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1.
Sci Transl Med ; : eabn1252, 2022 Apr 12.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1784766

ABSTRACT

New variants of severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2) continue to arise and prolong the coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) pandemic. Here we used a cell-free expression workflow to rapidly screen and optimize constructs containing multiple computationally designed miniprotein inhibitors of SARS-CoV-2. We found the broadest efficacy with a homo-trimeric version of the 75-residue angiotensin converting enzyme 2 (ACE2) mimic AHB2 (TRI2-2) designed to geometrically match the trimeric spike architecture. In the cryo-electron microscopy structure, TRI2 formed a tripod on top of the spike protein which engaged all three receptor binding domains (RBDs) simultaneously as in the design model. TRI2-2 neutralized Omicron (B.1.1.529), Delta (B.1.617.2), and all other variants tested with greater potency than that of monoclonal antibodies used clinically for the treatment of COVID-19. TRI2-2 also conferred prophylactic and therapeutic protection against SARS-CoV-2 challenge when administered intranasally in mice. Designed miniprotein receptor mimics geometrically arrayed to match pathogen receptor binding sites could be a widely applicable antiviral therapeutic strategy with advantages over antibodies and native receptor traps. By comparison, the designed proteins have resistance to viral escape and antigenic drift by construction, precisely tuned avidity, and greatly reduced chance of autoimmune responses.

2.
Cell ; 185(5): 872-880.e3, 2022 03 03.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1699915

ABSTRACT

Although infections among vaccinated individuals lead to milder COVID-19 symptoms relative to those in unvaccinated subjects, the specificity and durability of antibody responses elicited by breakthrough cases remain unknown. Here, we demonstrate that breakthrough infections induce serum-binding and -neutralizing antibody responses that are markedly more potent, durable, and resilient to spike mutations observed in variants than those in subjects who received only 2 doses of vaccine. However, we show that breakthrough cases, subjects who were vaccinated after infection, and individuals vaccinated three times have serum-neutralizing activity of comparable magnitude and breadth, indicating that an increased number of exposures to SARS-CoV-2 antigen(s) enhance the quality of antibody responses. Neutralization of SARS-CoV was moderate, however, underscoring the importance of developing vaccines eliciting broad sarbecovirus immunity for pandemic preparedness.

3.
EuropePMC;
Preprint in English | EuropePMC | ID: ppcovidwho-327491

ABSTRACT

The emergence of severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2) in 2019 has led to the development of a large number of vaccines, several of which are now approved for use in humans. Understanding vaccine-elicited antibody responses against emerging SARS-CoV-2 variants of concern (VOC) in real time is key to inform public health policies. Serum neutralizing antibody titers are the current best correlate of protection from SARS-CoV-2 challenge in non-human primates and a key metric to understand immune evasion of VOC. We report that vaccinated BALB/c mice do not recapitulate faithfully the breadth and potency of neutralizing antibody responses against VOC, as compared to non-human primates or humans, suggesting caution should be exercised when interpreting data for this animal model.

4.
EuropePMC; 2021.
Preprint in English | EuropePMC | ID: ppcovidwho-297059

ABSTRACT

The SARS-CoV-2 Delta variant is currently responsible for most infections worldwide, including among vaccinated individuals. Although these latter infections lead to milder COVID-19 disease relative to unvaccinated subjects, the specificity and durability of antibody responses elicited by Delta breakthrough cases remain unknown. Here, we demonstrate that breakthrough infections induce serum binding and neutralizing antibody responses that are markedly more potent, durable and resilient to spike mutations observed in variants than those observed in subjects who were infected only or received only two doses of vaccine. We show that Delta breakthrough cases, subjects who were vaccinated after infection and individuals vaccinated three times (without infection) have serum neutralizing activity of comparable magnitude and breadth, indicating that multiple types of exposure or increased number of exposures to SARS-CoV-2 antigen(s) enhance antibody responses. Neutralization of SARS-CoV, however, was moderate, underscoring the importance of developing vaccines eliciting broad sarbecovirus immunity for pandemic preparedness.

5.
Cell ; 184(21): 5432-5447.e16, 2021 10 14.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1454060

ABSTRACT

Understanding vaccine-elicited protection against SARS-CoV-2 variants and other sarbecoviruses is key for guiding public health policies. We show that a clinical stage multivalent SARS-CoV-2 spike receptor-binding domain nanoparticle (RBD-NP) vaccine protects mice from SARS-CoV-2 challenge after a single immunization, indicating a potential dose-sparing strategy. We benchmarked serum neutralizing activity elicited by RBD-NPs in non-human primates against a lead prefusion-stabilized SARS-CoV-2 spike (HexaPro) using a panel of circulating mutants. Polyclonal antibodies elicited by both vaccines are similarly resilient to many RBD residue substitutions tested, although mutations at and surrounding position 484 have negative consequences for neutralization. Mosaic and cocktail nanoparticle immunogens displaying multiple sarbecovirus RBDs elicit broad neutralizing activity in mice and protect mice against SARS-CoV challenge even in the absence of SARS-CoV RBD in the vaccine. This study provides proof of principle that multivalent sarbecovirus RBD-NPs induce heterotypic protection and motivates advancing such broadly protective sarbecovirus vaccines to the clinic.

