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1.
EuropePMC; 2022.
Preprint in English | EuropePMC | ID: ppcovidwho-338327

ABSTRACT

Severe coronavirus disease (COVID-19) is accompanied with acute respiratory distress syndrome & pulmonary pathology, and is presented mostly with inflammatory cytokine release, dysregulated immune response, skewed neutrophil/ lymphocyte ratio, and hypercoagulable state. Though vaccinations have proved effective in reducing the COVID-19 related mortality, the limitation of use of vaccine against immunocompromised, comorbidity, and emerging variants remains a concern. In the current study we investigate for the first-time the efficacy of Glycyrrhiza glabra (GG) extract, a potent immunomodulator, against SARS-CoV-2 infection in hamsters. Prophylactic treatment with GG showed protection against loss in body weight and 35-40% decrease in lung viral load along with reduced lung pathology in the hamster model. Remarkably, GG reduced the mRNA expression of pro-inflammatory cytokines and Plasminogen activator inhibito-1 (PAI-1). In-vitro , GG acted as potent immunomodulator by reducing Th2 and Th17 differentiation and IL-4 and IL-17A cytokine production. In addition, GG also showed robust potential to suppress ROS, mtROS and NETs generation in a concentration dependent manner in both human polymorphonuclear neutrophils (PMNs) and murine bone marrow derived neutrophils (BMDNs). Taken together, we provide evidence for the protective efficacy of GG against COVID-19 and its putative mechanistic insight, which might be developed as a future immunomodulatory approach against various pathologies with high cytokine production, aberrant neutrophil activation including coronavirus infection.

2.
PLoS Pathog ; 18(4): e1010465, 2022 04.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1817511

ABSTRACT

Although efficacious vaccines have significantly reduced the morbidity and mortality of COVID-19, there remains an unmet medical need for treatment options, which monoclonal antibodies (mAbs) can potentially fill. This unmet need is exacerbated by the emergence and spread of SARS-CoV-2 variants of concern (VOCs) that have shown some resistance to vaccine responses. Here we report the isolation of five neutralizing mAbs from an Indian convalescent donor, out of which two (THSC20.HVTR04 and THSC20.HVTR26) showed potent neutralization of SARS-CoV-2 VOCs at picomolar concentrations, including the Delta variant (B.1.617.2). One of these (THSC20.HVTR26) also retained activity against the Omicron variant. These two mAbs target non-overlapping epitopes on the receptor-binding domain (RBD) of the spike protein and prevent virus attachment to its host receptor, human angiotensin converting enzyme-2 (hACE2). Furthermore, the mAb cocktail demonstrated protection against the Delta variant at low antibody doses when passively administered in the K18 hACE2 transgenic mice model, highlighting their potential as a cocktail for prophylactic and therapeutic applications. Developing the capacity to rapidly discover and develop mAbs effective against highly transmissible pathogens like coronaviruses at a local level, especially in a low- and middle-income country (LMIC) such as India, will enable prompt responses to future pandemics as an important component of global pandemic preparedness.


Subject(s)
COVID-19 , SARS-CoV-2 , Animals , Antibodies, Monoclonal , Antibodies, Neutralizing , Antibodies, Viral , COVID-19/prevention & control , Mice , Spike Glycoprotein, Coronavirus
3.
Int J Biol Macromol ; 209(Pt A): 1359-1367, 2022 Jun 01.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1800033

ABSTRACT

The COVID-19 pandemic caused by SARS-CoV-2 has a significant burden on the economy and healthcare around the world. Vaccines are the most effective tools to fight infectious diseases by containing the spread of the disease. The current vaccines against SARS-CoV-2 are mostly based on the spike protein of SARS-CoV-2, which is large and has many immune-dominant non-neutralizing epitopes that may effectively skew the antibody response towards non-neutralizing antibodies. Here, we have explored the possibility of immune-focusing the receptor binding motif (RBM) of the spike protein of SARS-CoV-2 that induces mostly neutralizing antibodies in natural infection or in vacinees. The result shows that the scaffolded RBM can bind to Angiotensin Converting Enzyme 2 (ACE2) although with low affinity and induces a strong antibody response in mice. The immunized sera can bind both, the receptor binding domain (RBD) and the spike protein, which holds the RBM in its natural context. Sera from the immunized mice showed robust interferon γ response but poor neutralization of SARS-CoV-2 suggesting presence of a predominant T cell epitope on scaffolded RBM. Together, we provide a strategy for inducing strong antigenic T cell response which could be exploited further for future vaccine designing and development against SARS-CoV-2 infection.


