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1.
EuropePMC; 2022.
Preprint in English | EuropePMC | ID: ppcovidwho-337674

ABSTRACT

The Omicron subvariant BA.2 accounts for a large majority of the SARS-CoV-2 infection worldwide today 1 . However, its recent descendants BA.2.12.1 and BA.4/5 have surged dramatically to become dominant in the United States and South Africa, respectively 2,3 . That these novel Omicron subvariants carry additional mutations in their spike proteins raises concerns that they may further evade neutralizing antibodies, thereby further compromising the efficacy of our COVID-19 vaccines and therapeutic monoclonals. We now report findings from a systematic antigenic analysis of these surging Omicron subvariants. BA.2.12.1 is only modestly (1.8-fold) more resistant to sera from vaccinated and boosted individuals than BA.2. On the other hand, BA.4/5 is substantially (4.2-fold) more resistant and thus more likely to lead to vaccine breakthrough infections. Mutation at spike residue L452 found in both BA.2.12.1 and BA.4/5 facilitates escape from some antibodies directed to the so-called Class 2 and Class 3 regions of the receptor-binding domain (RBD) 4 . The F486V mutation found in BA.4/5 facilitates escape from certain Class 1 and Class 2 antibodies to the RBD but compromises the spike affinity for the cellular receptor ACE2. The R493Q reversion mutation, however, restores receptor affinity and consequently the fitness of BA.4/5. Among therapeutic antibodies authorized for clinical use, only bebtelovimab (LY-COV1404) retains full potency against both BA.2.12.1 and BA.4/5. The Omicron lineage of SARS-CoV-2 continues to evolve, successively yielding subvariants that are not only more transmissible but also more evasive to antibodies.

2.
Cell Rep ; 39(11): 110924, 2022 Jun 14.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1850803

ABSTRACT

The recently emerged B.1.1.529 (Omicron) severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2) variant has a highly divergent spike (S) glycoprotein. We compared the functional properties of B.1.1.529 BA.1 S with those of previous globally prevalent SARS-CoV-2 variants, D614G and B.1.617.2. Relative to these variants, B.1.1.529 S exhibits decreases in processing, syncytium formation, virion incorporation, and ability to mediate infection of cells with high TMPRSS2 expression. B.1.1.529 and B.1.617.2 S glycoproteins bind ACE2 with higher affinity than D614G S. The unliganded B.1.1.529 S trimer is less stable at low temperatures than the other SARS-CoV-2 Ss, a property related to its more "open" S conformation. Upon ACE2 binding, the B.1.1.529 S trimer sheds S1 at 37°C, but not at 0°C. B.1.1.529 pseudoviruses are relatively resistant to neutralization by sera from patients with coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) and vaccinees. These properties of the B.1.1.529 S glycoprotein likely influence the transmission, cytopathic effects, and immune evasion of this emerging variant.


Subject(s)
COVID-19 , SARS-CoV-2 , Angiotensin-Converting Enzyme 2/genetics , Glycoproteins , Humans , SARS-CoV-2/genetics , Spike Glycoprotein, Coronavirus/chemistry
3.
Sci Transl Med ; 14(646): eabn6859, 2022 May 25.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1794534

ABSTRACT

The devastation caused by severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2) has made clear the importance of pandemic preparedness. To address future zoonotic outbreaks due to related viruses in the sarbecovirus subgenus, we identified a human monoclonal antibody, 10-40, that neutralized or bound all sarbecoviruses tested in vitro and protected against SARS-CoV-2 and SARS-CoV in vivo. Comparative studies with other receptor-binding domain (RBD)-directed antibodies showed 10-40 to have the greatest breadth against sarbecoviruses, suggesting that 10-40 is a promising agent for pandemic preparedness. Moreover, structural analyses on 10-40 and similar antibodies not only defined an epitope cluster in the inner face of the RBD that is well conserved among sarbecoviruses but also uncovered a distinct antibody class with a common CDRH3 motif. Our analyses also suggested that elicitation of this class of antibodies may not be overly difficult, an observation that bodes well for the development of a pan-sarbecovirus vaccine.


