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Frontiers in immunology ; 12, 2021.
Article in English | EuropePMC | ID: covidwho-1602351


The ongoing COVID-19 vaccine rollout is critical for reducing SARS-CoV-2 infections, hospitalizations, and deaths worldwide. Unfortunately, massive disparities exist in getting vaccines to vulnerable populations, including people living with HIV. Preliminary studies indicate that COVID-19 mRNA vaccines are safe and immunogenic in people living with HIV that are virally suppressed with potent antiretroviral therapy but may be less efficacious in immunocompromised individuals. This raises the concern that COVID-19 vaccines may be less effective in resource poor settings with limited access to antiretroviral therapy. Here, we evaluated the immunogenicity of a single dose COVID-19 replicon RNA vaccine expressing Spike protein (A.1) from SARS-CoV-2 (repRNA-CoV2S) in immunocompromised, SIV infected and immune competent, naïve pigtail macaques. Moderate vaccine-specific cellular Th1 T-cell responses and binding and neutralizing antibodies were induced by repRNA-CoV2S in SIV infected animals and naïve animals. Furthermore, vaccine immunogenicity was elicited even among the animals with the highest SIV viral burden or lowest peripheral CD4 counts prior to immunization. This study provides evidence that a SARS-CoV-2 repRNA vaccine could be employed to induce strong immunity against COVID-19 in HIV infected and other immunocompromised individuals.

Cell ; 183(5): 1367-1382.e17, 2020 11 25.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-893667


A safe, effective, and scalable vaccine is needed to halt the ongoing SARS-CoV-2 pandemic. We describe the structure-based design of self-assembling protein nanoparticle immunogens that elicit potent and protective antibody responses against SARS-CoV-2 in mice. The nanoparticle vaccines display 60 SARS-CoV-2 spike receptor-binding domains (RBDs) in a highly immunogenic array and induce neutralizing antibody titers 10-fold higher than the prefusion-stabilized spike despite a 5-fold lower dose. Antibodies elicited by the RBD nanoparticles target multiple distinct epitopes, suggesting they may not be easily susceptible to escape mutations, and exhibit a lower binding:neutralizing ratio than convalescent human sera, which may minimize the risk of vaccine-associated enhanced respiratory disease. The high yield and stability of the assembled nanoparticles suggest that manufacture of the nanoparticle vaccines will be highly scalable. These results highlight the utility of robust antigen display platforms and have launched cGMP manufacturing efforts to advance the SARS-CoV-2-RBD nanoparticle vaccine into the clinic.

Antibodies, Neutralizing/immunology , Antibodies, Viral/immunology , COVID-19 Vaccines/immunology , COVID-19/prevention & control , Nanoparticles/chemistry , Protein Domains/immunology , SARS-CoV-2/immunology , Spike Glycoprotein, Coronavirus/chemistry , Vaccination , Adolescent , Adult , Aged , Animals , COVID-19/virology , Chlorocebus aethiops , Cohort Studies , Epitopes/immunology , Female , HEK293 Cells , Humans , Macaca nemestrina , Male , Mice, Inbred BALB C , Middle Aged , SARS-CoV-2/genetics , Spike Glycoprotein, Coronavirus/immunology , Vero Cells , Young Adult
Sci Transl Med ; 12(555)2020 08 05.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-655207


The coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) pandemic, caused by infection with the severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus-2 (SARS-CoV-2), is having a deleterious impact on health services and the global economy, highlighting the urgent need for an effective vaccine. Such a vaccine would need to rapidly confer protection after one or two doses and would need to be manufactured using components suitable for scale up. Here, we developed an Alphavirus-derived replicon RNA vaccine candidate, repRNA-CoV2S, encoding the SARS-CoV-2 spike (S) protein. The RNA replicons were formulated with lipid inorganic nanoparticles (LIONs) that were designed to enhance vaccine stability, delivery, and immunogenicity. We show that a single intramuscular injection of the LION/repRNA-CoV2S vaccine in mice elicited robust production of anti-SARS-CoV-2 S protein IgG antibody isotypes indicative of a type 1 T helper cell response. A prime/boost regimen induced potent T cell responses in mice including antigen-specific responses in the lung and spleen. Prime-only immunization of aged (17 months old) mice induced smaller immune responses compared to young mice, but this difference was abrogated by booster immunization. In nonhuman primates, prime-only immunization in one intramuscular injection site or prime/boost immunizations in five intramuscular injection sites elicited modest T cell responses and robust antibody responses. The antibody responses persisted for at least 70 days and neutralized SARS-CoV-2 at titers comparable to those in human serum samples collected from individuals convalescing from COVID-19. These data support further development of LION/repRNA-CoV2S as a vaccine candidate for prophylactic protection against SARS-CoV-2 infection.

Alphavirus/genetics , Antibodies, Neutralizing/immunology , Betacoronavirus/immunology , Coronavirus Infections/immunology , Pneumonia, Viral/immunology , RNA, Viral/genetics , Replicon/genetics , T-Lymphocytes/immunology , Viral Vaccines/immunology , Animals , Antibody Formation/immunology , COVID-19 , COVID-19 Vaccines , Coronavirus Infections/prevention & control , Inorganic Chemicals/chemistry , Lipids/chemistry , Mice , Mice, Inbred BALB C , Mice, Inbred C57BL , Nanoparticles/chemistry , Pandemics , Primates , SARS-CoV-2