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1.
Vaccine ; 40(20): 2848-2855, 2022 May 03.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1768584

ABSTRACT

Vaccines for SARS-CoV-2 have been hugely successful in alleviating hospitalization and deaths caused by the newly emerged coronavirus that is the cause of COVID. However, although the parentally administered vaccines are very effective at reducing severe disease, they do not induce sterilizing immunity. As the virus continues to circulate around the globe, it is still not clear how long protection will last, nor whether variants will emerge that escape vaccine immunity. Animal models can be useful to complement studies of antigenicity of novel variants and inform decision making about the need for vaccine updates. The Syrian golden hamster is the preferred small animal model for SARS-CoV-2 infection. Since virus is efficiently transmitted between hamsters, we developed a transmission challenge model that presents a more natural dose and route of infection than the intranasal challenge usually employed. Our studies demonstrate that an saRNA vaccine based on the earliest Wuhan-like virus spike sequence induced neutralizing antibodies in sera of immunized hamsters at similar titres to those in human convalescent sera or vaccine recipients. The saRNA vaccine was equally effective at abrogating clinical signs in animals who acquired through exposure to cagemates infected either with a virus isolated in summer 2020 or with a representative Alpha (B.1.1.7) variant isolated in December 2020. The vaccine also reduced shedding of infectious virus from the nose, further reinforcing its likely effectiveness at reducing onwards transmission. This model can be extended to test the effectiveness of vaccination in blocking infections with and transmission of novel variants as they emerge.


Subject(s)
COVID-19 , Viral Vaccines , Animals , COVID-19/prevention & control , COVID-19/therapy , COVID-19 Vaccines , Cricetinae , Humans , Immunization, Passive , SARS-CoV-2 , Vaccines, Synthetic
2.
SSRN;
Preprint in English | SSRN | ID: ppcovidwho-325961

ABSTRACT

Vaccines for SARS-CoV-2 have been hugely successful in alleviating hospitalization and deaths caused by the newly emerged coronavirus that is the cause of COVID. However, although the parentally administered vaccines are very effective at reducing severe disease, they do not induce sterilizing immunity. As the virus continues to circulate around the globe, it is still not clear how long protection will last, nor whether variants will emerge that escape vaccine immunity. Animal models can be useful to complement studies of antigenicity of novel variants and inform decision making about the need for vaccine updates. The Syrian golden hamster is the preferred small animal model for SARS-CoV-2 infection. Since virus is efficiently transmitted between hamsters, we developed a transmission challenge model that presents a more natural dose and route of infection than the intranasal challenge usually employed. Our studies demonstrate that an saRNA vaccine based on the earliest Wuhan-like virus spike sequence induced neutralizing antibodies in sera of immunized hamsters at similar titres to those in human convalescent sera or vaccine recipients. The saRNA vaccine was equally effective at abrogating clinical signs in animals who acquired through exposure to cagemates infected either with a virus isolated in summer 2020 or with a representative Alpha (B.1.1.7) variant isolated in December 2020. The vaccine also reduced shedding of infectious virus from the nose, further reinforcing its likely effectiveness at reducing onwards transmission. This model can be extended to test the effectiveness of vaccination in blocking infections with and transmission of novel variants as they emerge. Note: Funding Information: This study was supported by The Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation [INV-016635]. We acknowledge the G2P-UK National Virology consortium funded by MRC/UKRI (grant ref: MR/W005611/1) for contributing funding for this work. RK was supported by Wellcome fellowship no. 216353/Z/19/Z. Declaration of Interests: Robin Shattock and Paul McKay RJS and PFM are co-inventors on a patent application covering this SARS-CoV-2 saRNA vaccine. All other authors have nothing to declare. Ethics Approval Statement: All work performed was approved by the local genetic manipulation (GM) safety committee of 217 Imperial College London, St. Mary’s Campus (centre number GM77), and the Health and Safety 218 Executive of the United Kingdom, under reference CBA1.77.20.1. Animal research was carried out 219 under a United Kingdom Home Office License, P48DAD9B4. Keywords: SARS-CoV-2, variant, saRNA, hamster, Transmission

3.
Cell Rep ; 38(6): 110344, 2022 02 08.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1639571

ABSTRACT

SARS-CoV-2 has a broad mammalian species tropism infecting humans, cats, dogs, and farmed mink. Since the start of the 2019 pandemic, several reverse zoonotic outbreaks of SARS-CoV-2 have occurred in mink, one of which reinfected humans and caused a cluster of infections in Denmark. Here we investigate the molecular basis of mink and ferret adaptation and demonstrate the spike mutations Y453F, F486L, and N501T all specifically adapt SARS-CoV-2 to use mustelid ACE2. Furthermore, we risk assess these mutations and conclude mink-adapted viruses are unlikely to pose an increased threat to humans, as Y453F attenuates the virus replication in human cells and all three mink adaptations have minimal antigenic impact. Finally, we show that certain SARS-CoV-2 variants emerging from circulation in humans may naturally have a greater propensity to infect mustelid hosts and therefore these species should continue to be surveyed for reverse zoonotic infections.


