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1.
Vaccine ; 40(34): 4929-4932, 2022 Aug 12.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1937282

ABSTRACT

The ongoing SARS-CoV-2 pandemic continues to pose an enormous health challenge globally. The ongoing emergence of variants of concern has resulted in decreased vaccine efficacy necessitating booster immunizations. This was particularly highlighted by the recent emergence of the Omicron variant, which contains over 30 mutations in the spike protein and quickly became the dominant viral strain in global circulation. We previously demonstrated that delivery of a SARS-CoV-2 subunit vaccine via a high-density microarray patch (HD-MAP) induced potent immunity resulting in robust protection from SARS-CoV-2 challenge in mice. Here we show that serum from HD-MAP immunized animals maintained potent neutralisation against all variants tested, including Delta and Omicron. These findings highlight the advantages of HD-MAP vaccine delivery in inducing high levels of neutralising antibodies and demonstrates its potential at providing protection from emerging viral variants.


Subject(s)
COVID-19 , Viral Vaccines , Animals , Antibodies, Neutralizing , Antibodies, Viral , Broadly Neutralizing Antibodies , COVID-19/prevention & control , COVID-19 Vaccines , Humans , Mice , SARS-CoV-2/genetics , Spike Glycoprotein, Coronavirus/genetics , Vaccines, Subunit
2.
Front Immunol ; 13: 926262, 2022.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1911052

ABSTRACT

Since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic, multiple waves of SARS-CoV-2 variants have emerged. Of particular concern is the omicron variant, which harbors 28 mutations in the spike glycoprotein receptor binding and N-terminal domains relative to the ancestral strain. The high mutability of SARS-CoV-2 therefore poses significant hurdles for development of universal assays that rely on spike-specific immune detection. To address this, more conserved viral antigens need to be targeted. In this work, we comprehensively demonstrate the use of nucleocapsid (N)-specific detection across several assays using previously described nanobodies C2 and E2. We show that these nanobodies are highly sensitive and can detect divergent SARS-CoV-2 ancestral, delta and omicron variants across several assays. By comparison, spike-specific antibodies S309 and CR3022 only disparately detect SARS-CoV-2 variant targets. As such, we conclude that N-specific detection could provide a standardized universal target for detection of current and emerging SARS-CoV-2 variants of concern.


Subject(s)
COVID-19 , Single-Domain Antibodies , Antibodies, Monoclonal , Antibodies, Neutralizing , COVID-19/diagnosis , Humans , Nucleocapsid/genetics , Nucleocapsid Proteins , Pandemics , SARS-CoV-2/genetics
3.
Vaccines (Basel) ; 10(5)2022 Apr 28.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1820432

ABSTRACT

The COVID-19 pandemic is the biggest public health threat facing the world today. Multiple vaccines have been approved; however, the emergence of viral variants such as the recent Omicron raises the possibility of booster doses to achieve adequate protection. In Brazil, the CoronaVac (Sinovac, Beijing, China) vaccine was used; however, it is important to assess the immune response to this vaccine over time. This study aimed to monitor the anti-SARS-CoV-2 antibody responses in those immunized with CoronaVac and SARS-CoV-2 infected individuals. Samples were collected between August 2020 and August 2021. Within the vaccinated cohort, some individuals had a history of infection by SARS-CoV-2 prior to immunization, while others did not. We analyzed RBD-specific and neutralizing-antibodies. Anti-RBD antibodies were detected in both cohorts, with a peak between 45-90 days post infection or vaccination, followed by a steady decline over time. In those with a previous history of COVID-19, a higher, longer, more persistent response was observed. This trend was mirrored in the neutralization assays, where infection, followed by immunization, resulted in higher, longer lasting responses which were conditioned on the presence of levels of RBD antibodies right before the vaccination. This supports the necessity of booster doses of CoronaVac in due course to prevent serious disease.

4.
Vaccines (Basel) ; 10(4)2022 Apr 08.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1786092

ABSTRACT

The ongoing coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) pandemic continues to disrupt essential health services in 90 percent of countries today. The spike (S) protein found on the surface of the causative agent, the SARS-CoV-2 virus, has been the prime target for current vaccine research since antibodies directed against the S protein were found to neutralize the virus. However, as new variants emerge, mutations within the spike protein have given rise to potential immune evasion of the response generated by the current generation of SARS-CoV-2 vaccines. In this study, a modified, HexaPro S protein subunit vaccine, delivered using a needle-free high-density microarray patch (HD-MAP), was investigated for its immunogenicity and virus-neutralizing abilities. Mice given two doses of the vaccine candidate generated potent antibody responses capable of neutralizing the parental SARS-CoV-2 virus as well as the variants of concern, Alpha and Delta. These results demonstrate that this alternative vaccination strategy has the potential to mitigate the effect of emerging viral variants.