Subject(s)
COVID-19 , SARS-CoV-2 , Antibodies, Viral , Humans , Immunoglobulin Isotypes , Spike Glycoprotein, Coronavirus
4.
Nat Commun ; 13(1): 1891, 2022 04 07.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1783979

ABSTRACT

The SARS-CoV-2 3CL protease is a critical drug target for small molecule COVID-19 therapy, given its likely druggability and essentiality in the viral maturation and replication cycle. Based on the conservation of 3CL protease substrate binding pockets across coronaviruses and using screening, we identified four structurally distinct lead compounds that inhibit SARS-CoV-2 3CL protease. After evaluation of their binding specificity, cellular antiviral potency, metabolic stability, and water solubility, we prioritized the GC376 scaffold as being optimal for optimization. We identified multiple drug-like compounds with <10 nM potency for inhibiting SARS-CoV-2 3CL and the ability to block SARS-CoV-2 replication in human cells, obtained co-crystal structures of the 3CL protease in complex with these compounds, and determined that they have pan-coronavirus activity. We selected one compound, termed coronastat, as an optimized lead and characterized it in pharmacokinetic and safety studies in vivo. Coronastat represents a new candidate for a small molecule protease inhibitor for the treatment of SARS-CoV-2 infection for eliminating pandemics involving coronaviruses.


Subject(s)
Antiviral Agents , COVID-19 , Coronavirus 3C Proteases , Protease Inhibitors , Antiviral Agents/chemistry , Antiviral Agents/therapeutic use , COVID-19/drug therapy , Coronavirus 3C Proteases/antagonists & inhibitors , Humans , Molecular Docking Simulation , Pandemics , Protease Inhibitors/chemistry , Protease Inhibitors/pharmacology , Protease Inhibitors/therapeutic use , SARS-CoV-2
5.
Nature ; 604(7906): 553-556, 2022 04.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1721546

ABSTRACT

The identification of the Omicron (B.1.1.529.1 or BA.1) variant of severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2) in Botswana in November 20211 immediately caused concern owing to the number of alterations in the spike glycoprotein that could lead to antibody evasion. We2 and others3-6 recently reported results confirming such a concern. Continuing surveillance of the evolution of Omicron has since revealed the rise in prevalence of two sublineages, BA.1 with an R346K alteration (BA.1+R346K, also known as BA.1.1) and B.1.1.529.2 (BA.2), with the latter containing 8 unique spike alterations and lacking 13 spike alterations found in BA.1. Here we extended our studies to include antigenic characterization of these new sublineages. Polyclonal sera from patients infected by wild-type SARS-CoV-2 or recipients of current mRNA vaccines showed a substantial loss in neutralizing activity against both BA.1+R346K and BA.2, with drops comparable to that already reported for BA.1 (refs. 2,3,5,6). These findings indicate that these three sublineages of Omicron are antigenically equidistant from the wild-type SARS-CoV-2 and thus similarly threaten the efficacies of current vaccines. BA.2 also exhibited marked resistance to 17 of 19 neutralizing monoclonal antibodies tested, including S309 (sotrovimab)7, which had retained appreciable activity against BA.1 and BA.1+R346K (refs. 2-4,6). This finding shows that no authorized monoclonal antibody therapy could adequately cover all sublineages of the Omicron variant, except for the recently authorized LY-CoV1404 (bebtelovimab).


Subject(s)
COVID-19 , SARS-CoV-2 , Antibodies, Monoclonal/therapeutic use , Antibodies, Monoclonal, Humanized , Antibodies, Neutralizing , Antibodies, Viral , Humans , SARS-CoV-2/genetics , Spike Glycoprotein, Coronavirus/genetics
6.
EuropePMC;
Preprint in English | EuropePMC | ID: ppcovidwho-327483

ABSTRACT

The identification of the Omicron variant (B.1.1.529.1 or BA.1) of SARS-CoV-2 (severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2) in Botswana in November 2021 1 immediately raised alarms due to the sheer number of mutations in the spike glycoprotein that could lead to striking antibody evasion. We 2 and others 3–6 recently reported results in this Journal confirming such a concern. Continuing surveillance of Omicron evolution has since revealed the rise in prevalence of two sublineages, BA.1 with an R346K mutation (BA.1+R346K) and B.1.1.529.2 (BA.2), with the latter containing 8 unique spike mutations while lacking 13 spike mutations found in BA.1. We therefore extended our studies to include antigenic characterization of these new sublineages. Polyclonal sera from patients infected by wild-type SARS-CoV-2 or recipients of current mRNA vaccines showed a substantial loss in neutralizing activity against both BA.1+R346K and BA.2, with drops comparable to that already reported for BA.1 2,3,5,6 . These findings indicate that these three sublineages of Omicron are antigenically equidistant from the wild-type SARS-CoV-2 and thus similarly threaten the efficacies of current vaccines. BA.2 also exhibited marked resistance to 17 of 19 neutralizing monoclonal antibodies tested, including S309 (sotrovimab) 7 , which had retained appreciable activity against BA.1 and BA.1+R346K 2–4,6 . This new finding shows that no presently approved or authorized monoclonal antibody therapy could adequately cover all sublineages of the Omicron variant.