Subject(s)
COVID-19 , SARS-CoV-2 , Animals , Antibodies, Neutralizing , Antibodies, Viral , COVID-19/prevention & control , COVID-19 Vaccines , Epitopes , Humans , Mice , Pandemics/prevention & control , Protein Binding , Spike Glycoprotein, Coronavirus/chemistry
4.
Nat Commun ; 13(1): 1726, 2022 04 01.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1773977

ABSTRACT

Immunization is expected to confer protection against infection and severe disease for vaccines while reducing risks to unimmunized populations by inhibiting transmission. Here, based on serial serological studies of an observational cohort of healthcare workers, we show that during a Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome -Coronavirus 2 Delta-variant outbreak in Delhi, 25.3% (95% Confidence Interval 16.9-35.2) of previously uninfected, ChAdOx1-nCoV19 double vaccinated, healthcare workers were infected within less than two months, based on serology. Induction of anti-spike response was similar between groups with breakthrough infection (541 U/ml, Inter Quartile Range 374) and without (342 U/ml, Inter Quartile Range 497), as was the induction of neutralization activity to wildtype. This was not vaccine failure since vaccine effectiveness estimate based on infection rates in an unvaccinated cohort were about 70% and most infections were asymptomatic. We find that while ChAdOx1-nCoV19 vaccination remains effective in preventing severe infections, it is unlikely to be completely able to block transmission and provide herd immunity.


Subject(s)
Asymptomatic Infections , COVID-19 , COVID-19/epidemiology , COVID-19/prevention & control , Health Personnel , Humans , Immunization , SARS-CoV-2 , Vaccination
5.
Lancet Infect Dis ; 22(4): 473-482, 2022 04.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1757985

ABSTRACT

BACKGROUND: SARS-CoV-2 variants of concern (VOCs) have threatened COVID-19 vaccine effectiveness. We aimed to assess the effectiveness of the ChAdOx1 nCoV-19 vaccine, predominantly against the delta (B.1.617.2) variant, in addition to the cellular immune response to vaccination. METHODS: We did a test-negative, case-control study at two medical research centres in Faridabad, India. All individuals who had a positive RT-PCR test for SARS-CoV-2 infection between April 1, 2021, and May 31, 2021, were included as cases and individuals who had a negative RT-PCR test were included as controls after matching with cases on calendar week of RT-PCR test. The primary outcome was effectiveness of complete vaccination with the ChAdOx1 nCoV-19 vaccine against laboratory-confirmed SARS-CoV-2 infection. The secondary outcomes were effectiveness of a single dose against SARS-CoV-2 infection and effectiveness of a single dose and complete vaccination against moderate-to-severe disease among infected individuals. Additionally, we tested in-vitro live-virus neutralisation and T-cell immune responses to the spike protein of the wild-type SARS-CoV-2 and VOCs among healthy (anti-nucleocapsid antibody negative) recipients of the ChAdOx1 nCoV-19 vaccine. FINDINGS: Of 2379 cases of confirmed SARS-CoV-2 infection, 85 (3·6%) were fully vaccinated compared with 168 (8·5%) of 1981 controls (adjusted OR [aOR] 0·37 [95% CI 0·28-0·48]), giving a vaccine effectiveness against SARS-CoV-2 infection of 63·1% (95% CI 51·5-72·1). 157 (6·4%) of 2451 of cases and 181 (9·1%) of 1994) controls had received a single dose of the ChAdOx1 nCoV-19 vaccine (aOR 0·54 [95% CI 0·42-0·68]), thus vaccine effectiveness of a single dose against SARS-CoV-2 infection was 46·2% (95% CI 31·6-57·7). One of 84 cases with moderate-to-severe COVID-19 was fully vaccinated compared with 84 of 2295 cases with mild COVID-19 (aOR 0·19 [95% CI 0·01-0·90]), giving a vaccine effectiveness of complete vaccination against moderate-to-severe disease of 81·5% (95% CI 9·9-99·0). The effectiveness of a single dose against moderate-to-severe disease was 79·2% (95% CI 46·1-94·0); four of 87 individuals with moderate-to-severe COVID-19 had received a single dose compared with 153 of 2364 participants with mild disease (aOR 0·20 [95% CI 0·06-0·54]). Among 49 healthy, fully vaccinated individuals, neutralising antibody responses were lower against the alpha (B.1.1.7; geometric mean titre 244·7 [95% CI 151·8-394·4]), beta (B.1.351; 97·6 [61·2-155·8]), kappa (B.1.617.1; 112·8 [72·7-175·0]), and delta (88·4 [61·2-127·8]) variants than against wild-type SARS-CoV-2 (599·4 [376·9-953·2]). However, the antigen-specific CD4 and CD8 T-cell responses were conserved against both the delta variant and wild-type SARS-CoV-2. INTERPRETATION: The ChAdOx1 nCoV-19 vaccine remained effective against moderate-to-severe COVID-19, even during a surge that was dominated by the highly transmissible delta variant of SARS-CoV-2. Spike-specific T-cell responses were maintained against the delta variant. Such cellular immune protection might compensate for waning humoral immunity. FUNDING: Department of Biotechnology India, Council of Scientific and Industrial Research India, and Fondation Botnar.


