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1.
Vet Pathol ; 59(4): 648-660, 2022 07.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1832989

ABSTRACT

There is a need to standardize pathologic endpoints in animal models of SARS-CoV-2 infection to help benchmark study quality, improve cross-institutional comparison of data, and assess therapeutic efficacy so that potential drugs and vaccines for SARS-CoV-2 can rapidly advance. The Syrian hamster model is a tractable small animal model for COVID-19 that models clinical disease in humans. Using the hamster model, the authors used traditional pathologic assessment with quantitative image analysis to assess disease outcomes in hamsters administered polyclonal immune sera from previously challenged rhesus macaques. The authors then used quantitative image analysis to assess pathologic endpoints across studies performed at different institutions using different tissue processing protocols. The authors detail pathological features of SARS-CoV-2 infection longitudinally and use immunohistochemistry to quantify myeloid cells and T lymphocyte infiltrates during SARS-CoV-2 infection. High-dose immune sera protected hamsters from weight loss and diminished viral replication in tissues and reduced lung lesions. Cumulative pathology scoring correlated with weight loss and was robust in distinguishing IgG efficacy. In formalin-infused lungs, quantitative measurement of percent area affected also correlated with weight loss but was less robust in non-formalin-infused lungs. Longitudinal immunohistochemical assessment of interstitial macrophage infiltrates showed that peak infiltration corresponded to weight loss, yet quantitative assessment of macrophage, neutrophil, and CD3+ T lymphocyte numbers did not distinguish IgG treatment effects. Here, the authors show that quantitative image analysis was a useful adjunct tool for assessing SARS-CoV-2 treatment outcomes in the hamster model.


Subject(s)
COVID-19 , Rodent Diseases , Animals , COVID-19/veterinary , COVID-19 Vaccines , Cricetinae , Disease Models, Animal , Humans , Immune Sera , Immunoglobulin G , Lung/pathology , Macaca mulatta , Mesocricetus , Rodent Diseases/pathology , SARS-CoV-2 , Weight Loss
2.
Cell ; 185(9): 1549-1555.e11, 2022 04 28.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1748149

ABSTRACT

The rapid spread of the SARS-CoV-2 Omicron (B.1.1.529) variant, including in highly vaccinated populations, has raised important questions about the efficacy of current vaccines. In this study, we show that the mRNA-based BNT162b2 vaccine and the adenovirus-vector-based Ad26.COV2.S vaccine provide robust protection against high-dose challenge with the SARS-CoV-2 Omicron variant in cynomolgus macaques. We vaccinated 30 macaques with homologous and heterologous prime-boost regimens with BNT162b2 and Ad26.COV2.S. Following Omicron challenge, vaccinated macaques demonstrated rapid control of virus in bronchoalveolar lavage, and most vaccinated animals also controlled virus in nasal swabs. However, 4 vaccinated animals that had moderate Omicron-neutralizing antibody titers and undetectable Omicron CD8+ T cell responses failed to control virus in the upper respiratory tract. Moreover, virologic control correlated with both antibody and T cell responses. These data suggest that both humoral and cellular immune responses contribute to vaccine protection against a highly mutated SARS-CoV-2 variant.


Subject(s)
Ad26COVS1/immunology , BNT162 Vaccine/immunology , COVID-19 , Macaca , SARS-CoV-2 , Ad26COVS1/administration & dosage , Animals , Antibodies, Neutralizing , Antibodies, Viral , BNT162 Vaccine/administration & dosage , COVID-19/immunology , COVID-19/prevention & control , T-Lymphocytes/immunology
3.
EuropePMC;
Preprint in English | EuropePMC | ID: ppcovidwho-327461

ABSTRACT

ABSTRACT Background The rapid spread of the SARS-CoV-2 Omicron (B.1.1.529) variant, including in highly vaccinated populations, has raised important questions about the efficacy of current vaccines. Immune correlates of vaccine protection against Omicron are not known. Methods 30 cynomolgus macaques were immunized with homologous and heterologous prime-boost regimens with the mRNA-based BNT162b2 vaccine and the adenovirus vector-based Ad26.COV2.S vaccine. Following vaccination, animals were challenged with the SARS-CoV-2 Omicron variant by the intranasal and intratracheal routes. Results Omicron neutralizing antibodies were observed following the boost immunization and were higher in animals that received BNT162b2, whereas Omicron CD8+ T cell responses were higher in animals that received Ad26.COV2.S. Following Omicron challenge, sham controls showed more prolonged virus in nasal swabs than in bronchoalveolar lavage. Vaccinated macaques demonstrated rapid control of virus in bronchoalveolar lavage, and most vaccinated animals also controlled virus in nasal swabs, showing that current vaccines provide substantial protection against Omicron in this model. However, vaccinated animals that had moderate levels of Omicron neutralizing antibodies but negligible Omicron CD8+ T cell responses failed to control virus in the upper respiratory tract. Virologic control correlated with both antibody and T cell responses. Conclusions BNT162b2 and Ad26.COV2.S provided robust protection against high-dose challenge with the SARS-CoV-2 Omicron variant in macaques. Protection against this highly mutated SARS-CoV-2 variant correlated with both humoral and cellular immune responses.

