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1.
Cell Host Microbe ; 2022 Oct 21.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-2118002

ABSTRACT

The rapid emergence of SARS-CoV-2 variants challenges vaccination strategies. Here, we collected 201 serum samples from persons with a single infection or multiple vaccine exposures, or both. We measured their neutralization titers against 15 natural variants and 7 variants with engineered spike mutations and analyzed antigenic diversity. Antigenic maps of primary infection sera showed that Omicron sublineages BA.2, BA.4/BA.5, and BA.2.12.1 are distinct from BA.1 and more similar to Beta/Gamma/Mu variants. Three mRNA COVID-19 vaccinations increased neutralization of BA.1 more than BA.4/BA.5 or BA.2.12.1. BA.1 post-vaccination infection elicited higher neutralization titers to all variants than three vaccinations alone, although with less neutralization to BA.2.12.1 and BA.4/BA.5. Those with BA.1 infection after two or three vaccinations had similar neutralization titer magnitude and antigenic recognition. Accounting for antigenic differences among variants when interpreting neutralization titers can aid the understanding of complex patterns in humoral immunity that informs the selection of future COVID-19 vaccine strains.

2.
J Virol ; 96(17): e0114022, 2022 09 14.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-2001778

ABSTRACT

The SARS-CoV-2 Omicron variants were first detected in November 2021, and several Omicron lineages (BA.1, BA.2, BA.3, BA.4, and BA.5) have since rapidly emerged. Studies characterizing the mechanisms of Omicron variant infection and sensitivity to neutralizing antibodies induced upon vaccination are ongoing by several groups. In the present study, we used pseudoviruses to show that the transmembrane serine protease 2 (TMPRSS2) enhances infection of BA.1, BA.1.1, BA.2, and BA.3 Omicron variants to a lesser extent than ancestral D614G. We further show that Omicron variants have higher sensitivity to inhibition by soluble angiotensin-converting enzyme 2 (ACE2) and the endosomal inhibitor chloroquine compared to D614G. The Omicron variants also more efficiently used ACE2 receptors from 9 out of 10 animal species tested, and unlike the D614G variant, used mouse ACE2 due to the Q493R and Q498R spike substitutions. Finally, neutralization of the Omicron variants by antibodies induced by three doses of Pfizer/BNT162b2 mRNA vaccine was 7- to 8-fold less potent than the D614G. These results provide insights into the transmissibility and immune evasion capacity of the emerging Omicron variants to curb their ongoing spread. IMPORTANCE The ongoing emergence of SARS-CoV-2 Omicron variants with an extensive number of spike mutations poses a significant public health and zoonotic concern due to enhanced transmission fitness and escape from neutralizing antibodies. We studied three Omicron lineage variants (BA.1, BA.2, and BA.3) and found that transmembrane serine protease 2 has less influence on Omicron entry into cells than on D614G, and Omicron exhibits greater sensitivity to endosomal entry inhibition compared to D614G. In addition, Omicron displays more efficient usage of diverse animal species ACE2 receptors than D614G. Furthermore, due to Q493R/Q498R substitutions in spike, Omicron, but not D614G, can use the mouse ACE2 receptor. Finally, three doses of Pfizer/BNT162b2 mRNA vaccination elicit high neutralization titers against Omicron variants, although the neutralization titers are still 7- to 8-fold lower those that against D614G. These results may give insights into the transmissibility and immune evasion capacity of the emerging Omicron variants to curb their ongoing spread.