Subject(s)
COVID-19 , SARS-CoV-2 , Antibody Formation , COVID-19/epidemiology , COVID-19/prevention & control , COVID-19 Vaccines , Case-Control Studies , Humans , Vaccination
6.
EuropePMC; 2022.
Preprint in English | EuropePMC | ID: ppcovidwho-330210

ABSTRACT

The emergence of new variants of SARS-CoV-2 necessitates unremitting efforts to discover novel therapeutic mAbs. Here, we report an extremely potent mAb named P4A2 that can neutralize all the circulating variants of concerns (VOCs) with high efficiency, including the highly transmissible Omicron. The crystal structure of the P4A2 Fab:RBD complex revealed that the residues of the RBD that interact with P4A2 are part of the ACE2-receptor-binding motif and are not mutated in any of the VOCs. The pan coronavirus pseudotyped neutralization assay confirmed that the P4A2 mAb is specific for SARS-CoV-2 and its VOCs. Passive administration of P4A2 to K18-hACE2 transgenic mice conferred protection, both prophylactically and therapeutically, against challenge with VOCs. Overall, our data shows that, the P4A2 mAb has immense therapeutic potential to neutralize the current circulating VOCs and will be highly effective against future variants as well due to its unique mode of binding.

7.
EuropePMC; 2022.
Preprint in English | EuropePMC | ID: ppcovidwho-330074

ABSTRACT

The underlying factors contributing to the evolution of SARS-CoV-2-specific T cell response during COVID-19 infection remain unidentified. To address this, we characterized innate and adaptive immune responses with metabolomic profiling longitudinally at three different time points (0-4, 7-9, and 14-16 days post-COVID-19 positivity) from young mildly symptomatic active COVID-19 patients who got infected with ancestral virus. We observed the induction of anti-RBD and SARS-CoV-2 neutralizing antibodies together with antigen-specific T cell responses as early as 0-4 days post-infection. T cell responses were largely preserved against the delta and omicron variants as compared to the ancestral strain. We determined innate immune responses at an early (days 0-4 post-COVID-19 positivity) time point of active infection in response to TLR 3/7/8 mediated activation. Interestingly, the innate immune response exhibited by the elevated levels of IL-6, IL-1β, and IL-23 correlated with a robust SARS-CoV-2-specific Th1 response at the later time point (14-16 days post covid positivity). To further understand the association of metabolic pathways induced upon active COVID-19 infection with innate and T cell response, metabolomic profiling was performed. As compared to healthy individuals, COVID-19 patients displayed a distinct metabolic signature with an enrichment of pyroglutamate, itaconate, and azelaic acid, which correlated with the SARS-CoV-2-induced innate and T cells response. Our observations reveal mechanisms and potential interventional approaches that may assist in COVID-19 therapeutics and vaccine adjuvant strategies. One Sentence Summary T cell Immune response against SARS-CoV-2 is driven by a proinflammatory innate immune response and an associated metabolic signature in young adults.