4.
EuropePMC; 2021.
Preprint in English | EuropePMC | ID: ppcovidwho-319992

ABSTRACT

Background: Acute respiratory distress syndrome (ARDS) is a severe critical condition with a high mortality that is currently in focus given that it is associated with mortality caused by coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19). Neutrophils play a key role in the lung injury characteristic of non-COVID-19 ARDS and there is also accumulating evidence of neutrophil mediated lung injury in patients who succumb to infection with severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2). Methods: We undertook a functional proteomic and metabolomic survey of circulating neutrophil populations, comparing patients with COVID-19 ARDS and non-COVID-19 ARDS to understand the molecular basis of neutrophil dysregulation. Results: Expansion of the circulating neutrophil compartment and the presence of activated low and normal density mature and immature neutrophil populations occurs in ARDS, irrespective of cause. Release of neutrophil granule proteins, neutrophil activation of the clotting cascade and upregulation of the Mac-1 platelet binding complex with formation of neutrophil platelet aggregates is exaggerated in COVID-19 ARDS. Importantly, activation of components of the neutrophil type I interferon responses is seen in ARDS following infection with SARS-CoV-2, with associated rewiring of neutrophil metabolism, and the upregulation of antigen processing and presentation. Whilst dexamethasone treatment constricts the immature low density neutrophil population, it does not impact upon prothrombotic hyperinflammatory neutrophil signatures. Conclusions: Given the crucial role of neutrophils in ARDS and the evidence of a disordered myeloid response observed in COVID-19 patients, this work maps the molecular basis for neutrophil reprogramming in the distinct clinical entities of COVID-19 and non-COVID-19 ARDS.

5.
Sci Transl Med ; 13(618): eabj2641, 2021 Nov 03.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1546435

ABSTRACT

Severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2) variants that result in increased transmissibility and partial evasion of neutralizing antibodies have recently emerged. Whether natural immunity induced by the original SARS-CoV-2 WA1/2020 strain protects against rechallenge with these SARS-CoV-2 variants remains a critical unresolved question. In this study, we show that natural immunity induced by the WA1/2020 strain leads to partial but incomplete protection against the SARS-CoV-2 variants B.1.1.7 (alpha) and B.1.351 (beta) in rhesus macaques. We challenged rhesus macaques with B.1.1.7 and B.1.351 and showed that infection with these variants resulted in high viral replication in the upper and lower respiratory tract. We then infected rhesus macaques with the WA1/2020 strain and rechallenged them on day 35 with the WA1/2020, B.1.1.7, or B.1.351 variants. Natural immunity to WA1/2020 led to robust protection against rechallenge with WA1/2020 but only partial protection against rechallenge with B.1.351. An intermediate degree of protection was observed in rhesus macaques against rechallenge with B.1.1.7. These data demonstrate partial but incomplete protective efficacy of natural immunity induced by WA1/2020 against SARS-CoV-2 variants of concern. Our findings have important implications for both vaccination and public health strategies in the context of emerging SARS-CoV-2 variants of concern.


Subject(s)
COVID-19 , SARS-CoV-2 , Animals , Antibodies, Neutralizing , Antibodies, Viral , Humans , Macaca mulatta , Reinfection
6.
Nature ; 601(7893): 410-414, 2022 01.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1521758