5.
Sci Adv ; 7(44): eabj8065, 2021 Oct 29.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1494911

ABSTRACT

Severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2) has infected more than 160 million people and resulted in more than 3.3 million deaths, and despite the availability of multiple vaccines, the world still faces many challenges with their rollout. Here, we use the high-density microarray patch (HD-MAP) to deliver a SARS-CoV-2 spike subunit vaccine directly to the skin. We show that the vaccine is thermostable on the patches, with patch delivery enhancing both cellular and antibody immune responses. Elicited antibodies potently neutralize clinically relevant isolates including the Alpha and Beta variants. Last, a single dose of HD-MAP­delivered spike provided complete protection from a lethal virus challenge in an ACE2-transgenic mouse model. Collectively, these data show that HD-MAP delivery of a SARS-CoV-2 vaccine was superior to traditional needle-and-syringe vaccination and may be a significant addition to the ongoing COVID-19 (coronavirus disease 2019) pandemic.

6.
Nat Commun ; 12(1): 3431, 2021 06 08.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1262001

ABSTRACT

The current COVID-19 pandemic is caused by the severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2). We demonstrate that despite the large size of the viral RNA genome (~30 kb), infectious full-length cDNA is readily assembled in vitro by a circular polymerase extension reaction (CPER) methodology without the need for technically demanding intermediate steps. Overlapping cDNA fragments are generated from viral RNA and assembled together with a linker fragment containing CMV promoter into a circular full-length viral cDNA in a single reaction. Transfection of the circular cDNA into mammalian cells results in the recovery of infectious SARS-CoV-2 virus that exhibits properties comparable to the parental virus in vitro and in vivo. CPER is also used to generate insect-specific Casuarina virus with ~20 kb genome and the human pathogens Ross River virus (Alphavirus) and Norovirus (Calicivirus), with the latter from a clinical sample. Additionally, reporter and mutant viruses are generated and employed to study virus replication and virus-receptor interactions.


Subject(s)
Reverse Genetics , SARS-CoV-2/genetics , Amino Acid Sequence , Animals , Base Sequence , Chlorocebus aethiops , Culicidae/virology , Furin/metabolism , Genome, Viral , HEK293 Cells , Humans , Mice , Mutation/genetics , NIH 3T3 Cells , Polymerase Chain Reaction , RAW 264.7 Cells , Receptors, Virus/metabolism , Vero Cells , Viral Proteins/chemistry , Virus Replication
7.
Mol Ther ; 29(7): 2219-2226, 2021 07 07.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1228174

ABSTRACT

Coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) is caused by severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2) infection in humans. Despite several emerging vaccines, there remains no verifiable therapeutic targeted specifically to the virus. Here we present a highly effective small interfering RNA (siRNA) therapeutic against SARS-CoV-2 infection using a novel lipid nanoparticle (LNP) delivery system. Multiple siRNAs targeting highly conserved regions of the SARS-CoV-2 virus were screened, and three candidate siRNAs emerged that effectively inhibit the virus by greater than 90% either alone or in combination with one another. We simultaneously developed and screened two novel LNP formulations for the delivery of these candidate siRNA therapeutics to the lungs, an organ that incurs immense damage during SARS-CoV-2 infection. Encapsulation of siRNAs in these LNPs followed by in vivo injection demonstrated robust repression of virus in the lungs and a pronounced survival advantage to the treated mice. Our LNP-siRNA approaches are scalable and can be administered upon the first sign of SARS-CoV-2 infection in humans. We suggest that an siRNA-LNP therapeutic approach could prove highly useful in treating COVID-19 disease as an adjunctive therapy to current vaccine strategies.


Subject(s)
COVID-19/drug therapy , Drug Delivery Systems/methods , Lipids/chemistry , Nanoparticles/chemistry , RNA, Double-Stranded/administration & dosage , RNA, Small Interfering/administration & dosage , RNA, Small Interfering/genetics , SARS-CoV-2/genetics , Administration, Intravenous , Angiotensin-Converting Enzyme 2/genetics , Animals , COVID-19/metabolism , COVID-19/virology , Female , Gene Silencing , HEK293 Cells , Humans , Lung/metabolism , Male , Mice , Mice, Transgenic , RNA, Double-Stranded/genetics , RNA, Viral/genetics , Transcriptome/drug effects , Treatment Outcome
8.
Front Microbiol ; 12: 625136, 2021.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1110305

ABSTRACT

Severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus-2 (SARS-CoV-2) has been identified as the causative agent of coronavirus disease 2019 and is capable of human-to-human transmission and rapid global spread. The rapid emergence and global spread of SARS-CoV-2 has encouraged the establishment of a rapid, sensitive, and reliable viral detection and quantification methodology. Here, we present an alternative assay, termed immuno-plaque assay (iPA), which utilizes a combination of plaque assay and immunofluorescence techniques. We have extensively optimized the conditions for SARS-CoV-2 infection and demonstrated the great flexibility of iPA detection using several antibodies and dual-probing with two distinct epitope-specific antibodies. In addition, we showed that iPA could be utilized for ultra-high-throughput viral titration and neutralization assay within 24 h and is amenable to a 384-well format. These advantages will significantly accelerate SARS-CoV-2 research outcomes during this pandemic period.