8.
Microbiol Spectr ; 9(3): e0110821, 2021 12 22.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1559792

ABSTRACT

Equitable and timely access to COVID-19-related care has emerged as a major challenge, especially in developing and low-income countries. In India, ∼65% of the population lives in villages where infrastructural constraints limit the access to molecular diagnostics of COVID-19 infection. Especially, the requirement of a cold chain transport for sustained sample integrity and associated biosafety challenges pose major bottlenecks to the equitable access. Here, we developed an innovative clinical specimen collection medium, named SupraSens microbial transport medium (SSTM). SSTM allowed a cold chain-independent transport at a wide temperature range (15°C to 40°C) and directly inactivated SARS-CoV-2 (<15 min). Evaluation of SSTM compared to commercial viral transport medium (VTM) in field studies (n = 181 patients) highlighted that, for the samples from same patients, SSTM could capture more symptomatic (∼26.67%, 4/15) and asymptomatic (52.63%, 10/19) COVID-19 patients. Compared to VTM, SSTM yielded significantly lower quantitative PCR (qPCR) threshold cycle (Ct) values (mean ΔCt > -3.50), thereby improving diagnostic sensitivity of SSTM (18.79% [34/181]) versus that of VTM (11.05% [20/181]). Overall, SSTM had detection of COVID-19 patients 70% higher than that of VTM. Since the logistical and infrastructural constraints are not unique to India, our study highlights the invaluable global utility of SSTM as a key to accurately identify those infected and control COVID-19 transmission. Taken together, our data provide a strong justification to the adoption of SSTM for sample collection and transport during the pandemic. IMPORTANCE Approximately forty-four percent of the global population lives in villages, including 59% in Africa (https://unhabitat.org/World%20Cities%20Report%202020). The fast-evolving nature of SARS-CoV-2 and its extremely contagious nature warrant early and accurate COVID-19 diagnostics across rural and urban population as a key to prevent viral transmission. Unfortunately, lack of adequate infrastructure, including the availability of biosafety-compliant facilities and an end-to-end cold chain availability for COVID-19 molecular diagnosis, limits the accessibility of testing in these countries. Here, we fulfill this urgent unmet need by developing a sample collection and transport medium, SSTM, that does not require cold chain, neutralizes the virus quickly, and maintains the sample integrity at broad temperature range without compromising sensitivity. Further, we observed that use of SSTM in field studies during pandemic improved the diagnostic sensitivity, thereby establishing the feasibility of molecular testing even in the infrastructural constraints of remote, hilly, or rural communities in India and elsewhere.


Subject(s)
COVID-19/diagnosis , SARS-CoV-2/isolation & purification , Specimen Handling/methods , COVID-19/virology , COVID-19 Testing , Containment of Biohazards , Culture Media/chemistry , Culture Media/metabolism , Humans , Molecular Diagnostic Techniques , Real-Time Polymerase Chain Reaction , SARS-CoV-2/genetics , SARS-CoV-2/metabolism , Specimen Handling/instrumentation
9.
2021.
Preprint in English | Other preprints | ID: ppcovidwho-296195

ABSTRACT

Immunization is expected to confer protection against infection and severe disease for vaccinees, while reducing risks to unimmunized populations by inhibiting transmission. Here, based on serial serological studies, we show that during a severe SARS-CoV2 Delta-variant outbreak in Delhi, 25.3% (95% CI 16.9 - 35.2) of previously uninfected, ChAdOx1-nCoV19 double vaccinated, healthcare-workers (HCW) were infected within a period of less than two months, based on serology. Induction of anti-spike response was similar between groups with breakthrough infection (541 U/ml, IQR 374) or not (342 U/ml, IQR 497), as was induction of neutralization activity to wildtype. Most infections were unrecognized. The Delta-variant thus causes frequent unrecognized breakthrough infections in adequately immunized subjects, reducing any herd-effect of immunity, and requiring reinstatement of preventive measures such as masking.

10.
Front Pharmacol ; 12: 746729, 2021.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1497115

ABSTRACT

Severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV2) infection initiates with viral entry in the upper respiratory tract, leading to coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19). Severe COVID-19 is characterized by pulmonary pathologies associated with respiratory failure. Thus, therapeutics aimed at inhibiting the entry of the virus or its internalization in the upper respiratory tract are of interest. Herein, we report the prophylactic application of two intranasal formulations provided by the National Medicinal Plant Board (NMPB), Anu oil and til tailya, in the hamster model of SARS-CoV-2 infection. Prophylactic intra-nasal instillation of these oil formulations exhibited reduced viral load in lungs and resulted in reduced body weight loss and lung-pneumonitis. In line with reduced viral load, histopathological analysis revealed a reduction in lung pathology in the Anu oil group as compared to the control infected group. However, the til tailya group did not show a significant reduction in lung pathology. Furthermore, molecular analysis using mRNA expression profiling indicated reduced expression of pro-inflammatory cytokine genes, including Th1 and Th17 cytokines for both the intranasal formulations as a result of decreased viral load. Together, the prophylactic intranasal application of Anu oil seems to be useful in limiting both viral load and severity in SARS-CoV2 infection in the hamster model.

