PTX3' as the best binary signatures associated with 28-day ICU mortality. In longitudinal comparisons, COVID-19 ICU patients have a distinct proteomic trajectory associated with mortality, with recovery of many liver-derived proteins indicating survival. Finally, proteins of the complement system and galectin-3-binding protein (LGALS3BP) are identified as interaction partners of SARS-CoV-2 spike glycoprotein. LGALS3BP overexpression inhibits spike-pseudoparticle uptake and spike-induced cell-cell fusion in vitro.


Subject(s)
COVID-19/prevention & control , Critical Care/statistics & numerical data , Proteomics/methods , RNA, Viral/genetics , SARS-CoV-2/genetics , Adult , Animals , Antibodies, Neutralizing/immunology , Antigens, Neoplasm/metabolism , Biomarkers, Tumor/metabolism , C-Reactive Protein/metabolism , COVID-19/metabolism , COVID-19/virology , Female , HEK293 Cells , Humans , Kaplan-Meier Estimate , Male , Middle Aged , RNA, Viral/blood , SARS-CoV-2/metabolism , SARS-CoV-2/physiology , Serum Amyloid P-Component/metabolism , Spike Glycoprotein, Coronavirus/immunology , Spike Glycoprotein, Coronavirus/metabolism , Viral Load/immunology
6.
Front Immunol ; 12: 653974, 2021.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1202332

ABSTRACT

This study discusses substantive advances in T cell proliferation analysis, with the aim to provoke a re-evaluation of the generally-held view that Ki-67 is a reliable proliferation marker per se, and to offer a more sensitive and effective method for T cell cycle analysis, with informative examples in mouse and human settings. We summarize recent experimental work from our labs showing that, by Ki-67/DNA dual staining and refined flow cytometric methods, we were able to identify T cells in the S-G2/M phases of the cell-cycle in the peripheral blood (collectively termed "T Double S" for T cells in S-phase in Sanguine: in short "TDS" cells). Without our refinement, such cells may be excluded from conventional lymphocyte analyses. Specifically, we analyzed clonal expansion of antigen-specific CD8 T cells in vaccinated mice, and demonstrated the potential of TDS cells to reflect immune dynamics in human blood samples from healthy donors, and patients with type 1 diabetes, infectious mononucleosis, and COVID-19. The Ki-67/DNA dual staining, or TDS assay, provides a reliable approach by which human peripheral blood can be used to reflect the dynamics of human lymphocytes, rather than providing mere steady-state phenotypic snapshots. The method does not require highly sophisticated "-omics" capabilities, so it should be widely-applicable to health care in diverse settings. Furthermore, our results argue that the TDS assay can provide a window on immune dynamics in extra-lymphoid tissues, a long-sought potential of peripheral blood monitoring, for example in relation to organ-specific autoimmune diseases and infections, and cancer immunotherapy.


Subject(s)
CD8-Positive T-Lymphocytes/immunology , COVID-19/immunology , Cell Cycle/immunology , Diabetes Mellitus, Type 1/immunology , Ki-67 Antigen/immunology , Neoplasms/immunology , SARS-CoV-2/immunology , Animals , CD8-Positive T-Lymphocytes/pathology , COVID-19/pathology , COVID-19/prevention & control , COVID-19 Vaccines/immunology , COVID-19 Vaccines/therapeutic use , Diabetes Mellitus, Type 1/pathology , Diabetes Mellitus, Type 1/therapy , Humans , Mice , Neoplasms/pathology , Neoplasms/therapy
7.
Immunity ; 54(6): 1276-1289.e6, 2021 06 08.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1163900

ABSTRACT

Interaction of the SARS-CoV-2 Spike receptor binding domain (RBD) with the receptor ACE2 on host cells is essential for viral entry. RBD is the dominant target for neutralizing antibodies, and several neutralizing epitopes on RBD have been molecularly characterized. Analysis of circulating SARS-CoV-2 variants has revealed mutations arising in the RBD, N-terminal domain (NTD) and S2 subunits of Spike. To understand how these mutations affect Spike antigenicity, we isolated and characterized >100 monoclonal antibodies targeting epitopes on RBD, NTD, and S2 from SARS-CoV-2-infected individuals. Approximately 45% showed neutralizing activity, of which ∼20% were NTD specific. NTD-specific antibodies formed two distinct groups: the first was highly potent against infectious virus, whereas the second was less potent and displayed glycan-dependant neutralization activity. Mutations present in B.1.1.7 Spike frequently conferred neutralization resistance to NTD-specific antibodies. This work demonstrates that neutralizing antibodies targeting subdominant epitopes should be considered when investigating antigenic drift in emerging variants.


