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1.
PLoS Pathog ; 18(5): e1010518, 2022 05.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1902647

ABSTRACT

The three human pathogenic ebolaviruses: Zaire (EBOV), Bundibugyo (BDBV), and Sudan (SUDV) virus, cause severe disease with high fatality rates. Epitopes of ebolavirus glycoprotein (GP) recognized by antibodies with binding breadth for all three ebolaviruses are of major interest for rational vaccine design. In particular, the heptad repeat 2 -membrane-proximal external region (HR2-MPER) epitope is relatively conserved between EBOV, BDBV, and SUDV GP and targeted by human broadly-neutralizing antibodies. To study whether this epitope can serve as an immunogen for the elicitation of broadly-reactive antibody responses, protein design in Rosetta was employed to transplant the HR2-MPER epitope identified from a co-crystal structure with the known broadly-reactive monoclonal antibody (mAb) BDBV223 onto smaller scaffold proteins. From computational analysis, selected immunogen designs were produced as recombinant proteins and functionally validated, leading to the identification of a sterile alpha motif (SAM) domain displaying the BDBV-HR2-MPER epitope near its C terminus as a promising candidate. The immunogen was fused to one component of a self-assembling, two-component nanoparticle and tested for immunogenicity in rabbits. Robust titers of cross-reactive serum antibodies to BDBV and EBOV GPs and moderate titers to SUDV GP were induced following immunization. To confirm the structural composition of the immunogens, solution NMR studies were conducted and revealed structural flexibility in the C-terminal residues of the epitope. Overall, our study represents the first report on an epitope-focused immunogen design based on the structurally challenging BDBV-HR2-MPER epitope.


Subject(s)
Ebolavirus , Hemorrhagic Fever, Ebola , Animals , Antibodies, Neutralizing , Antibodies, Viral , Epitopes , Glycoproteins , Rabbits
2.
Front Immunol ; 13: 821730, 2022.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1817940

ABSTRACT

Young adults infected with SARS-CoV-2 are frequently asymptomatic or develop only mild disease. Because capturing representative mild and asymptomatic cases require active surveillance, they are less characterized than moderate or severe cases of COVID-19. However, a better understanding of SARS-CoV-2 asymptomatic infections might shed light into the immune mechanisms associated with the control of symptoms and protection. To this aim, we have determined the temporal dynamics of the humoral immune response, as well as the serum inflammatory profile, of mild and asymptomatic SARS-CoV-2 infections in a cohort of 172 initially seronegative prospectively studied United States Marine recruits, 149 of whom were subsequently found to be SARS-CoV-2 infected. The participants had blood samples taken, symptoms surveyed and PCR tests for SARS-CoV-2 performed periodically for up to 105 days. We found similar dynamics in the profiles of viral load and in the generation of specific antibody responses in asymptomatic and mild symptomatic participants. A proteomic analysis using an inflammatory panel including 92 analytes revealed a pattern of three temporal waves of inflammatory and immunoregulatory mediators, and a return to baseline for most of the inflammatory markers by 35 days post-infection. We found that 23 analytes were significantly higher in those participants that reported symptoms at the time of the first positive SARS-CoV-2 PCR compared with asymptomatic participants, including mostly chemokines and cytokines associated with inflammatory response or immune activation (i.e., TNF-α, TNF-ß, CXCL10, IL-8). Notably, we detected 7 analytes (IL-17C, MMP-10, FGF-19, FGF-21, FGF-23, CXCL5 and CCL23) that were higher in asymptomatic participants than in participants with symptoms; these are known to be involved in tissue repair and may be related to the control of symptoms. Overall, we found a serum proteomic signature that differentiates asymptomatic and mild symptomatic infections in young adults, including potential targets for developing new therapies and prognostic tests.


Subject(s)
COVID-19 , Fibroblast Growth Factors , Humans , Interleukin-17 , Matrix Metalloproteinase 10 , Proteomics , SARS-CoV-2
3.
NPJ Vaccines ; 7(1): 47, 2022 Apr 25.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1805616

ABSTRACT

Respiratory tract vaccination has an advantage of needle-free delivery and induction of mucosal immune response in the portal of SARS-CoV-2 entry. We utilized human parainfluenza virus type 3 vector to generate constructs expressing the full spike (S) protein of SARS-CoV-2, its S1 subunit, or the receptor-binding domain, and tested them in hamsters as single-dose intranasal vaccines. The construct bearing full-length S induced high titers of neutralizing antibodies specific to S protein domains critical to the protein functions. Robust memory T cell responses in the lungs were also induced, which represent an additional barrier to infection and should be less sensitive than the antibody responses to mutations present in SARS-CoV-2 variants. Following SARS-CoV-2 challenge, animals were protected from the disease and detectable viral replication. Vaccination prevented induction of gene pathways associated with inflammation. These results indicate advantages of respiratory vaccination against COVID-19 and inform the design of mucosal SARS-CoV-2 vaccines.

