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1.
EMBO reports ; : e202154322, 2022.
Article in English | EuropePMC | ID: covidwho-2002704

ABSTRACT

The emergence of SARS-CoV-2 variants has exacerbated the COVID-19 global health crisis. Thus far, all variants carry mutations in the spike glycoprotein, which is a critical determinant of viral transmission being responsible for attachment, receptor engagement and membrane fusion, and an important target of immunity. Variants frequently bear truncations of flexible loops in the N-terminal domain (NTD) of spike;the functional importance of these modifications has remained poorly characterised. We demonstrate that NTD deletions are important for efficient entry by the Alpha and Omicron variants and that this correlates with spike stability. Phylogenetic analysis reveals extensive NTD loop length polymorphisms across the sarbecoviruses, setting an evolutionary precedent for loop remodelling. Guided by these analyses, we demonstrate that variations in NTD loop length, alone, are sufficient to modulate virus entry. We propose that variations in NTD loop length act to fine-tune spike;this may provide a mechanism for SARS-CoV-2 to navigate a complex selection landscape encompassing optimisation of essential functionality, immune driven antigenic variation and ongoing adaptation to a new host.

2.
Lancet Microbe ; 3(7): e493-e502, 2022 Jul.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1867962

ABSTRACT

BACKGROUND: Serological assays are being used to monitor antibody responses in individuals who had SARS-CoV-2 infection and those who received a COVID-19 vaccine. We aimed to determine whether such assays can predict neutralising antibody titres as antibody levels wane and viral variants emerge. METHODS: We measured antibody levels in serum samples from a cohort of 112 participants with SARS-CoV-2 infection using ten high-throughput serological tests and functional neutralisation assays. Serum samples were taken at baseline and at up to four subsequent visits. We assessed the effects of time and spike protein sequence variation on the performance and predictive value of the various assays. We did correlation analyses for individual timepoints using non-parametric Spearman correlation, and differences between timepoints were determined by use of a two-tailed Wilcoxon matched-pairs signed rank test. FINDINGS: Neutralising antibody titres decreased over the first few months post-infection but stabilised thereafter, at about 30% of the level observed shortly after infection. Serological assays commonly used to measure antibodies against SARS-CoV-2 displayed a range of sensitivities that declined to varying extents over time. Quantitative measurements generated by serological assays based on the spike protein were better at predicting neutralising antibody titres than those based on nucleocapsid, but performance was variable, and manufacturer positivity thresholds were not able to predict the presence or absence of detectable neutralising activity. Although we observed some deterioration in correlation between serological measurements and functional neutralisation activity, some assays maintained an ability to predict neutralising titres, even against variants of concern. INTERPRETATION: The ability of high-throughput serological assays to predict neutralising antibody titres is likely to be crucial for evaluation of immunity at the population scale. These data can facilitate the selection of the most suitable assays as surrogates of functional neutralising activity and suggest that such measurements might be useful in clinical practice. FUNDING: US National Institutes of Health and National Health Service Research Scotland BioResource.


Subject(s)
COVID-19 , SARS-CoV-2 , Antibodies, Neutralizing , Antibodies, Viral , COVID-19/diagnosis , COVID-19 Vaccines , Humans , SARS-CoV-2/genetics , Spike Glycoprotein, Coronavirus , State Medicine
3.
JCI Insight ; 7(13)2022 07 08.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1861743

ABSTRACT

The role of immune responses to previously seen endemic coronavirus epitopes in severe acute respiratory coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2) infection and disease progression has not yet been determined. Here, we show that a key characteristic of fatal outcomes with coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) is that the immune response to the SARS-CoV-2 spike protein is enriched for antibodies directed against epitopes shared with endemic beta-coronaviruses and has a lower proportion of antibodies targeting the more protective variable regions of the spike. The magnitude of antibody responses to the SARS-CoV-2 full-length spike protein, its domains and subunits, and the SARS-CoV-2 nucleocapsid also correlated strongly with responses to the endemic beta-coronavirus spike proteins in individuals admitted to an intensive care unit (ICU) with fatal COVID-19 outcomes, but not in individuals with nonfatal outcomes. This correlation was found to be due to the antibody response directed at the S2 subunit of the SARS-CoV-2 spike protein, which has the highest degree of conservation between the beta-coronavirus spike proteins. Intriguingly, antibody responses to the less cross-reactive SARS-CoV-2 nucleocapsid were not significantly different in individuals who were admitted to an ICU with fatal and nonfatal outcomes, suggesting an antibody profile in individuals with fatal outcomes consistent with an "original antigenic sin" type response.


Subject(s)
COVID-19 , Spike Glycoprotein, Coronavirus , Antibodies, Viral , Antibody Formation , Epitopes , Humans , SARS-CoV-2
5.
J Clin Virol Plus ; 1(3): 100028, 2021 Sep.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1267742

ABSTRACT

Background: Sero-surveillance of SARS-CoV-2 is crucial to monitoring levels of population exposure and informing public health responses, but may be influenced by variability in performance between available assays. Methods: Five commercial immunoassays and a neutralising activity assay were used to detect antibodies to SARS-CoV-2 in routine primary care and paediatric samples collected during the first wave of the pandemic in NHS Lothian, Scotland as part of ongoing surveillance efforts. For each assay, sensitivity and specificity was calculated relative to consensus results (majority of immunoassays positive = overall positive) and neutralising activity. Quantitative correlation was performed between serological and neutralising titres. Results: Seroprevalence ranged from 3.4-7.3 % in primary care patients and 3-5.9 % in paediatric patients according to different immunoassays. Neutralising activity was detectable in 2.8 % and 1.3 % respectively. Relative assay performance changed depending on comparison to immunoassay consensus versus neutralising activity and qualititative versus quantitative agreement. Cross-reactivity with endemic seasonal coronaviruses was confirmed by neutralising assay in false positives for one immunoassay. Presence of false positives for another assay was found specifically in paediatric but not adult samples. Conclusions: Five serological assays show variable accuracy when applied to the general population, impacting seroprevalence estimates. Assay performance may also vary in detection of protective neutralising antibody levels. These aspects should be considered in assay selection and interpretation in epidemiological studies.