7.
Nature ; 602(7898): 676-681, 2022 02.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1616993

ABSTRACT

The B.1.1.529/Omicron variant of SARS-CoV-2 was only recently detected in southern Africa, but its subsequent spread has been extensive, both regionally and globally1. It is expected to become dominant in the coming weeks2, probably due to enhanced transmissibility. A striking feature of this variant is the large number of spike mutations3 that pose a threat to the efficacy of current COVID-19 vaccines and antibody therapies4. This concern is amplified by the findings of our study. Here we found that B.1.1.529 is markedly resistant to neutralization by serum not only from patients who recovered from COVID-19, but also from individuals who were vaccinated with one of the four widely used COVID-19 vaccines. Even serum from individuals who were vaccinated and received a booster dose of mRNA-based vaccines exhibited substantially diminished neutralizing activity against B.1.1.529. By evaluating a panel of monoclonal antibodies against all known epitope clusters on the spike protein, we noted that the activity of 17 out of the 19 antibodies tested were either abolished or impaired, including ones that are currently authorized or approved for use in patients. Moreover, we also identified four new spike mutations (S371L, N440K, G446S and Q493R) that confer greater antibody resistance on B.1.1.529. The Omicron variant presents a serious threat to many existing COVID-19 vaccines and therapies, compelling the development of new interventions that anticipate the evolutionary trajectory of SARS-CoV-2.


Subject(s)
Antibodies, Neutralizing/immunology , Antibodies, Viral/immunology , COVID-19/virology , Immune Evasion/immunology , SARS-CoV-2/immunology , Antibodies, Monoclonal/immunology , Antibodies, Neutralizing/blood , Antibodies, Viral/blood , COVID-19/blood , COVID-19/immunology , COVID-19 Vaccines/administration & dosage , COVID-19 Vaccines/immunology , Cell Line , Convalescence , Evolution, Molecular , Humans , Immune Sera/immunology , Inhibitory Concentration 50 , Models, Molecular , Mutation , Neutralization Tests , SARS-CoV-2/chemistry , SARS-CoV-2/classification , SARS-CoV-2/genetics , Spike Glycoprotein, Coronavirus/chemistry , Spike Glycoprotein, Coronavirus/genetics , Spike Glycoprotein, Coronavirus/immunology
8.
EuropePMC; 2021.
Preprint in English | EuropePMC | ID: ppcovidwho-296805

ABSTRACT

The Omicron (B.1.1.529) variant of SARS-CoV-2 was only recently detected in southern Africa, but its subsequent spread has been extensive, both regionally and globally1. It is expected to become dominant in the coming weeks2, probably due to enhanced transmissibility. A striking feature of this variant is the large number of spike mutations3 that pose a threat to the efficacy of current COVID-19 vaccines and antibody therapies4. This concern is amplified by the findings from our study. We found B.1.1.529 to be markedly resistant to neutralization by serum not only from convalescent patients, but also from individuals vaccinated with one of the four widely used COVID-19 vaccines. Even serum from persons vaccinated and boosted with mRNA-based vaccines exhibited substantially diminished neutralizing activity against B.1.1.529. By evaluating a panel of monoclonal antibodies to all known epitope clusters on the spike protein, we noted that the activity of 18 of the 19 antibodies tested were either abolished or impaired, including ones currently authorized or approved for use in patients. In addition, we also identified four new spike mutations (S371L, N440K, G446S, and Q493R) that confer greater antibody resistance to B.1.1.529. The Omicron variant presents a serious threat to many existing COVID-19 vaccines and therapies, compelling the development of new interventions that anticipate the evolutionary trajectory of SARS-CoV-2.

9.
EuropePMC; 2021.
Preprint in English | EuropePMC | ID: ppcovidwho-296804

ABSTRACT

The devastation caused by SARS-CoV-2 has made clear the importance of pandemic preparedness. To address future zoonotic outbreaks due to related viruses in the sarbecovirus subgenus, we identified a human monoclonal antibody, 10-40, that neutralized or bound all sarbecoviruses tested in vitro and protected against SARS-CoV-2 and SARS-CoV in vivo. Comparative studies with other receptor-binding domain (RBD)-directed antibodies showed 10-40 to have the greatest breadth against sarbecoviruses and thus its promise as an agent for pandemic preparedness. Moreover, structural analyses on 10-40 and similar antibodies not only defined an epitope cluster in the inner face of the RBD that is well conserved among sarbecoviruses, but also uncovered a new antibody class with a common CDRH3 motif. Our analyses also suggested that elicitation of this class of antibodies may not be overly difficult, an observation that bodes well for the development of a pan-sarbecovirus vaccine.