Subject(s)
Angiotensin-Converting Enzyme 2 , Antibodies, Neutralizing , COVID-19 , Immune Evasion , SARS-CoV-2 , Virus Internalization , Angiotensin-Converting Enzyme 2/chemistry , Angiotensin-Converting Enzyme 2/genetics , Angiotensin-Converting Enzyme 2/immunology , Angiotensin-Converting Enzyme 2/metabolism , Animals , Antibodies, Neutralizing/immunology , Antibodies, Viral/immunology , BNT162 Vaccine/administration & dosage , BNT162 Vaccine/immunology , COVID-19/immunology , COVID-19/virology , Humans , Immune Evasion/immunology , Mice , SARS-CoV-2/chemistry , SARS-CoV-2/genetics , SARS-CoV-2/immunology , SARS-CoV-2/metabolism , Species Specificity , Spike Glycoprotein, Coronavirus/chemistry , Spike Glycoprotein, Coronavirus/genetics , Spike Glycoprotein, Coronavirus/immunology , Spike Glycoprotein, Coronavirus/metabolism
3.
Nat Biotechnol ; 2022 Jul 21.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1947381

ABSTRACT

The emergence of severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2) variants with potential resistance to existing drugs emphasizes the need for new therapeutic modalities with broad variant activity. Here we show that ensovibep, a trispecific DARPin (designed ankyrin repeat protein) clinical candidate, can engage the three units of the spike protein trimer of SARS-CoV-2 and inhibit ACE2 binding with high potency, as revealed by cryo-electron microscopy analysis. The cooperative binding together with the complementarity of the three DARPin modules enable ensovibep to inhibit frequent SARS-CoV-2 variants, including Omicron sublineages BA.1 and BA.2. In Roborovski dwarf hamsters infected with SARS-CoV-2, ensovibep reduced fatality similarly to a standard-of-care monoclonal antibody (mAb) cocktail. When used as a single agent in viral passaging experiments in vitro, ensovibep reduced the emergence of escape mutations in a similar fashion to the same mAb cocktail. These results support further clinical evaluation of ensovibep as a broad variant alternative to existing targeted therapies for Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19).

4.
Sci Transl Med ; 14(645): eabn8543, 2022 05 18.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1774930

ABSTRACT

The rapid spread of the highly contagious Omicron variant of severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2) along with its high number of mutations in the spike gene has raised alarms about the effectiveness of current medical countermeasures. To address this concern, we measured the neutralization of the Omicron BA.1 variant pseudovirus by postvaccination serum samples after two and three immunizations with the Pfizer/BioNTech162b2 SARS-CoV-2 mRNA (Pfizer/BNT162b2) vaccine, convalescent serum samples from unvaccinated individuals infected by different variants, and clinical-stage therapeutic antibodies. We found that titers against the Omicron variant were low or undetectable after two immunizations and in many convalescent serum samples, regardless of the infecting variant. A booster vaccination increased titers more than 30-fold against Omicron to values comparable to those seen against the D614G variant after two immunizations. Neither age nor sex was associated with the differences in postvaccination antibody responses. We also evaluated 18 clinical-stage therapeutic antibody products and an antibody mimetic protein product obtained directly from the manufacturers. Five monoclonal antibodies, the antibody mimetic protein, three antibody cocktails, and two polyclonal antibody preparations retained measurable neutralization activity against Omicron with a varying degree of potency. Of these, only three retained potencies comparable to the D614G variant. Two therapeutic antibody cocktails in the tested panel that are authorized for emergency use in the United States did not neutralize Omicron. These findings underscore the potential benefit of mRNA vaccine boosters for protection against Omicron and the need for rapid development of antibody therapeutics that maintain potency against emerging variants.


Subject(s)
COVID-19 , SARS-CoV-2 , Antibodies, Neutralizing , Antibodies, Viral , BNT162 Vaccine , COVID-19/therapy , COVID-19 Vaccines , Humans , Immunization, Passive , Vaccination , Vaccines, Synthetic , mRNA Vaccines
5.
J Virol ; 96(1): e0111021, 2022 01 12.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1621992