11.
Int Immunopharmacol ; 101(Pt B): 108187, 2021 Dec.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1440132

ABSTRACT

Cross-reactivity among the two diverse viruses is believed to originate from the concept of antibodies recognizing similar epitopes on the two viral surfaces. Cross-reactive antibody responses have been seen in previous variants of SARS and SARS-CoV-2, but little is known about the cross reactivity with other similar RNA viruses like HIV-1. In the present study, we examined the reactivity the SARS-CoV-2 directed antibodies, via spike, immunized mice sera and demonstrated whether they conferred any cross-reactive neutralization against HIV-1. Our findings show that SARS-CoV-2 spike immunized mice antibodies cross-react with the HIV-1 Env protein. Cross-neutralization among the two viruses is uncommon, suggesting the presence of a non-neutralizing antibody response to conserved epitopes amongst the two viruses. Our results indicate, that SARS-CoV-2 spike antibody cross reactivity is targeted towards the gp41 region of the HIV-1 Env (gp160) protein. Overall, our investigation not only answers a crucial question about the understanding of cross-reactive epitopes of antibodies generated in different viral infections, but also provides critical evidence for developing vaccine immunogens and novel treatment strategies with enhanced efficacy capable of recognising diverse pathogens with similar antigenic features.


Subject(s)
Antibodies, Viral/immunology , HIV Envelope Protein gp41/immunology , Spike Glycoprotein, Coronavirus/immunology , Animals , Cross Reactions , Mice, Inbred BALB C , Mice, Inbred C57BL , Recombinant Proteins/immunology , Spike Glycoprotein, Coronavirus/genetics
12.
PLoS Comput Biol ; 17(9): e1009384, 2021 09.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1405333

ABSTRACT

Apart from the canonical fingers, palm and thumb domains, the RNA dependent RNA polymerases (RdRp) from the viral order Nidovirales possess two additional domains. Of these, the function of the Nidovirus RdRp associated nucleotidyl transferase domain (NiRAN) remains unanswered. The elucidation of the 3D structure of RdRp from the severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus-2 (SARS-CoV-2), provided the first ever insights into the domain organisation and possible functional characteristics of the NiRAN domain. Using in silico tools, we predict that the NiRAN domain assumes a kinase or phosphotransferase like fold and binds nucleoside triphosphates at its proposed active site. Additionally, using molecular docking we have predicted the binding of three widely used kinase inhibitors and five well characterized anti-microbial compounds at the NiRAN domain active site along with their drug-likeliness. For the first time ever, using basic biochemical tools, this study shows the presence of a kinase like activity exhibited by the SARS-CoV-2 RdRp. Interestingly, a well-known kinase inhibitor- Sorafenib showed a significant inhibition and dampened viral load in SARS-CoV-2 infected cells. In line with the current global COVID-19 pandemic urgency and the emergence of newer strains with significantly higher infectivity, this study provides a new anti-SARS-CoV-2 drug target and potential lead compounds for drug repurposing against SARS-CoV-2.


Subject(s)
Antiviral Agents/pharmacology , Coronavirus RNA-Dependent RNA Polymerase/antagonists & inhibitors , Protein Domains , SARS-CoV-2/drug effects , Catalytic Domain , Computer Simulation , Coronavirus RNA-Dependent RNA Polymerase/chemistry , Coronavirus RNA-Dependent RNA Polymerase/metabolism , Humans
13.
Int Immunopharmacol ; 99: 108020, 2021 Oct.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1330896

ABSTRACT

The spike protein of the SARS-CoV-2 virus is the foremost target for the designing of vaccines and therapeutic antibodies and also acts as a crucial antigen in the assessment of COVID-19 immune responses. The enveloped viruses; such as SARS-CoV-2, Human Immunodeficiency Virus-1 (HIV-1) and influenza, often hijack host-cell glycosylation pathways and influence pathobiology and immune selection. These glycan motifs can lead to either immune evasion or viral neutralization by the production of cross-reactive antibodies that can lead to antibody-dependent enhancement (ADE) of infection. Potential cross-protection from influenza vaccine has also been reported in COVID-19 infected individuals in several epidemiological studies recently; however, the scientific basis for these observations remains elusive. Herein, we show that the anti-SARS-CoV2 antibodies cross-reacts with the Hemagglutinin (HA) protein. This phenomenon is common to both the sera from convalescent SARS-CoV-2 donors and spike immunized mice, although these antibodies were unable to cross-neutralize, suggesting the presence of a non-neutralizing antibody response. Epitope mapping suggests that the cross-reactive antibodies are targeted towards glycan epitopes of the SARS-CoV-2 spike and HA. Overall, our findings address the cross-reactive responses, although non-neutralizing, elicited against RNA viruses and warrant further studies to investigate whether such non-neutralizing antibody responses can contribute to effector functions such as antibody-dependent cellular cytotoxicity (ADCC) or ADE.