Subject(s)
Antibodies, Monoclonal/immunology , Antibodies, Viral/immunology , COVID-19/immunology , COVID-19/virology , Epitopes/immunology , SARS-CoV-2/immunology , Spike Glycoprotein, Coronavirus/immunology , Angiotensin-Converting Enzyme 2/chemistry , Angiotensin-Converting Enzyme 2/metabolism , Antibodies, Monoclonal/chemistry , Antibodies, Neutralizing/immunology , Antibodies, Viral/chemistry , COVID-19/diagnosis , Cross Reactions/immunology , Epitopes/chemistry , Epitopes/genetics , Humans , Models, Molecular , Mutation , Neutralization Tests , Protein Binding/immunology , Protein Conformation , Spike Glycoprotein, Coronavirus/chemistry , Spike Glycoprotein, Coronavirus/genetics , Structure-Activity Relationship
9.
Cancer Cell ; 39(2): 257-275.e6, 2021 02 08.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1009339

ABSTRACT

Given the immune system's importance for cancer surveillance and treatment, we have investigated how it may be affected by SARS-CoV-2 infection of cancer patients. Across some heterogeneity in tumor type, stage, and treatment, virus-exposed solid cancer patients display a dominant impact of SARS-CoV-2, apparent from the resemblance of their immune signatures to those for COVID-19+ non-cancer patients. This is not the case for hematological malignancies, with virus-exposed patients collectively displaying heterogeneous humoral responses, an exhausted T cell phenotype and a high prevalence of prolonged virus shedding. Furthermore, while recovered solid cancer patients' immunophenotypes resemble those of non-virus-exposed cancer patients, recovered hematological cancer patients display distinct, lingering immunological legacies. Thus, while solid cancer patients, including those with advanced disease, seem no more at risk of SARS-CoV-2-associated immune dysregulation than the general population, hematological cancer patients show complex immunological consequences of SARS-CoV-2 exposure that might usefully inform their care.


Subject(s)
COVID-19/immunology , Neoplasms/immunology , Neoplasms/virology , Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome/immunology , Adult , Aged , Aged, 80 and over , COVID-19/etiology , COVID-19/mortality , Female , Hematologic Neoplasms/immunology , Hematologic Neoplasms/mortality , Hematologic Neoplasms/therapy , Hematologic Neoplasms/virology , Humans , Immunophenotyping , Male , Middle Aged , Nasopharynx/virology , Neoplasms/mortality , Neoplasms/therapy , Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome/etiology , Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome/mortality , Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome/virology , T-Lymphocytes/virology , Virus Shedding , Young Adult
10.
Nat Med ; 26(10): 1623-1635, 2020 10.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-717130

ABSTRACT

Improved understanding and management of COVID-19, a potentially life-threatening disease, could greatly reduce the threat posed by its etiologic agent, SARS-CoV-2. Toward this end, we have identified a core peripheral blood immune signature across 63 hospital-treated patients with COVID-19 who were otherwise highly heterogeneous. The signature includes discrete changes in B and myelomonocytic cell composition, profoundly altered T cell phenotypes, selective cytokine/chemokine upregulation and SARS-CoV-2-specific antibodies. Some signature traits identify links with other settings of immunoprotection and immunopathology; others, including basophil and plasmacytoid dendritic cell depletion, correlate strongly with disease severity; while a third set of traits, including a triad of IP-10, interleukin-10 and interleukin-6, anticipate subsequent clinical progression. Hence, contingent upon independent validation in other COVID-19 cohorts, individual traits within this signature may collectively and individually guide treatment options; offer insights into COVID-19 pathogenesis; and aid early, risk-based patient stratification that is particularly beneficial in phasic diseases such as COVID-19.


Subject(s)
Antibodies, Viral/immunology , B-Lymphocytes/immunology , Coronavirus Infections/immunology , Cytokines/immunology , Dendritic Cells/immunology , Pneumonia, Viral/immunology , T-Lymphocytes/immunology , Aged , B-Lymphocyte Subsets/immunology , Basophils/immunology , Betacoronavirus , COVID-19 , Case-Control Studies , Cell Cycle , Chemokine CXCL10/immunology , Chemokines/immunology , Cohort Studies , Coronavirus Infections/blood , Disease Progression , Female , Flow Cytometry , Hospitalization , Humans , Immunologic Memory , Immunophenotyping , Interleukin-10/immunology , Interleukin-6/immunology , Leukocyte Count , Lymphocyte Activation/immunology , Male , Middle Aged , Pandemics , Pneumonia, Viral/blood , Prognosis , SARS-CoV-2 , Severity of Illness Index , T-Lymphocyte Subsets/immunology , Up-Regulation
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