ABSTRACT

The CVnCoV (CureVac) mRNA vaccine for severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus-2 (SARS-CoV-2) was recently evaluated in a phase 2b/3 efficacy trial in humans1. CV2CoV is a second-generation mRNA vaccine containing non-modified nucleosides but with optimized non-coding regions and enhanced antigen expression. Here we report the results of a head-to-head comparison of the immunogenicity and protective efficacy of CVnCoV and CV2CoV in non-human primates. We immunized 18 cynomolgus macaques with two doses of 12 µg lipid nanoparticle-formulated CVnCoV or CV2CoV or with sham (n = 6 per group). Compared with CVnCoV, CV2CoV induced substantially higher titres of binding and neutralizing antibodies, memory B cell responses and T cell responses as well as more potent neutralizing antibody responses against SARS-CoV-2 variants, including the Delta variant. Moreover, CV2CoV was found to be comparably immunogenic to the BNT162b2 (Pfizer) vaccine in macaques. Although CVnCoV provided partial protection against SARS-CoV-2 challenge, CV2CoV afforded more robust protection with markedly lower viral loads in the upper and lower respiratory tracts. Binding and neutralizing antibody titres were correlated with protective efficacy. These data demonstrate that optimization of non-coding regions can greatly improve the immunogenicity and protective efficacy of a non-modified mRNA SARS-CoV-2 vaccine in non-human primates.


Subject(s)
COVID-19 Vaccines/genetics , COVID-19 Vaccines/immunology , COVID-19/prevention & control , Immunogenicity, Vaccine , Nucleosides/chemistry , Vaccines, Synthetic/genetics , Vaccines, Synthetic/immunology , /immunology , Animals , Antibodies, Neutralizing/immunology , Antibodies, Viral/immunology , COVID-19/immunology , COVID-19/virology , COVID-19 Vaccines/standards , Female , Macaca fascicularis/immunology , Male , Nucleosides/genetics , Respiratory System/immunology , Respiratory System/virology , SARS-CoV-2/immunology , T-Lymphocytes/immunology , Vaccines, Synthetic/standards , Viral Load , /standards
7.
J Virol ; 96(2): e0159921, 2022 01 26.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1494959

ABSTRACT

Live oral vaccines have been explored for their protective efficacy against respiratory viruses, particularly for adenovirus serotypes 4 and 7. The potential of a live oral vaccine against severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2), however, remains unclear. In this study, we assessed the immunogenicity of live SARS-CoV-2 delivered to the gastrointestinal tract in rhesus macaques and its protective efficacy against intranasal and intratracheal SARS-CoV-2 challenge. Postpyloric administration of SARS-CoV-2 by esophagogastroduodenoscopy resulted in limited virus replication in the gastrointestinal tract and minimal to no induction of mucosal antibody titers in rectal swabs, nasal swabs, and bronchoalveolar lavage fluid. Low levels of serum neutralizing antibodies were induced and correlated with modestly diminished viral loads in nasal swabs and bronchoalveolar lavage fluid following intranasal and intratracheal SARS-CoV-2 challenge. Overall, our data show that postpyloric inoculation of live SARS-CoV-2 is weakly immunogenic and confers partial protection against respiratory SARS-CoV-2 challenge in rhesus macaques. IMPORTANCE SARS-CoV-2 remains a global threat, despite the rapid deployment but limited coverage of multiple vaccines. Alternative vaccine strategies that have favorable manufacturing timelines, greater ease of distribution, and improved coverage may offer significant public health benefits, especially in resource-limited settings. Live oral vaccines have the potential to address some of these limitations; however, no studies have yet been conducted to assess the immunogenicity and protective efficacy of a live oral vaccine against SARS-CoV-2. Here, we report that oral administration of live SARS-CoV-2 in nonhuman primates may offer prophylactic benefits, but the formulation and route of administration will require further optimization.


Subject(s)
Antibodies, Neutralizing/blood , Antibodies, Viral/blood , COVID-19 Vaccines/administration & dosage , COVID-19/prevention & control , Administration, Oral , Animals , Female , Macaca mulatta , Male
8.
Sci Transl Med ; 13(618): eabj3789, 2021 Nov 03.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1494936

ABSTRACT

Severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2) variants of concern have emerged and may pose a threat to both the efficacy of vaccines based on the original WA1/2020 strain and the natural immunity induced by infection with earlier SARS-CoV-2 variants. We investigated how mutations in the spike protein of circulating SARS-CoV-2 variants, which have been shown to partially evade neutralizing antibodies, affect natural and vaccine-induced immunity. We adapted a Syrian hamster model of moderate to severe clinical disease for two variant strains of SARS-CoV-2: B.1.1.7 (alpha variant) and B.1.351 (beta variant). We then assessed the protective efficacy conferred by either natural immunity from WA1/2020 infection or by vaccination with a single dose of the adenovirus serotype 26 vaccine, Ad26.COV2.S. Primary infection with the WA1/2020 strain provided potent protection against weight loss and viral replication in lungs after rechallenge with WA1/2020, B.1.1.7, or B.1.351. Ad26.COV2.S induced cross-reactive binding and neutralizing antibodies that were reduced against the B.1.351 strain compared with WA1/2020 but nevertheless still provided robust protection against B.1.351 challenge, as measured by weight loss and pathology scoring in the lungs. Together, these data support hamsters as a preclinical model to study protection against emerging variants of SARS-CoV-2 conferred by prior infection or vaccination.