6.
Front Immunol ; 11: 598402, 2020.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1045523

ABSTRACT

COVID-19 disease caused by the SARS-CoV-2 virus is characterized by dysregulation of effector T cells and accumulation of exhausted T cells. T cell responses to viruses can be corrected by adoptive cellular therapy using donor-derived virus-specific T cells. One approach is the establishment of banks of HLA-typed virus-specific T cells for rapid deployment to patients. Here we show that SARS-CoV-2-exposed blood donations contain CD4 and CD8 memory T cells which recognize SARS-CoV-2 spike, nucleocapsid and membrane antigens. Peptides of these antigens can be used to isolate virus-specific T cells in a GMP-compliant process. The isolated T cells can be rapidly expanded using GMP-compliant reagents for use as an allogeneic therapy. Memory and effector phenotypes are present in the selected virus-specific T cells, but our method rapidly expands the desirable central memory phenotype. A manufacturing yield ranging from 1010 to 1011 T cells can be obtained within 21 days culture. Thus, multiple therapeutic doses of virus-specific T cells can be rapidly generated from convalescent donors for potential treatment of COVID-19 patients.


Subject(s)
Allogeneic Cells/immunology , CD4-Positive T-Lymphocytes/immunology , CD8-Positive T-Lymphocytes/immunology , COVID-19/immunology , SARS-CoV-2/immunology , Blood Donors , Coronavirus Nucleocapsid Proteins/immunology , Humans , Immunologic Memory/immunology , Immunotherapy, Adoptive , Lymphocyte Activation/immunology , Membrane Proteins/immunology , Phosphoproteins/immunology , Spike Glycoprotein, Coronavirus/immunology
7.
Euro Surveill ; 25(42)2020 10.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-886128

ABSTRACT

BackgroundThe progression and geographical distribution of severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2) infection in the United Kingdom (UK) and elsewhere is unknown because typically only symptomatic individuals are diagnosed. We performed a serological study of blood donors in Scotland in the spring of 2020 to detect neutralising antibodies to SARS-CoV-2 as a marker of past infection and epidemic progression.AimOur objective was to determine if sera from blood bank donors can be used to track the emergence and progression of the SARS-CoV-2 epidemic.MethodsA pseudotyped SARS-CoV-2 virus microneutralisation assay was used to detect neutralising antibodies to SARS-CoV-2. The study comprised samples from 3,500 blood donors collected in Scotland between 17 March and 18 May 2020. Controls were collected from 100 donors in Scotland during 2019.ResultsAll samples collected on 17 March 2020 (n = 500) were negative in the pseudotyped SARS-CoV-2 virus microneutralisation assay. Neutralising antibodies were detected in six of 500 donors from 23 to 26 March. The number of samples containing neutralising antibodies did not significantly rise after 5-6 April until the end of the study on 18 May. We found that infections were concentrated in certain postcodes, indicating that outbreaks of infection were extremely localised. In contrast, other areas remained comparatively untouched by the epidemic.ConclusionAlthough blood donors are not representative of the overall population, we demonstrated that serosurveys of blood banks can serve as a useful tool for tracking the emergence and progression of an epidemic such as the SARS-CoV-2 outbreak.


Subject(s)
Antibodies, Neutralizing/blood , Antibodies, Viral/blood , Betacoronavirus/immunology , Blood Donors , Coronavirus Infections/epidemiology , Pandemics , Pneumonia, Viral/epidemiology , Population Surveillance , Adult , COVID-19 , Cluster Analysis , Coronavirus Infections/blood , Enzyme-Linked Immunosorbent Assay , Female , Geography, Medical , Humans , Inhibitory Concentration 50 , Male , Models, Immunological , Neutralization Tests , Pneumonia, Viral/blood , Prevalence , SARS-CoV-2 , Scotland/epidemiology , Sensitivity and Specificity , Seroepidemiologic Studies , Urban Population
8.
Chemical & Engineering News ; 98(35):15-15, 2020.
Article in English | Web of Science | ID: covidwho-880089
9.
C&EN Global Enterprise ; 98(38):13-13, 2020.
Article in English | ACS | ID: covidwho-841849

ABSTRACT

Regeneron Pharmaceuticals has offered a first glimpse at data from closely watched studies of REGN-COV2, its antibody therapy for . Although not a home run, the results do provide insight into where antibodies might fit into the treatment landscape for the disease. Regeneron’s drug is a cocktail of two antibodies that bind to the spike protein in different spots of the coronavirus that causes COVID-19. The virus uses the spike to latch onto human cells before dumping its genetic payload inside. Clinical trials of the treatment, which began in June, have enrolled some 2,000 people. The first data came from 275 people whose infection had not yet put them in the hospital. Out of that group, the drug appeared to be most effective in people whose immune systems were not yet kicking in to produce antibodies to clear the virus. The question now is whether that is enough for the [...]

10.
Chemical & Engineering News ; 98(24):3-3, 2020.
Article | WHO COVID | ID: covidwho-635288
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