Subject(s)
Adaptation, Biological/immunology , SARS-CoV-2/genetics , Viral Zoonoses/genetics , Animals , COVID-19 , Ferrets/immunology , Genetic Fitness/genetics , Humans , Mink/immunology , Mutation , Pandemics , Respiratory System/virology , SARS-CoV-2/pathogenicity , Spike Glycoprotein, Coronavirus/immunology
4.
EClinicalMedicine ; 44: 101262, 2022 Feb.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1620636

ABSTRACT

BACKGROUND: Lipid nanoparticle (LNP) encapsulated self-amplifying RNA (saRNA) is a novel technology formulated as a low dose vaccine against COVID-19. METHODS: A phase I first-in-human dose-ranging trial of a saRNA COVID-19 vaccine candidate LNP-nCoVsaRNA, was conducted at Imperial Clinical Research Facility, and participating centres in London, UK, between 19th June to 28th October 2020. Participants received two intramuscular (IM) injections of LNP-nCoVsaRNA at six different dose levels, 0.1-10.0µg, given four weeks apart. An open-label dose escalation was followed by a dose evaluation. Solicited adverse events (AEs) were collected for one week from enrolment, with follow-up at regular intervals (1-8 weeks). The binding and neutralisation capacity of anti-SARS-CoV-2 antibody raised in participant sera was measured by means of an anti-Spike (S) IgG ELISA, immunoblot, SARS-CoV-2 pseudoneutralisation and wild type neutralisation assays. (The trial is registered: ISRCTN17072692, EudraCT 2020-001646-20). FINDINGS: 192 healthy individuals with no history or serological evidence of COVID-19, aged 18-45 years were enrolled. The vaccine was well tolerated with no serious adverse events related to vaccination. Seroconversion at week six whether measured by ELISA or immunoblot was related to dose (both p<0.001), ranging from 8% (3/39; 0.1µg) to 61% (14/23; 10.0µg) in ELISA and 46% (18/39; 0.3µg) to 87% (20/23; 5.0µg and 10.0µg) in a post-hoc immunoblot assay. Geometric mean (GM) anti-S IgG concentrations ranged from 74 (95% CI, 45-119) at 0.1µg to 1023 (468-2236) ng/mL at 5.0µg (p<0.001) and was not higher at 10.0µg. Neutralisation of SARS-CoV-2 by participant sera was measurable in 15% (6/39; 0.1µg) to 48% (11/23; 5.0µg) depending on dose level received. INTERPRETATION: Encapsulated saRNA is safe for clinical development, is immunogenic at low dose levels but failed to induce 100% seroconversion. Modifications to optimise humoral responses are required to realise its potential as an effective vaccine against SARS-CoV-2. FUNDING: This study was co-funded by grants and gifts from the Medical Research Council UKRI (MC_PC_19076), and the National Institute Health Research/Vaccine Task Force, Partners of Citadel and Citadel Securities, Sir Joseph Hotung Charitable Settlement, Jon Moulton Charity Trust, Pierre Andurand, Restore the Earth.

5.
J Clin Immunol ; 42(3): 448-458, 2022 04.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1616195

ABSTRACT

SARS-CoV-2 vaccination is known to induce antibodies that recognize also variants of concerns (VoCs) of the virus. However, epidemiological and laboratory evidences indicate that these antibodies have a reduced neutralization ability against VoCs. We studied binding and neutralizing antibodies against the Spike protein domains and subunits of the Wuhan-Hu-1 virus and its alpha, beta, delta VoCs and of seasonal betacoronaviruses (HKU1 and OC43) in a cohort of 31 health care workers prospectively followed post-vaccination with BNT162b2-Comirnaty. The study of sequential samples collected up to 64 days post-vaccination showed that serological assays measuring IgG against Wuhan-Hu-1 antigens were a poor proxy for VoC neutralization. In addition, in subjects who had asymptomatic or mild COVID-19 prior to vaccination, the loss of nAbs following disease could be rapid and accompanied by post-vaccination antibody levels similar to those of naïve vaccinees. Interestingly, in health care workers naïve for SARS-CoV-2 infection, vaccination induced a rapid and transient reactivation of pre-existing seasonal coronaviruses IgG responses that was associated with a subsequent reduced ability to neutralize alpha and beta VoCs.