Subject(s)
COVID-19 , SARS-CoV-2 , Animals , COVID-19 Vaccines , Cricetinae , Humans , Vaccination
9.
Wellcome Open Res ; 6: 38, 2021.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1478483

ABSTRACT

Background: Acute respiratory distress syndrome (ARDS) is a severe critical condition with a high mortality that is currently in focus given that it is associated with mortality caused by coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19). Neutrophils play a key role in the lung injury characteristic of non-COVID-19 ARDS and there is also accumulating evidence of neutrophil mediated lung injury in patients who succumb to infection with severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2). Methods: We undertook a functional proteomic and metabolomic survey of circulating neutrophil populations, comparing patients with COVID-19 ARDS and non-COVID-19 ARDS to understand the molecular basis of neutrophil dysregulation. Results: Expansion of the circulating neutrophil compartment and the presence of activated low and normal density mature and immature neutrophil populations occurs in ARDS, irrespective of cause. Release of neutrophil granule proteins, neutrophil activation of the clotting cascade and upregulation of the Mac-1 platelet binding complex with formation of neutrophil platelet aggregates is exaggerated in COVID-19 ARDS. Importantly, activation of components of the neutrophil type I interferon responses is seen in ARDS following infection with SARS-CoV-2, with associated rewiring of neutrophil metabolism, and the upregulation of antigen processing and presentation. Whilst dexamethasone treatment constricts the immature low density neutrophil population, it does not impact upon prothrombotic hyperinflammatory neutrophil signatures. Conclusions: Given the crucial role of neutrophils in ARDS and the evidence of a disordered myeloid response observed in COVID-19 patients, this work maps the molecular basis for neutrophil reprogramming in the distinct clinical entities of COVID-19 and non-COVID-19 ARDS.

10.
Nature ; 596(7872): 423-427, 2021 08.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1279884

ABSTRACT

The emergence of SARS-CoV-2 variants that partially evade neutralizing antibodies poses a threat to the efficacy of current COVID-19 vaccines1,2. The Ad26.COV2.S vaccine expresses a stabilized spike protein from the WA1/2020 strain of SARS-CoV-2, and has recently demonstrated protective efficacy against symptomatic COVID-19 in humans in several geographical regions-including in South Africa, where 95% of sequenced viruses in cases of COVID-19 were the B.1.351 variant3. Here we show that Ad26.COV2.S elicits humoral and cellular immune responses that cross-react with the B.1.351 variant and protects against B.1.351 challenge in rhesus macaques. Ad26.COV2.S induced lower binding and neutralizing antibodies against B.1.351 as compared to WA1/2020, but elicited comparable CD8 and CD4 T cell responses against the WA1/2020, B.1.351, B.1.1.7, P.1 and CAL.20C variants. B.1.351 infection of control rhesus macaques resulted in higher levels of virus replication in bronchoalveolar lavage and nasal swabs than did WA1/2020 infection. Ad26.COV2.S provided robust protection against both WA1/2020 and B.1.351, although we observed higher levels of virus in vaccinated macaques after B.1.351 challenge. These data demonstrate that Ad26.COV2.S provided robust protection against B.1.351 challenge in rhesus macaques. Our findings have important implications for vaccine control of SARS-CoV-2 variants of concern.


Subject(s)
COVID-19 Vaccines/immunology , COVID-19/prevention & control , COVID-19/virology , Immunity, Cellular , Immunity, Humoral , Macaca mulatta/immunology , SARS-CoV-2/immunology , Animals , Antibodies, Neutralizing/immunology , Antibodies, Viral/immunology , Bronchoalveolar Lavage Fluid/virology , COVID-19/immunology , COVID-19/pathology , Female , Macaca mulatta/virology , Male , Nose/virology , SARS-CoV-2/growth & development , SARS-CoV-2/pathogenicity , T-Lymphocytes/immunology , Virus Replication
11.
Med Teach ; 43(6): 646-650, 2021 06.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1087565

ABSTRACT

BACKGROUND: Medical education has historically relied on high stakes knowledge tests sat in examination centres with invigilators monitoring academic malpractice. The COVID-19 pandemic has made such examination formats impossible, and medical educators have explored the use of online assessments as a potential replacement. This shift has in turn led to fears that the change in format or academic malpractice might lead to considerably higher attainment scores on online assessment with no underlying improvement in student competence. METHOD: Here, we present an analysis of 8092 sittings of the Prescribing Safety Assessment (PSA), an assessment designed to test the prescribing skills of final year medical students in the UK. In-person assessments for the PSA were cancelled partway through the academic year 2020, with 6048 sittings delivered in an offline, traditionally invigilated format, and then 2044 sittings delivered in an online, webcam invigilated format. RESULTS: A comparison (able to detect very small effects) showed no attainment gap between online (M = 0.762, SD = 0.34) and offline (M = 0.761, SD = 0.34) performance. CONCLUSIONS: The finding suggests that the transition to online assessment does not affect student performance. The findings should increase confidence in the use of online testing in high-stakes assessment.