Subject(s)
COVID-19/immunology , Cross Reactions/immunology , Hemagglutinin Glycoproteins, Influenza Virus/immunology , Spike Glycoprotein, Coronavirus/immunology , Animals , Antibodies, Neutralizing , Antigen-Antibody Reactions , Binding Sites, Antibody/immunology , Cell Culture Techniques , Chlorocebus aethiops , Dogs , Epitope Mapping , Epitopes/immunology , Glycosylation , Humans , Influenza Vaccines/immunology , Madin Darby Canine Kidney Cells , Membrane Glycoproteins/metabolism , Mice , Mice, Inbred C57BL , SARS-CoV-2/immunology , Vero Cells
15.
ACS Infect Dis ; 7(8): 2546-2564, 2021 08 13.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1309427

ABSTRACT

The receptor binding domain (RBD) of SARS-CoV-2 is the primary target of neutralizing antibodies. We designed a trimeric, highly thermotolerant glycan engineered RBD by fusion to a heterologous, poorly immunogenic disulfide linked trimerization domain derived from cartilage matrix protein. The protein expressed at a yield of ∼80-100 mg/L in transiently transfected Expi293 cells, as well as CHO and HEK293 stable cell lines and formed homogeneous disulfide-linked trimers. When lyophilized, these possessed remarkable functional stability to transient thermal stress of up to 100 °C and were stable to long-term storage of over 4 weeks at 37 °C unlike an alternative RBD-trimer with a different trimerization domain. Two intramuscular immunizations with a human-compatible SWE adjuvanted formulation elicited antibodies with pseudoviral neutralizing titers in guinea pigs and mice that were 25-250 fold higher than corresponding values in human convalescent sera. Against the beta (B.1.351) variant of concern (VOC), pseudoviral neutralization titers for RBD trimer were ∼3-fold lower than against wildtype B.1 virus. RBD was also displayed on a designed ferritin-like Msdps2 nanoparticle. This showed decreased yield and immunogenicity relative to trimeric RBD. Replicative virus neutralization assays using mouse sera demonstrated that antibodies induced by the trimers neutralized all four VOC to date, namely B.1.1.7, B.1.351, P.1, and B.1.617.2 without significant differences. Trimeric RBD immunized hamsters were protected from viral challenge. The excellent immunogenicity, thermotolerance, and high yield of these immunogens suggest that they are a promising modality to combat COVID-19, including all SARS-CoV-2 VOC to date.


Subject(s)
COVID-19 , Thermotolerance , Animals , Antibodies, Viral , COVID-19/therapy , Guinea Pigs , HEK293 Cells , Humans , Immunization, Passive , Mice , SARS-CoV-2 , Spike Glycoprotein, Coronavirus
16.
mSystems ; 6(4): e0064321, 2021 Aug 31.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1307880

ABSTRACT

Severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2) is a positive-strand RNA virus. The viral genome is capped at the 5' end, followed by an untranslated region (UTR). There is a poly(A) tail at the 3' end, preceded by a UTR. The self-interaction between the RNA regulatory elements present within the 5' and 3' UTRs and their interaction with host/virus-encoded proteins mediate the function of the 5' and 3' UTRs. Using an RNA-protein interaction detection (RaPID) assay coupled to liquid chromatography with tandem mass spectrometry, we identified host interaction partners of SARS-CoV-2 5' and 3' UTRs and generated an RNA-protein interaction network. By combining these data with the previously known protein-protein interaction data proposed to be involved in virus replication, we generated the RNA-protein-protein interaction (RPPI) network, likely to be essential for controlling SARS-CoV-2 replication. Notably, bioinformatics analysis of the RPPI network revealed the enrichment of factors involved in translation initiation and RNA metabolism. Lysosome-associated membrane protein-2a (Lamp2a), the receptor for chaperone-mediated autophagy, is one of the host proteins that interact with the 5' UTR. Further studies showed that the Lamp2 level is upregulated in SARS-CoV-2-infected cells and that the absence of the Lamp2a isoform enhanced the viral RNA level whereas its overexpression significantly reduced the viral RNA level. Lamp2a and viral RNA colocalize in the infected cells, and there is an increased autophagic flux in infected cells, although there is no change in the formation of autophagolysosomes. In summary, our study provides a useful resource of SARS-CoV-2 5' and 3' UTR binding proteins and reveals the role of Lamp2a protein during SARS-CoV-2 infection. IMPORTANCE Replication of a positive-strand RNA virus involves an RNA-protein complex consisting of viral genomic RNA, host RNA(s), virus-encoded proteins, and host proteins. Dissecting out individual components of the replication complex will help decode the mechanism of viral replication. 5' and 3' UTRs in positive-strand RNA viruses play essential regulatory roles in virus replication. Here, we identified the host proteins that associate with the UTRs of SARS-CoV-2, combined those data with the previously known protein-protein interaction data (expected to be involved in virus replication), and generated the RNA-protein-protein interaction (RPPI) network. Analysis of the RPPI network revealed the enrichment of factors involved in translation initiation and RNA metabolism, which are important for virus replication. Analysis of one of the interaction partners of the 5'-UTR (Lamp2a) demonstrated its role in reducing the viral RNA level in SARS-CoV-2-infected cells. Collectively, our study provides a resource of SARS-CoV-2 UTR-binding proteins and identifies an important role for host Lamp2a protein during viral infection.