10.
Emerg Microbes Infect ; 11(1): 147-157, 2022 Dec.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1537457

ABSTRACT

The repeated emergence of highly pathogenic human coronaviruses as well as their evolving variants highlight the need to develop potent and broad-spectrum antiviral therapeutics and vaccines. By screening monoclonal antibodies (mAbs) isolated from COVID-19-convalescent patients, we found one mAb, 2-36, with cross-neutralizing activity against SARS-CoV. We solved the cryo-EM structure of 2-36 in complex with SARS-CoV-2 or SARS-CoV spike, revealing a highly conserved epitope in the receptor-binding domain (RBD). Antibody 2-36 neutralized not only all current circulating SARS-CoV-2 variants and SARS-COV, but also a panel of bat and pangolin sarbecoviruses that can use human angiotensin-converting enzyme 2 (ACE2) as a receptor. We selected 2-36-escape viruses in vitro and confirmed that K378 T in SARS-CoV-2 RBD led to viral resistance. Taken together, 2-36 represents a strategic reserve drug candidate for the prevention and treatment of possible diseases caused by pre-emergent SARS-related coronaviruses. Its epitope defines a promising target for the development of a pan-sarbecovirus vaccine.


Subject(s)
Antibodies, Monoclonal/immunology , Antibodies, Neutralizing/immunology , Antibodies, Viral/immunology , SARS-CoV-2/immunology , Animals , Broadly Neutralizing Antibodies/immunology , COVID-19 , Chlorocebus aethiops , Cryoelectron Microscopy , Epitopes/immunology , HEK293 Cells , Humans , Neutralization Tests , Protein Interaction Domains and Motifs , Protein Structure, Tertiary , Vero Cells
11.
[Unspecified Source]; 2020.
Preprint in English | [Unspecified Source] | ID: ppcovidwho-292770

ABSTRACT

We report the identification of three structurally diverse compounds - compound 4, GC376, and MAC-5576 - as inhibitors of the SARS-CoV-2 3CL protease. Structures of each of these compounds in complex with the protease revealed strategies for further development, as well as general principles for designing SARS-CoV-2 3CL protease inhibitors. These compounds may therefore serve as leads for the basis of building effective SARS-CoV-2 3CL protease inhibitors.

14.
J Virol ; 95(14): e0237420, 2021 06 24.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1207480

ABSTRACT

We describe a mammalian cell-based assay to identify coronavirus 3CL protease (3CLpro) inhibitors. This assay is based on rescuing protease-mediated cytotoxicity and does not require live virus. By enabling the facile testing of compounds across a range of 15 distantly related coronavirus 3CLpro enzymes, we identified compounds with broad 3CLpro-inhibitory activity. We also adapted the assay for use in compound screening and in doing so uncovered additional severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2) 3CLpro inhibitors. We observed strong concordance between data emerging from this assay and those obtained from live-virus testing. The reported approach democratizes the testing of 3CLpro inhibitors by developing a simplified method for identifying coronavirus 3CLpro inhibitors that can be used by the majority of laboratories, rather than the few with extensive biosafety infrastructure. We identified two lead compounds, GC376 and compound 4, with broad activity against all 3CL proteases tested, including 3CLpro enzymes from understudied zoonotic coronaviruses. IMPORTANCE Multiple coronavirus pandemics have occurred over the last 2 decades. This has highlighted a need to be proactive in the development of therapeutics that can be readily deployed in the case of future coronavirus pandemics. We developed and validated a simplified cell-based assay for the identification of chemical inhibitors of 3CL proteases encoded by a wide range of coronaviruses. This assay is reporter free, does not require specialized biocontainment, and is optimized for performance in high-throughput screening. By testing reported 3CL protease inhibitors against a large collection of 3CL proteases with variable sequence similarity, we identified compounds with broad activity against 3CL proteases and uncovered structural insights into features that contribute to their broad activity. Furthermore, we demonstrated that this assay is suitable for identifying chemical inhibitors of proteases from families other than 3CL proteases.