Subject(s)
COVID-19 , Students, Medical , Clinical Competence , Educational Measurement , Humans , Pandemics , SARS-CoV-2
12.
BMC Med Educ ; 21(1): 86, 2021 Feb 02.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1061007

ABSTRACT

BACKGROUND: The use of remote online delivery of summative assessments has been underexplored in medical education. Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, all end of year applied knowledge multiple choice question (MCQ) tests at one UK medical school were switched from on campus to remote assessments. METHODS: We conducted an online survey of student experience with remote exam delivery and compared test performance in remote versus invigilated campus-based forms of similar assessments for Year 4 and 5 students across two academic years. RESULTS: Very few students experienced technical or practical problems in completing their exam remotely. Test anxiety was reduced for some students but increased for others. The majority of students preferred the traditional setting of invigilated exams in a computer lab, feeling this ensured an even playing field for all candidates. Mean score was higher for Year 4 students in the remotely-delivered versus campus-based form of the same exam (76.53% [SD 6.57] vs. 72.81% [6.64]; t438.38 = 5.94, p = 0.001; d = 0.56), whereas candidate performance was equivalent across both forms for Year 5 students. CONCLUSIONS: Remote online MCQ exam delivery is an effective and generally acceptable approach to summative assessment, and could be used again in future without detriment to students if onsite delivery is not possible.


Subject(s)
Academic Performance , COVID-19 , Education, Distance/methods , Education, Medical, Undergraduate/methods , Educational Measurement/methods , Anxiety , COVID-19/epidemiology , Consumer Behavior , Educational Measurement/standards , Humans , Pandemics , SARS-CoV-2 , Students/psychology , United Kingdom/epidemiology
13.
BMJ Open Diabetes Res Care ; 9(1)2021 01.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1013048

ABSTRACT

INTRODUCTION: Patients with diabetes mellitus admitted to hospital with COVID-19 have poorer outcomes. However, the drivers of poorer outcomes are not fully elucidated. We performed detailed characterization of patients with COVID-19 to determine the clinical and biochemical factors that may be drivers of poorer outcomes. RESEARCH DESIGN AND METHODS: This is a retrospective cohort study of 889 consecutive inpatients diagnosed with COVID-19 between March 9 and April 22, 2020 in a large London National Health Service Trust. Unbiased multivariate logistic regression analysis was performed to determine variables that were independently and significantly associated with increased risk of death and/or intensive care unit (ICU) admission within 30 days of COVID-19 diagnosis. RESULTS: 62% of patients in our cohort were of non-white ethnic background and the prevalence of diabetes was 38%. 323 (36%) patients met the primary outcome of death/admission to the ICU within 30 days of COVID-19 diagnosis. Male gender, lower platelet count, advancing age and higher Clinical Frailty Scale (CFS) score (but not diabetes) independently predicted poor outcomes on multivariate analysis. Antiplatelet medication was associated with a lower risk of death/ICU admission. Factors that were significantly and independently associated with poorer outcomes in patients with diabetes were coexisting ischemic heart disease, increasing age and lower platelet count. CONCLUSIONS: In this large study of a diverse patient population, comorbidity (ie, diabetes with ischemic heart disease; increasing CFS score in older patients) was a major determinant of poor outcomes with COVID-19. Antiplatelet medication should be evaluated in randomized clinical trials among high-risk patient groups.


Subject(s)
COVID-19/epidemiology , Diabetes Mellitus/epidemiology , Frailty/diagnosis , Intensive Care Units/statistics & numerical data , Adult , Age Factors , Aged , Aged, 80 and over , COVID-19/therapy , Comorbidity , Diabetes Mellitus/therapy , Female , Frailty/epidemiology , Hospitals, Teaching , Humans , Logistic Models , London/epidemiology , Male , Middle Aged , Multivariate Analysis , Retrospective Studies , Risk Factors , Sex Factors , Survival Rate , Young Adult
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