Subject(s)
COVID-19 , SARS-CoV-2 , Antibodies, Neutralizing , Antibodies, Viral , COVID-19/prevention & control , COVID-19 Vaccines , Humans , Immunoglobulin G , Seasons , Vaccination
6.
Eur J Immunol ; 2021 Aug 06.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1589126

ABSTRACT

TRIANNI mice carry an entire set of human immunoglobulin V region gene segments and are a powerful tool to rapidly isolate human monoclonal antibodies. After immunizing these mice with DNA encoding the spike protein of SARS-CoV-2 and boosting with spike protein, we identified 29 hybridoma antibodies that reacted with the SARS-CoV-2 spike protein. Nine antibodies neutralize SARS-CoV-2 infection at IC50 values in the subnanomolar range. ELISA-binding studies and DNA sequence analyses revealed one cluster of three clonally related neutralizing antibodies that target the receptor-binding domain and compete with the cellular receptor hACE2. A second cluster of six clonally related neutralizing antibodies bind to the N-terminal domain of the spike protein without competing with the binding of hACE2 or cluster 1 antibodies. SARS-CoV-2 mutants selected for resistance to an antibody from one cluster are still neutralized by an antibody from the other cluster. Antibodies from both clusters markedly reduced viral spread in mice transgenic for human ACE2 and protected the animals from SARS-CoV-2-induced weight loss. The two clusters of potent noncompeting SARS-CoV-2 neutralizing antibodies provide potential candidates for therapy and prophylaxis of COVID-19. The study further supports transgenic animals with a human immunoglobulin gene repertoire as a powerful platform in pandemic preparedness initiatives.

7.
Front Immunol ; 12: 750386, 2021.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1515534

ABSTRACT

Antibodies targeting Receptor Binding Domain (RBD) of SARS-CoV-2 have been suggested to account for the majority of neutralizing activity in COVID-19 convalescent sera and several neutralizing antibodies (nAbs) have been isolated, characterized and proposed as emergency therapeutics in the form of monoclonal antibodies (mAbs). However, SARS-CoV-2 variants are rapidly spreading worldwide from the sites of initial identification. The variants of concern (VOC) B.1.1.7 (Alpha), B.1.351 (Beta), P.1 (Gamma) and B.1.167.2 (Delta) showed mutations in the SARS-CoV-2 spike protein potentially able to cause escape from nAb responses with a consequent reduction of efficacy of vaccines and mAbs-based therapy. We produced the recombinant RBD (rRBD) of SARS-CoV-2 spike glycoprotein from the Wuhan-Hu 1 reference sequence in a mammalian system, for mice immunization to isolate new mAbs with neutralizing activity. Here we describe four mAbs that were able to bind the rRBD in Enzyme-Linked Immunosorbent Assay and the transmembrane full-length spike protein expressed in HEK293T cells by flow cytometry assay. Moreover, the mAbs recognized the RBD in supernatants of SARS-CoV-2 infected VERO E6 cells by Western Blot under non-reducing condition or in supernatants of cells infected with lentivirus pseudotyped for spike protein, by immunoprecipitation assay. Three out of four mAbs lost their binding efficiency to completely N-deglycosylated rRBD and none was able to bind the same recombinant protein expressed in Escherichia coli, suggesting that the epitopes recognized by three mAbs are generated by the conformational structure of the glycosylated native protein. Of particular relevance, three mAbs were able to inhibit Wuhan SARS-CoV-2 infection of VERO E6 cells in a plaque-reduction neutralization test and the Wuhan SARS-CoV-2 as well as the Alpha, Beta, Gamma and Delta VOC in a pseudoviruses-based neutralization test. These mAbs represent important additional tools for diagnosis and therapy of COVID-19 and may contribute to the understanding of the functional structure of SARS-CoV-2 RBD.