17.
Front Immunol ; 12: 641447, 2021.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1264330

ABSTRACT

The newly emerged novel coronavirus, SARS-CoV-2, the causative agent of COVID-19 has proven to be a threat to the human race globally, thus, vaccine development against SARS-CoV-2 is an unmet need driving mass vaccination efforts. The receptor binding domain of the spike protein of this coronavirus has multiple neutralizing epitopes and is associated with viral entry. Here we have designed and characterized the SARS-CoV-2 spike protein fragment 330-526 as receptor binding domain 330-526 (RBD330-526) with two native glycosylation sites (N331 and N343); as a potential subunit vaccine candidate. We initially characterized RBD330-526 biochemically and investigated its thermal stability, humoral and T cell immune response of various RBD protein formulations (with or without adjuvant) to evaluate the inherent immunogenicity and immunomodulatory effect. Our result showed that the purified RBD immunogen is stable up to 72 h, without any apparent loss in affinity or specificity of interaction with the ACE2 receptor. Upon immunization in mice, RBD generates a high titer humoral response, elevated IFN-γ producing CD4+ cells, cytotoxic T cells, and robust neutralizing antibodies against live SARS-CoV-2 virus. Our results collectively support the potential of RBD330-526 as a promising vaccine candidate against SARS-CoV-2.


Subject(s)
Antibodies, Viral/blood , COVID-19 Vaccines/administration & dosage , Immunity, Humoral/drug effects , Immunogenicity, Vaccine , Peptide Fragments/administration & dosage , Spike Glycoprotein, Coronavirus/administration & dosage , Th1 Cells/drug effects , Adjuvants, Immunologic/administration & dosage , Animals , Biomarkers/blood , COVID-19 Vaccines/immunology , Chlorocebus aethiops , Drug Stability , Glycosylation , HEK293 Cells , Humans , Immunization , Interferon-gamma/blood , Male , Mice, Inbred C57BL , Peptide Fragments/immunology , Protein Interaction Domains and Motifs , Protein Stability , Spike Glycoprotein, Coronavirus/immunology , Th1 Cells/immunology , Th1 Cells/metabolism , Vaccines, Subunit/administration & dosage , Vaccines, Subunit/immunology , Vero Cells
18.
Front Cell Infect Microbiol ; 11: 596201, 2021.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1190293

ABSTRACT

COVID-19 is a Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome (SARS), caused by SARS-CoV-2, a novel virus which belongs to the family Coronaviridae. It was first reported in December 2019 in the Wuhan city of China and soon after, the virus and hence the disease got spread to the entire world. As of February 26, 2021, SARS-CoV-2 has infected ~112.20 million people and caused ~2.49 million deaths across the globe. Although the case fatality rate among SARS-CoV-2 patient is lower (~2.15%) than its earlier relatives, SARS-CoV (~9.5%) and MERS-CoV (~34.4%), the SARS-CoV-2 has been observed to be more infectious and caused higher morbidity and mortality worldwide. As of now, only the knowledge regarding potential transmission routes and the rapidly developed diagnostics has been guiding the world for managing the disease indicating an immediate need for a detailed understanding of the pathogen and the disease-biology. Over a very short period of time, researchers have generated a lot of information in unprecedented ways in the key areas, including viral entry into the host, dominant mutation, potential transmission routes, diagnostic targets and their detection assays, potential therapeutic targets and drug molecules for inhibiting viral entry and/or its replication in the host including cross-neutralizing antibodies and vaccine candidates that could help us to combat the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic. In the current review, we have summarized the available knowledge about the pathogen and the disease, COVID-19. We believe that this readily available knowledge base would serve as a valuable resource to the scientific and clinical community and may help in faster development of the solution to combat the disease.