4.
J Clin Virol ; 145: 105024, 2021 12.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1768294

ABSTRACT

BACKGROUND: After receiving a COVID-19 vaccine, most recipients want to know if they are protected from infection and for how long. Since neutralizing antibodies are a correlate of protection, we developed a lateral flow assay (LFA) that measures levels of neutralizing antibodies from a drop of blood. The LFA is based on the principle that neutralizing antibodies block binding of the receptor-binding domain (RBD) to angiotensin-converting enzyme 2 (ACE2). METHODS: The ability of the LFA was assessed to correctly measure neutralization of sera, plasma or whole blood from patients with COVID-19 using SARS-CoV-2 microneutralization assays. We also determined if the LFA distinguished patients with seasonal respiratory viruses from patients with COVID-19. To demonstrate the usefulness of the LFA, we tested previously infected and non-infected COVID-19 vaccine recipients at baseline and after first and second vaccine doses. RESULTS: The LFA compared favorably with SARS-CoV-2 microneutralization assays with an area under the ROC curve of 98%. Sera obtained from patients with seasonal coronaviruses did not show neutralizing activity in the LFA. After a single mRNA vaccine dose, 87% of previously infected individuals demonstrated high levels of neutralizing antibodies. However, if individuals were not previously infected, only 24% demonstrated high levels of neutralizing antibodies after one vaccine dose. A second dose boosted neutralizing antibody levels just 8% higher in previously infected individuals, but over 63% higher in non-infected individuals. CONCLUSIONS: A rapid, semi-quantitative, highly portable and inexpensive neutralizing antibody test might be useful for monitoring rise and fall in vaccine-induced neutralizing antibodies to COVID-19.


Subject(s)
COVID-19 , SARS-CoV-2 , Antibodies, Neutralizing , Antibodies, Viral , COVID-19 Vaccines , Humans , Point-of-Care Testing , Spike Glycoprotein, Coronavirus , Vaccines, Synthetic
5.
Nat Commun ; 12(1): 6097, 2021 10 20.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1475295

ABSTRACT

Effective treatments against Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2) are urgently needed. Monoclonal antibodies have shown promising results in patients. Here, we evaluate the in vivo prophylactic and therapeutic effect of COVA1-18, a neutralizing antibody highly potent against the B.1.1.7 isolate. In both prophylactic and therapeutic settings, SARS-CoV-2 remains undetectable in the lungs of treated hACE2 mice. Therapeutic treatment also causes a reduction in viral loads in the lungs of Syrian hamsters. When administered at 10 mg kg-1 one day prior to a high dose SARS-CoV-2 challenge in cynomolgus macaques, COVA1-18 shows very strong antiviral activity in the upper respiratory compartments. Using a mathematical model, we estimate that COVA1-18 reduces viral infectivity by more than 95% in these compartments, preventing lymphopenia and extensive lung lesions. Our findings demonstrate that COVA1-18 has a strong antiviral activity in three preclinical models and could be a valuable candidate for further clinical evaluation.


Subject(s)
Antibodies, Monoclonal/administration & dosage , Antibodies, Neutralizing/administration & dosage , Antiviral Agents/administration & dosage , COVID-19/drug therapy , SARS-CoV-2/immunology , Angiotensin-Converting Enzyme 2/genetics , Animals , Antibodies, Monoclonal/pharmacokinetics , Antiviral Agents/pharmacokinetics , COVID-19/blood , COVID-19/immunology , COVID-19/virology , Disease Models, Animal , Drug Evaluation, Preclinical , Female , Humans , Lung/metabolism , Lung/virology , Macaca fascicularis , Male , Mesocricetus , Mice , Mice, Transgenic , SARS-CoV-2/isolation & purification , Tissue Distribution , Viral Load
6.
Lancet Respir Med ; 9(7): 712-720, 2021 07.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1337036