Subject(s)
Antibodies, Monoclonal/pharmacology , Antibodies, Neutralizing/pharmacology , Antibodies, Viral/pharmacology , Epitopes/immunology , SARS-CoV-2/drug effects , Spike Glycoprotein, Coronavirus/immunology , Angiotensin-Converting Enzyme 2/genetics , Animals , Binding Sites, Antibody/immunology , COVID-19/drug therapy , Cell Line, Tumor , Chlorocebus aethiops , Female , Glycosylation , HEK293 Cells , Humans , Mice, Inbred BALB C , Neutralization Tests , SARS-CoV-2/immunology , Spike Glycoprotein, Coronavirus/genetics , Vero Cells
8.
J Control Release ; 338: 201-210, 2021 10 10.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1364213

ABSTRACT

Self-amplifying RNA (saRNA) is a next-generation vaccine platform, but like all nucleic acids, requires a delivery vehicle to promote cellular uptake and protect the saRNA from degradation. To date, delivery platforms for saRNA have included lipid nanoparticles (LNP), polyplexes and cationic nanoemulsions; of these LNP are the most clinically advanced with the recent FDA approval of COVID-19 based-modified mRNA vaccines. While the effect of RNA on vaccine immunogenicity is well studied, the role of biomaterials in saRNA vaccine effectiveness is under investigated. Here, we tested saRNA formulated with either pABOL, a bioreducible polymer, or LNP, and characterized the protein expression and vaccine immunogenicity of both platforms. We observed that pABOL-formulated saRNA resulted in a higher magnitude of protein expression, but that the LNP formulations were overall more immunogenic. Furthermore, we observed that both the helper phospholipid and route of administration (intramuscular versus intranasal) of LNP impacted the vaccine immunogenicity of two model antigens (influenza hemagglutinin and SARS-CoV-2 spike protein). We observed that LNP administered intramuscularly, but not pABOL or LNP administered intranasally, resulted in increased acute interleukin-6 expression after vaccination. Overall, these results indicate that delivery systems and routes of administration may fulfill different delivery niches within the field of saRNA genetic medicines.


Subject(s)
COVID-19 , Influenza Vaccines , Nanoparticles , Humans , Lipids , Polymers , RNA , SARS-CoV-2 , Spike Glycoprotein, Coronavirus
9.
Nat Commun ; 12(1): 2893, 2021 05 17.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1232068

ABSTRACT

Several vaccines have demonstrated efficacy against SARS-CoV-2 mediated disease, yet there is limited data on the immune response induced by heterologous vaccination regimens using alternate vaccine modalities. Here, we present a detailed description of the immune response, in mice, following vaccination with a self-amplifying RNA (saRNA) vaccine and an adenoviral vectored vaccine (ChAdOx1 nCoV-19/AZD1222) against SARS-CoV-2. We demonstrate that antibody responses are higher in two-dose heterologous vaccination regimens than single-dose regimens. Neutralising titres after heterologous prime-boost were at least comparable or higher than the titres measured after homologous prime boost vaccination with viral vectors. Importantly, the cellular immune response after a heterologous regimen is dominated by cytotoxic T cells and Th1+ CD4 T cells, which is superior to the response induced in homologous vaccination regimens in mice. These results underpin the need for clinical trials to investigate the immunogenicity of heterologous regimens with alternate vaccine technologies.


Subject(s)
COVID-19 Vaccines/administration & dosage , COVID-19/prevention & control , RNA, Viral/administration & dosage , SARS-CoV-2/immunology , Vaccination/methods , Animals , Antibodies, Neutralizing/immunology , Antibodies, Viral/immunology , COVID-19/immunology , COVID-19 Vaccines/genetics , COVID-19 Vaccines/immunology , Immunization, Secondary , Immunogenicity, Vaccine , Mice , RNA, Viral/genetics , RNA, Viral/immunology , Spike Glycoprotein, Coronavirus/genetics , Spike Glycoprotein, Coronavirus/immunology , T-Lymphocytes, Cytotoxic/immunology , Th1 Cells/immunology , Vaccines, Synthetic/administration & dosage , Vaccines, Synthetic/genetics , Vaccines, Synthetic/immunology
10.
Mol Ther ; 29(3): 1174-1185, 2021 03 03.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-985497

ABSTRACT

Self-amplifying RNA (saRNA) is a cutting-edge platform for both nucleic acid vaccines and therapeutics. saRNA is self-adjuvanting, as it activates types I and III interferon (IFN), which enhances the immunogenicity of RNA vaccines but can also lead to inhibition of translation. In this study, we screened a library of saRNA constructs with cis-encoded innate inhibiting proteins (IIPs) and determined the effect on protein expression and immunogenicity. We observed that the PIV-5 V and Middle East respiratory syndrome coronavirus (MERS-CoV) ORF4a proteins enhance protein expression 100- to 500-fold in vitro in IFN-competent HeLa and MRC5 cells. We found that the MERS-CoV ORF4a protein partially abates dose nonlinearity in vivo, and that ruxolitinib, a potent Janus kinase (JAK)/signal transducer and activator of transcription (STAT) inhibitor, but not the IIPs, enhances protein expression of saRNA in vivo. Both the PIV-5 V and MERS-CoV ORF4a proteins were found to enhance the percentage of resident cells in human skin explants expressing saRNA and completely rescued dose nonlinearity of saRNA. Finally, we observed that the MERS-CoV ORF4a increased the rabies virus (RABV)-specific immunoglobulin G (IgG) titer and neutralization half-maximal inhibitory concentration (IC50) by ∼10-fold in rabbits, but not in mice or rats. These experiments provide a proof of concept that IIPs can be directly encoded into saRNA vectors and effectively abate the nonlinear dose dependency and enhance immunogenicity.