ABSTRACT

Mutations in the spike protein of severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2) variants can compromise the effectiveness of therapeutic antibodies. Most clinical-stage therapeutic antibodies target the spike receptor binding domain (RBD), but variants often have multiple mutations in several spike regions. To help predict antibody potency against emerging variants, we evaluated 25 clinical-stage therapeutic antibodies for neutralization activity against 60 pseudoviruses bearing spikes with single or multiple substitutions in several spike domains, including the full set of substitutions in B.1.1.7 (alpha), B.1.351 (beta), P.1 (gamma), B.1.429 (epsilon), B.1.526 (iota), A.23.1, and R.1 variants. We found that 14 of 15 single antibodies were vulnerable to at least one RBD substitution, but most combination and polyclonal therapeutic antibodies remained potent. Key substitutions in variants with multiple spike substitutions predicted resistance, but the degree of resistance could be modified in unpredictable ways by other spike substitutions that may reside outside the RBD. These findings highlight the importance of assessing antibody potency in the context of all substitutions in a variant and show that epistatic interactions in spike can modify virus susceptibility to therapeutic antibodies. IMPORTANCE Therapeutic antibodies are effective in preventing severe disease from SARS-CoV-2 infection (COVID-19), but their effectiveness may be reduced by virus variants with mutations affecting the spike protein. To help predict resistance to therapeutic antibodies in emerging variants, we profiled resistance patterns of 25 antibody products in late stages of clinical development against a large panel of variants that include single and multiple substitutions found in the spike protein. We found that the presence of a key substitution in variants with multiple spike substitutions can predict resistance against a variant but that other substitutions can affect the degree of resistance in unpredictable ways. These findings highlight complex interactions among substitutions in the spike protein affecting virus neutralization and, potentially, virus entry into cells.


Subject(s)
Antibodies, Monoclonal/immunology , SARS-CoV-2/immunology , Spike Glycoprotein, Coronavirus/immunology , Amino Acid Substitution , Antibodies, Neutralizing/immunology , Mutation , Protein Binding , Protein Domains , SARS-CoV-2/genetics , Spike Glycoprotein, Coronavirus/chemistry , Spike Glycoprotein, Coronavirus/genetics
6.
Viruses ; 13(12)2021 12 11.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1572661

ABSTRACT

The SARS-CoV-2 B.1.617 lineage variants, Kappa (B.1.617.1) and Delta (B.1.617.2, AY) emerged during the second wave of infections in India, but the Delta variants have become dominant worldwide and continue to evolve. Here, we compared B.1.617 variants for neutralization resistance by convalescent sera, mRNA vaccine-elicited sera, and therapeutic neutralizing antibodies using a pseudovirus neutralization assay. B.1.617.1, B.1.617.2, and AY.1 pseudoviruses showed a modest 1.5- to 4.4-fold reduction in neutralization by convalescent sera and vaccine-elicited sera. In comparison, similar modest reductions were also observed for C.37, P.1, R.1, and B.1.526 pseudoviruses, but 7- and 16-fold reductions for vaccine-elicited and convalescent sera, respectively, were seen for B.1.351 pseudoviruses. Among twenty-three therapeutic antibodies tested, four antibodies showed either complete or partial loss of neutralization against B.1.617.2 pseudoviruses and six antibodies showed either complete or partial loss of neutralization against B.1.617.1 and AY.1 pseudoviruses. Our results indicate that the current mRNA-based vaccines will likely remain effective in protecting against B.1.617 variants. Finally, the P681R substitution confers efficient cleavage of B.1.617 variants' spike proteins and the spike of Delta variants exhibited greater sensitivity to soluble ACE2 neutralization, as well as fusogenic activity, which may contribute to enhanced spread of Delta variants.


Subject(s)
Antibodies, Neutralizing/immunology , SARS-CoV-2/immunology , Spike Glycoprotein, Coronavirus/metabolism , Angiotensin-Converting Enzyme 2/metabolism , Antibodies, Viral/immunology , Antigenic Variation , COVID-19/immunology , COVID-19/virology , COVID-19 Vaccines/immunology , Cell Fusion , Furin/metabolism , Humans , Protein Binding , Spike Glycoprotein, Coronavirus/genetics , Spike Glycoprotein, Coronavirus/immunology
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