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biorxiv; 2023.
Preprint in English | bioRxiv | ID: ppzbmed-10.1101.2023.01.17.523798


Currently circulating SARS-CoV-2 variants acquired convergent mutations at receptor-binding domain (RBD) hot spots. Their impact on viral infection, transmission, and efficacy of vaccines and therapeutics remains poorly understood. Here, we demonstrate that recently emerged BQ.1.1. and XBB.1 variants bind ACE2 with high affinity and promote membrane fusion more efficiently than earlier Omicron variants. Structures of the BQ.1.1 and XBB.1 RBDs bound to human ACE2 and S309 Fab (sotrovimab parent) explain the altered ACE2 recognition and preserved antibody binding through conformational selection. We show that sotrovimab binds avidly to all Omicron variants, promotes Fc-dependent effector functions and protects mice challenged with BQ.1.1, the variant displaying the greatest loss of neutralization. Moreover, in several donors vaccine-elicited plasma antibodies cross-react with and trigger effector functions against Omicron variants despite reduced neutralizing activity. Cross-reactive RBD-directed human memory B cells remained dominant even after two exposures to Omicron spikes, underscoring persistent immune imprinting. Our findings suggest that this previously overlooked class of cross-reactive antibodies, exemplified by S309, may contribute to protection against disease caused by emerging variants through elicitation of effector functions.

researchsquare; 2022.


Purpose Sotrovimab (VIR-7831), a human IgG1κ monoclonal antibody (mAb), binds to a conserved epitope on the SARS-CoV-2 spike protein receptor binding domain (RBD). The Fc region of VIR-7831 contains an LS modification to promote neonatal Fc-receptor (FcRn)-mediated recycling and extend its serum half-life. Here, we aimed to evaluate the impact of the LS modification on tissue biodistribution, by comparing VIR-7831 to its non-LS modified equivalent, VIR-7831-WT in cynomolgus monkeys.Methods 89Zr-based PET/CT imaging of VIR-7831 and VIR-7831-WT was performed up to 14 days post injection. All major organs were analyzed for absolute concentration as well as tissue:blood ratios, with the focus on respiratory tract, and a physiologically-based pharmacokinetics (PBPK) model was used to evaluate the tissue biodistribution kinetics. Radiomics features were also extracted from the PET images and SUV values.Results SUVmean uptake in the pulmonary bronchi for 89Zr-VIR-7831 was statistically higher than 89Zr-VIR-7831-WT at Days 6 (3.43 ± 0.55 and 2.59 ± 0.38, respectively), and 10 (2.66 ± 0.32 and 2.15 ± 0.18, respectively), while the reverse was observed in the liver at Days 6 (5.14 ± 0.80 and 8.63 ± 0.89, respectively), 10 (4.52 ± 0.59 and 7.73 ± 0.66, respectively), and 14 (4.95 ± 0.65 and 7.94 ± 0.54, respectively). Though the calculated terminal half-life was 21.3 ± 3.0 days for VIR-7831 and 16.5 ± 1.1 days for VIR-7831-WT, no consistent differences were observed in the tissue:blood ratios between the antibodies except in the liver. While the lung:blood SUVmean uptake ratio for both mAbs was 0.25 on Day 3, the PBPK model predicted the total lung tissue and the interstitial space to serum ratio to be 0.31, 0.55, respectively. Radiomics analysis showed VIR-7831 had mean centralized PET SUV distribution in lung and liver, indicating more uniform uptake than VIR-7831-WT.Conclusion The half-life extended VIR-7831 remained in circulation longer than VIR-7831-WT, consistent with enhanced FcRn binding, while the tissue:blood concentration ratios in most tissues for both drugs remained statistically indistinguishable throughout the course of the experiment. In the bronchiolar region, a higher concentration of 89Zr-VIR-7831 was detected. The data also allow unparalleled insight into tissue distribution and elimination kinetics of mAbs that can guide future biologic drug discovery efforts, while the residualizing nature of the 89Zr label sheds light on the sites of antibody catabolism.

biorxiv; 2022.
Preprint in English | bioRxiv | ID: ppzbmed-10.1101.2022.03.17.484787


Omicron variant strains encode large numbers of changes in the spike protein compared to historical SARS-CoV-2 isolates. Although in vitro studies have suggested that several monoclonal antibody therapies lose neutralizing activity against Omicron variants1-4, the effects in vivo remain largely unknown. Here, we report on the protective efficacy against three SARS-CoV-2 Omicron lineage strains (BA.1, BA.1.1, and BA.2) of two monoclonal antibody therapeutics (S309 [Vir Biotechnology] monotherapy and AZD7442 [AstraZeneca] combination), which correspond to ones used to treat or prevent SARS-CoV-2 infections in humans. Despite losses in neutralization potency in cell culture, S309 or AZD7442 treatments reduced BA.1, BA.1.1, and BA.2 lung infection in susceptible mice that express human ACE2 (K18-hACE2). Correlation analyses between in vitro neutralizing activity and reductions in viral burden in K18-hACE2 or human Fc-gamma receptor transgenic mice suggest that S309 and AZD7442 have different mechanisms of protection against Omicron variants, with S309 utilizing Fc effector function interactions and AZD7442 acting principally by direct neutralization. Our data in mice demonstrate the resilience of S309 and AZD7442 mAbs against emerging SARS-CoV-2 variant strains and provide insight into the relationship between loss of antibody neutralization potency and retained protection in vivo.

biorxiv; 2021.
Preprint in English | bioRxiv | ID: ppzbmed-10.1101.2021.04.07.438818


The recent emergence of SARS-CoV-2 variants of concern (VOC) and the recurrent spillovers of coronaviruses in the human population highlight the need for broadly neutralizing antibodies that are not affected by the ongoing antigenic drift and that can prevent or treat future zoonotic infections. Here, we describe a human monoclonal antibody (mAb), designated S2X259, recognizing a highly conserved cryptic receptor-binding domain (RBD) epitope and cross-reacting with spikes from all sarbecovirus clades. S2X259 broadly neutralizes spike-mediated entry of SARS-CoV-2 including the B.1.1.7, B.1.351, P.1 and B.1.427/B.1.429 VOC, as well as a wide spectrum of human and zoonotic sarbecoviruses through inhibition of ACE2 binding to the RBD. Furthermore, deep-mutational scanning and in vitro escape selection experiments demonstrate that S2X259 possesses a remarkably high barrier to the emergence of resistance mutants. We show that prophylactic administration of S2X259 protects Syrian hamsters against challenges with the prototypic SARS-CoV-2 and the B.1.351 variant, suggesting this mAb is a promising candidate for the prevention and treatment of emergent VOC and zoonotic infections. Our data unveil a key antigenic site targeted by broadly-neutralizing antibodies and will guide the design of pan-sarbecovirus vaccines.