Subject(s)
Immunity, Innate/drug effects , Immunogenicity, Vaccine , Protein Biosynthesis/drug effects , Vaccines, Synthetic/pharmacology , Viral Envelope Proteins/administration & dosage , Animals , Cell Line , Encephalitis Virus, Venezuelan Equine/drug effects , Encephalitis Virus, Venezuelan Equine/immunology , Encephalitis Virus, Venezuelan Equine/pathogenicity , Fibroblasts , Gene Expression Regulation , HeLa Cells , Host-Pathogen Interactions/genetics , Host-Pathogen Interactions/immunology , Humans , Immunoglobulin G/biosynthesis , Interferon Regulatory Factor-3/genetics , Interferon Regulatory Factor-3/immunology , Janus Kinases/antagonists & inhibitors , Janus Kinases/genetics , Janus Kinases/immunology , Mice , Middle East Respiratory Syndrome Coronavirus/drug effects , Middle East Respiratory Syndrome Coronavirus/immunology , Middle East Respiratory Syndrome Coronavirus/pathogenicity , NF-kappa B/genetics , NF-kappa B/immunology , Nitriles , Parainfluenza Virus 5/drug effects , Parainfluenza Virus 5/immunology , Parainfluenza Virus 5/pathogenicity , Pyrazoles/pharmacology , Pyrimidines , Rabbits , Rabies virus/drug effects , Rabies virus/immunology , Rabies virus/pathogenicity , Rats , STAT Transcription Factors/antagonists & inhibitors , STAT Transcription Factors/genetics , STAT Transcription Factors/immunology , Signal Transduction , Vaccines, Synthetic/biosynthesis , Viral Envelope Proteins/genetics , Viral Envelope Proteins/immunology
11.
Lancet ; 397(10275): 643-645, 2021 02 20.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1124281
12.
Nat Commun ; 11(1): 3523, 2020 07 09.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-640262

ABSTRACT

The spread of the SARS-CoV-2 into a global pandemic within a few months of onset motivates the development of a rapidly scalable vaccine. Here, we present a self-amplifying RNA encoding the SARS-CoV-2 spike protein encapsulated within a lipid nanoparticle (LNP) as a vaccine. We observe remarkably high and dose-dependent SARS-CoV-2 specific antibody titers in mouse sera, as well as robust neutralization of both a pseudo-virus and wild-type virus. Upon further characterization we find that the neutralization is proportional to the quantity of specific IgG and of higher magnitude than recovered COVID-19 patients. saRNA LNP immunizations induce a Th1-biased response in mice, and there is no antibody-dependent enhancement (ADE) observed. Finally, we observe high cellular responses, as characterized by IFN-γ production, upon re-stimulation with SARS-CoV-2 peptides. These data provide insight into the vaccine design and evaluation of immunogenicity to enable rapid translation to the clinic.


Subject(s)
Antibodies, Neutralizing/immunology , Betacoronavirus/immunology , Coronavirus Infections/prevention & control , Nanoparticles/chemistry , Pandemics/prevention & control , Pneumonia, Viral/prevention & control , Viral Vaccines/immunology , Animals , Antibodies, Viral/blood , Antibodies, Viral/metabolism , Antibody-Dependent Enhancement/immunology , Betacoronavirus/genetics , COVID-19 , COVID-19 Vaccines , Coronavirus Infections/immunology , Coronavirus Infections/virology , Cytokines/immunology , Disease Models, Animal , Humans , Immunity, Cellular , Immunoglobulin G/blood , Mice , Mice, Inbred BALB C , Pneumonia, Viral/immunology , Pneumonia, Viral/virology , RNA, Viral/immunology , SARS-CoV-2 , Spike Glycoprotein, Coronavirus/genetics , Spike Glycoprotein, Coronavirus/immunology , Vaccines, Synthetic/chemistry , Vaccines, Synthetic/immunology , Viral Vaccines/chemistry
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