ABSTRACT

BACKGROUND: Whether young adults who are infected with SARS-CoV-2 are at risk of subsequent infection is uncertain. We investigated the risk of subsequent SARS-CoV-2 infection among young adults seropositive for a previous infection. METHODS: This analysis was performed as part of the prospective COVID-19 Health Action Response for Marines study (CHARM). CHARM included predominantly male US Marine recruits, aged 18-20 years, following a 2-week unsupervised quarantine at home. After the home quarantine period, upon arrival at a Marine-supervised 2-week quarantine facility (college campus or hotel), participants were enrolled and were assessed for baseline SARS-CoV-2 IgG seropositivity, defined as a dilution of 1:150 or more on receptor-binding domain and full-length spike protein ELISA. Participants also completed a questionnaire consisting of demographic information, risk factors, reporting of 14 specific COVID-19-related symptoms or any other unspecified symptom, and brief medical history. SARS-CoV-2 infection was assessed by PCR at weeks 0, 1, and 2 of quarantine and participants completed a follow-up questionnaire, which included questions about the same COVID-19-related symptoms since the last study visit. Participants were excluded at this stage if they had a positive PCR test during quarantine. Participants who had three negative swab PCR results during quarantine and a baseline serum serology test at the beginning of the supervised quarantine that identified them as seronegative or seropositive for SARS-CoV-2 then went on to basic training at Marine Corps Recruit Depot-Parris Island. Three PCR tests were done at weeks 2, 4, and 6 in both seropositive and seronegative groups, along with the follow-up symptom questionnaire and baseline neutralising antibody titres on all subsequently infected seropositive and selected seropositive uninfected participants (prospective study period). FINDINGS: Between May 11, 2020, and Nov 2, 2020, we enrolled 3249 participants, of whom 3168 (98%) continued into the 2-week quarantine period. 3076 (95%) participants, 2825 (92%) of whom were men, were then followed up during the prospective study period after quarantine for 6 weeks. Among 189 seropositive participants, 19 (10%) had at least one positive PCR test for SARS-CoV-2 during the 6-week follow-up (1·1 cases per person-year). In contrast, 1079 (48%) of 2247 seronegative participants tested positive (6·2 cases per person-year). The incidence rate ratio was 0·18 (95% CI 0·11-0·28; p<0·001). Among seropositive recruits, infection was more likely with lower baseline full-length spike protein IgG titres than in those with higher baseline full-length spike protein IgG titres (hazard ratio 0·45 [95% CI 0·32-0·65]; p<0·001). Infected seropositive participants had viral loads that were about 10-times lower than those of infected seronegative participants (ORF1ab gene cycle threshold difference 3·95 [95% CI 1·23-6·67]; p=0·004). Among seropositive participants, baseline neutralising titres were detected in 45 (83%) of 54 uninfected and in six (32%) of 19 infected participants during the 6 weeks of observation (ID50 difference p<0·0001). INTERPRETATION: Seropositive young adults had about one-fifth the risk of subsequent infection compared with seronegative individuals. Although antibodies induced by initial infection are largely protective, they do not guarantee effective SARS-CoV-2 neutralisation activity or immunity against subsequent infection. These findings might be relevant for optimisation of mass vaccination strategies. FUNDING: Defense Health Agency and Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency.


Subject(s)
Antibodies, Viral/blood , COVID-19/blood , COVID-19/epidemiology , SARS-CoV-2/immunology , Adolescent , COVID-19/diagnosis , COVID-19 Serological Testing , Cohort Studies , Female , Humans , Male , Prospective Studies , Quarantine , Risk Assessment , Young Adult
7.
NPJ Vaccines ; 6(1): 91, 2021 Jul 22.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1322478

ABSTRACT

The development of effective countermeasures against severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2), the agent responsible for the COVID-19 pandemic, is a priority. We designed and produced ConVac, a replication-competent vesicular stomatitis virus (VSV) vaccine vector that expresses the S1 subunit of SARS-CoV-2 spike protein. We used golden Syrian hamsters as animal models of severe COVID-19 to test the efficacy of the ConVac vaccine. A single vaccine dose elicited high levels of SARS-CoV-2 specific binding and neutralizing antibodies; following intranasal challenge with SARS-CoV-2, animals were protected from weight loss and viral replication in the lungs. No enhanced pathology was observed in vaccinated animals upon challenge, but some inflammation was still detected. The data indicate rapid control of SARS-CoV-2 replication by the S1-based VSV-vectored SARS-CoV-2 ConVac vaccine.

8.
JCI Insight ; 6(1)2021 01 11.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1066996

ABSTRACT

The rapid spread of severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2), coupled with a lack of therapeutics, has paralyzed the globe. Although significant effort has been invested in identifying antibodies that block infection, the ability of antibodies to target infected cells through Fc interactions may be vital to eliminate the virus. To explore the role of Fc activity in SARS-CoV-2 immunity, the functional potential of a cross-SARS-reactive antibody, CR3022, was assessed. CR3022 was able to broadly drive antibody effector functions, providing critical immune clearance at entry and upon egress. Using selectively engineered Fc variants, no protection was observed after administration of WT IgG1 in mice or hamsters. Conversely, the functionally enhanced Fc variant resulted in increased pathology in both the mouse and hamster models, causing weight loss in mice and enhanced viral replication and weight loss in the more susceptible hamster model, highlighting the pathological functions of Fc-enhancing mutations. These data point to the critical need for strategic Fc engineering for the treatment of SARS-CoV-2 infection.


Subject(s)
Antibodies, Neutralizing/pharmacology , COVID-19/immunology , Immunity, Innate/drug effects , Immunoglobulin Fc Fragments/genetics , Immunoglobulin G/pharmacology , SARS-CoV-2/drug effects , Virus Replication/drug effects , Animals , Antibodies, Monoclonal , Antibodies, Neutralizing/genetics , Antibodies, Neutralizing/therapeutic use , COVID-19/drug therapy , COVID-19/physiopathology , Cricetinae , Cross Reactions , Epitopes , Humans , Immunity, Innate/immunology , Immunoglobulin G/genetics , Immunoglobulin G/therapeutic use , Mesocricetus , Mice , Middle East Respiratory Syndrome Coronavirus/drug effects , Middle East Respiratory Syndrome Coronavirus/immunology , Protein Engineering , Receptors, Fc/immunology , SARS Virus/drug effects , SARS Virus/immunology , SARS-CoV-2/immunology , Severity of Illness Index , Spike Glycoprotein, Coronavirus/immunology , THP-1 Cells , Viral Load/drug effects , Weight Loss/drug effects
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