9.
Vaccines (Basel) ; 9(2)2021 Jan 20.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1045356

ABSTRACT

Subunit vaccines exhibit favorable safety and immunogenicity profiles and can be designed to mimic native antigen structures. However, pairing with an appropriate adjuvant is imperative in order to elicit effective humoral and cellular immune responses. In this study, we aimed to determine an optimal adjuvant pairing with the prefusion form of influenza haemagglutinin (HA) or respiratory syncytial virus (RSV) fusion (F) subunit vaccines in BALB/c mice in order to inform future subunit vaccine adjuvant selection. We tested a panel of adjuvants, including aluminum hydroxide (alhydrogel), QS21, Addavax, Addavax with QS21 (AdQS21), and Army Liposome Formulation 55 with monophosphoryl lipid A and QS21 (ALF55). We found that all adjuvants elicited robust humoral responses in comparison to placebo, with the induction of potent neutralizing antibodies observed in all adjuvanted groups against influenza and in AdQS21, alhydrogel, and ALF55 against RSV. Upon HA vaccination, we observed that none of the adjuvants were able to significantly increase the frequency of CD4+ and CD8+ IFN-γ+ cells when compared to unadjuvanted antigen. The varying responses to antigens with each adjuvant highlights that those adjuvants most suited for pairing purposes can vary depending on the antigen used and/or the desired immune response. We therefore suggest that an adjuvant trial for different subunit vaccines in development would likely be necessary in preclinical studies.

10.
Molecules ; 25(22)2020 Nov 18.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-934509

ABSTRACT

Proteases catalyse irreversible posttranslational modifications that often alter a biological function of the substrate. The protease dipeptidyl peptidase 4 (DPP4) is a pharmacological target in type 2 diabetes therapy primarily because it inactivates glucagon-like protein-1. DPP4 also has roles in steatosis, insulin resistance, cancers and inflammatory and fibrotic diseases. In addition, DPP4 binds to the spike protein of the MERS virus, causing it to be the human cell surface receptor for that virus. DPP4 has been identified as a potential binding target of SARS-CoV-2 spike protein, so this question requires experimental investigation. Understanding protein structure and function requires reliable protocols for production and purification. We developed such strategies for baculovirus generated soluble recombinant human DPP4 (residues 29-766) produced in insect cells. Purification used differential ammonium sulphate precipitation, hydrophobic interaction chromatography, dye affinity chromatography in series with immobilised metal affinity chromatography, and ion-exchange chromatography. The binding affinities of DPP4 to the SARS-CoV-2 full-length spike protein and its receptor-binding domain (RBD) were measured using surface plasmon resonance and ELISA. This optimised DPP4 purification procedure yielded 1 to 1.8 mg of pure fully active soluble DPP4 protein per litre of insect cell culture with specific activity >30 U/mg, indicative of high purity. No specific binding between DPP4 and CoV-2 spike protein was detected by surface plasmon resonance or ELISA. In summary, a procedure for high purity high yield soluble human DPP4 was achieved and used to show that, unlike MERS, SARS-CoV-2 does not bind human DPP4.


Subject(s)
Angiotensin-Converting Enzyme 2/isolation & purification , Dipeptidyl Peptidase 4/isolation & purification , Spike Glycoprotein, Coronavirus/isolation & purification , Angiotensin-Converting Enzyme 2/biosynthesis , Angiotensin-Converting Enzyme 2/chemistry , Angiotensin-Converting Enzyme 2/genetics , Animals , Baculoviridae/genetics , Baculoviridae/metabolism , Cloning, Molecular , Dipeptidyl Peptidase 4/biosynthesis , Dipeptidyl Peptidase 4/chemistry , Dipeptidyl Peptidase 4/genetics , Enzyme-Linked Immunosorbent Assay , Gene Expression , Humans , Kinetics , Models, Molecular , Plasmids/chemistry , Plasmids/metabolism , Protein Interaction Domains and Motifs , Protein Structure, Secondary , Recombinant Proteins/chemistry , Recombinant Proteins/genetics , Recombinant Proteins/isolation & purification , Recombinant Proteins/metabolism , Sf9 Cells , Spike Glycoprotein, Coronavirus/biosynthesis , Spike Glycoprotein, Coronavirus/chemistry , Spike Glycoprotein, Coronavirus/genetics , Spodoptera , Surface Plasmon Resonance
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