Subject(s)
COVID-19/enzymology , Coronavirus 3C Proteases , Cysteine Proteinase Inhibitors , SARS-CoV-2/enzymology , COVID-19/drug therapy , Coronavirus 3C Proteases/antagonists & inhibitors , Coronavirus 3C Proteases/chemistry , Coronavirus 3C Proteases/metabolism , Cysteine Proteinase Inhibitors/chemistry , Cysteine Proteinase Inhibitors/pharmacology , HEK293 Cells , Humans
15.
Nat Commun ; 12(1): 2016, 2021 04 01.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1164851

ABSTRACT

We report the identification of three structurally diverse compounds - compound 4, GC376, and MAC-5576 - as inhibitors of the SARS-CoV-2 3CL protease. Structures of each of these compounds in complex with the protease revealed strategies for further development, as well as general principles for designing SARS-CoV-2 3CL protease inhibitors. These compounds may therefore serve as leads for the basis of building effective SARS-CoV-2 3CL protease inhibitors.


Subject(s)
COVID-19/drug therapy , Coronavirus 3C Proteases/antagonists & inhibitors , SARS-CoV-2/drug effects , Virus Replication/drug effects , Crystallography, X-Ray , Drug Evaluation, Preclinical , Humans , Pyrrolidines/pharmacology , Sulfonic Acids
16.
Nature ; 593(7857): 130-135, 2021 05.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1120052

ABSTRACT

The COVID-19 pandemic has had widespread effects across the globe, and its causative agent, SARS-CoV-2, continues to spread. Effective interventions need to be developed to end this pandemic. Single and combination therapies with monoclonal antibodies have received emergency use authorization1-3, and more treatments are under development4-7. Furthermore, multiple vaccine constructs have shown promise8, including two that have an approximately 95% protective efficacy against COVID-199,10. However, these interventions were directed against the initial SARS-CoV-2 virus that emerged in 2019. The recent detection of SARS-CoV-2 variants B.1.1.7 in the UK11 and B.1.351 in South Africa12 is of concern because of their purported ease of transmission and extensive mutations in the spike protein. Here we show that B.1.1.7 is refractory to neutralization by most monoclonal antibodies against the N-terminal domain of the spike protein and is relatively resistant to a few monoclonal antibodies against the receptor-binding domain. It is not more resistant to plasma from individuals who have recovered from COVID-19 or sera from individuals who have been vaccinated against SARS-CoV-2. The B.1.351 variant is not only refractory to neutralization by most monoclonal antibodies against the N-terminal domain but also by multiple individual monoclonal antibodies against the receptor-binding motif of the receptor-binding domain, which is mostly due to a mutation causing an E484K substitution. Moreover, compared to wild-type SARS-CoV-2, B.1.351 is markedly more resistant to neutralization by convalescent plasma (9.4-fold) and sera from individuals who have been vaccinated (10.3-12.4-fold). B.1.351 and emergent variants13,14 with similar mutations in the spike protein present new challenges for monoclonal antibody therapies and threaten the protective efficacy of current vaccines.


Subject(s)
Antibodies, Neutralizing/immunology , Antibodies, Viral/immunology , COVID-19 Vaccines/immunology , COVID-19/immunology , COVID-19/therapy , Immune Evasion/immunology , SARS-CoV-2/immunology , Spike Glycoprotein, Coronavirus/immunology , Adult , Aged , Animals , Antibodies, Monoclonal/immunology , Antibodies, Monoclonal/therapeutic use , COVID-19/drug therapy , COVID-19/prevention & control , COVID-19/virology , Chlorocebus aethiops , Drug Resistance, Viral/immunology , HEK293 Cells , Humans , Immune Evasion/genetics , Immunization, Passive , Middle Aged , Models, Molecular , Mutation , Neutralization Tests , Protein Domains/immunology , SARS-CoV-2/chemistry , SARS-CoV-2/genetics , Spike Glycoprotein, Coronavirus/chemistry , Spike Glycoprotein, Coronavirus/genetics , Vaccines, Synthetic/immunology , Vero Cells
17.
bioRxiv ; 2020 Aug 29.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-900752

ABSTRACT

We describe a mammalian cell-based assay capable of identifying coronavirus 3CL protease (3CLpro) inhibitors without requiring the use of live virus. By enabling the facile testing of compounds across a range of coronavirus 3CLpro enzymes, including the one from SARS-CoV-2, we are able to quickly identify compounds with broad or narrow spectra of activity. We further demonstrate the utility of our approach by performing a curated compound screen along with structure-activity profiling of a series of small molecules to identify compounds with antiviral activity. Throughout these studies, we observed concordance between data emerging from this assay and from live virus assays. By democratizing the testing of 3CL inhibitors to enable screening in the majority of laboratories rather than the few with extensive biosafety infrastructure, we hope to expedite the search for coronavirus 3CL protease inhibitors, to address the current epidemic and future ones that will inevitably arise.

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