Subject(s)
COVID-19/mortality , Global Health , Pandemics , China/epidemiology , Humans , SARS-CoV-2
19.
Front Immunol ; 12: 613045, 2021.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1177974

ABSTRACT

Severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2) initiates infection by attachment of the surface-exposed spike glycoprotein to the host cell receptors. The spike glycoprotein (S) is a promising target for inducing immune responses and providing protection; thus the ongoing efforts for the SARS-CoV-2 vaccine and therapeutic developments are mostly spiraling around S glycoprotein. The matured functional spike glycoprotein is presented on the virion surface as trimers, which contain two subunits, such as S1 (virus attachment) and S2 (virus fusion). The S1 subunit harbors the N-terminal domain (NTD) and the receptor-binding domain (RBD). The RBD is responsible for binding to host-cellular receptor angiotensin-converting enzyme 2 (ACE2). The NTD and RBD of S1, and the S2 of S glycoprotein are the major structural moieties to design and develop spike-based vaccine candidates and therapeutics. Here, we have identified three novel epitopes (20-amino acid peptides) in the regions NTD, RBD, and S2 domains, respectively, by structural and immunoinformatic analysis. We have shown as a proof of principle in the murine model, the potential role of these novel epitopes in-inducing humoral and cellular immune responses. Further analysis has shown that RBD and S2 directed epitopes were able to efficiently inhibit the replication of SARS-CoV-2 wild-type virus in vitro suggesting their role as virus entry inhibitors. Structural analysis revealed that S2-epitope is a part of the heptad repeat 2 (HR2) domain which might have plausible inhibitory effects on virus fusion. Taken together, this study discovered novel epitopes that might have important implications in the development of potential SARS-CoV-2 spike-based vaccine and therapeutics.


Subject(s)
Epitopes/immunology , SARS-CoV-2/physiology , Spike Glycoprotein, Coronavirus/immunology , Virus Replication/immunology , Animals , COVID-19 Vaccines/immunology , Female , Humans , Mice , Mice, Inbred BALB C , Protein Domains , Virus Internalization
20.
J Biol Chem ; 296: 100025, 2021.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1066050

ABSTRACT

Virtually all SARS-CoV-2 vaccines currently in clinical testing are stored in a refrigerated or frozen state prior to use. This is a major impediment to deployment in resource-poor settings. Furthermore, several of them use viral vectors or mRNA. In contrast to protein subunit vaccines, there is limited manufacturing expertise for these nucleic-acid-based modalities, especially in the developing world. Neutralizing antibodies, the clearest known correlate of protection against SARS-CoV-2, are primarily directed against the receptor-binding domain (RBD) of the viral spike protein, suggesting that a suitable RBD construct might serve as a more accessible vaccine ingredient. We describe a monomeric, glycan-engineered RBD protein fragment that is expressed at a purified yield of 214 mg/l in unoptimized, mammalian cell culture and, in contrast to a stabilized spike ectodomain, is tolerant of exposure to temperatures as high as 100 °C when lyophilized, up to 70 °C in solution and stable for over 4 weeks at 37 °C. In prime:boost guinea pig immunizations, when formulated with the MF59-like adjuvant AddaVax, the RBD derivative elicited neutralizing antibodies with an endpoint geometric mean titer of ∼415 against replicative virus, comparing favorably with several vaccine formulations currently in the clinic. These features of high yield, extreme thermotolerance, and satisfactory immunogenicity suggest that such RBD subunit vaccine formulations hold great promise to combat COVID-19.


Subject(s)
Angiotensin-Converting Enzyme 2/immunology , Antibodies, Viral/biosynthesis , COVID-19 Vaccines/biosynthesis , COVID-19/prevention & control , Receptors, Virus/immunology , SARS-CoV-2/immunology , Spike Glycoprotein, Coronavirus/immunology , Angiotensin-Converting Enzyme 2/chemistry , Angiotensin-Converting Enzyme 2/genetics , Animals , Antibodies, Neutralizing/biosynthesis , Binding Sites , COVID-19/immunology , COVID-19/virology , COVID-19 Vaccines/administration & dosage , COVID-19 Vaccines/genetics , Escherichia coli/genetics , Escherichia coli/metabolism , Female , Guinea Pigs , HEK293 Cells , Hot Temperature , Humans , Immunogenicity, Vaccine , Models, Molecular , Protein Binding , Protein Conformation, alpha-Helical , Protein Conformation, beta-Strand , Protein Domains , Protein Interaction Domains and Motifs , Protein Stability , Receptors, Virus/chemistry , Receptors, Virus/genetics , Recombinant Proteins/chemistry , Recombinant Proteins/genetics , Recombinant Proteins/immunology , SARS-CoV-2/chemistry , Spike Glycoprotein, Coronavirus/chemistry , Spike Glycoprotein, Coronavirus/genetics , Vaccination , Vaccine Potency
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