6.
Front Immunol ; 12: 710263, 2021.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1315952

ABSTRACT

The unprecedented global demand for SARS-CoV-2 vaccines has demonstrated the need for highly effective vaccine candidates that are thermostable and amenable to large-scale manufacturing. Nanoparticle immunogens presenting the receptor-binding domain (RBD) of the SARS-CoV-2 Spike protein (S) in repetitive arrays are being advanced as second-generation vaccine candidates, as they feature robust manufacturing characteristics and have shown promising immunogenicity in preclinical models. Here, we used previously reported deep mutational scanning (DMS) data to guide the design of stabilized variants of the RBD. The selected mutations fill a cavity in the RBD that has been identified as a linoleic acid binding pocket. Screening of several designs led to the selection of two lead candidates that expressed at higher yields than the wild-type RBD. These stabilized RBDs possess enhanced thermal stability and resistance to aggregation, particularly when incorporated into an icosahedral nanoparticle immunogen that maintained its integrity and antigenicity for 28 days at 35-40°C, while corresponding immunogens displaying the wild-type RBD experienced aggregation and loss of antigenicity. The stabilized immunogens preserved the potent immunogenicity of the original nanoparticle immunogen, which is currently being evaluated in a Phase I/II clinical trial. Our findings may improve the scalability and stability of RBD-based coronavirus vaccines in any format and more generally highlight the utility of comprehensive DMS data in guiding vaccine design.


Subject(s)
COVID-19 Vaccines/administration & dosage , COVID-19/prevention & control , Immunization Schedule , Immunogenicity, Vaccine , Mutation , Protein Domains/genetics , Protein Domains/immunology , SARS-CoV-2/immunology , Spike Glycoprotein, Coronavirus/immunology , Animals , Antibodies, Neutralizing/blood , Antibodies, Neutralizing/immunology , Antibodies, Viral/blood , Antibodies, Viral/immunology , COVID-19/blood , COVID-19/virology , COVID-19 Vaccines/immunology , Chlorocebus aethiops , Female , HEK293 Cells , Humans , Linoleic Acids , Mice , Mice, Inbred BALB C , Nanoparticles/chemistry , Spike Glycoprotein, Coronavirus/chemistry , Treatment Outcome , Vero Cells
7.
Science ; 373(6555): 648-654, 2021 08 06.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1295161

ABSTRACT

A novel variant of concern (VOC) named CAL.20C (B.1.427/B.1.429), which was originally detected in California, carries spike glycoprotein mutations S13I in the signal peptide, W152C in the N-terminal domain (NTD), and L452R in the receptor-binding domain (RBD). Plasma from individuals vaccinated with a Wuhan-1 isolate-based messenger RNA vaccine or from convalescent individuals exhibited neutralizing titers that were reduced 2- to 3.5-fold against the B.1.427/B.1.429 variant relative to wild-type pseudoviruses. The L452R mutation reduced neutralizing activity in 14 of 34 RBD-specific monoclonal antibodies (mAbs). The S13I and W152C mutations resulted in total loss of neutralization for 10 of 10 NTD-specific mAbs because the NTD antigenic supersite was remodeled by a shift of the signal peptide cleavage site and the formation of a new disulfide bond, as revealed by mass spectrometry and structural studies.


Subject(s)
COVID-19/virology , Immune Evasion , SARS-CoV-2/immunology , SARS-CoV-2/pathogenicity , Spike Glycoprotein, Coronavirus/genetics , Spike Glycoprotein, Coronavirus/immunology , Amino Acid Substitution , Antibodies, Monoclonal/immunology , Antibodies, Neutralizing/blood , Antibodies, Neutralizing/immunology , Antibodies, Viral/blood , Antibodies, Viral/immunology , Antigens, Viral/immunology , COVID-19/immunology , COVID-19 Vaccines/immunology , Cryoelectron Microscopy , Humans , Models, Molecular , Mutation , Neutralization Tests , Protein Conformation , Protein Domains , Protein Interaction Domains and Motifs , Protein Subunits/chemistry , SARS-CoV-2/genetics , Spike Glycoprotein, Coronavirus/chemistry
8.
Nature ; 594(7862): 253-258, 2021 06.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1192479

ABSTRACT

The development of a portfolio of COVID-19 vaccines to vaccinate the global population remains an urgent public health imperative1. Here we demonstrate the capacity of a subunit vaccine, comprising the SARS-CoV-2 spike protein receptor-binding domain displayed on an I53-50 protein nanoparticle scaffold (hereafter designated RBD-NP), to stimulate robust and durable neutralizing-antibody responses and protection against SARS-CoV-2 in rhesus macaques. We evaluated five adjuvants including Essai O/W 1849101, a squalene-in-water emulsion; AS03, an α-tocopherol-containing oil-in-water emulsion; AS37, a Toll-like receptor 7 (TLR7) agonist adsorbed to alum; CpG1018-alum, a TLR9 agonist formulated in alum; and alum. RBD-NP immunization with AS03, CpG1018-alum, AS37 or alum induced substantial neutralizing-antibody and CD4 T cell responses, and conferred protection against SARS-CoV-2 infection in the pharynges, nares and bronchoalveolar lavage. The neutralizing-antibody response to live virus was maintained up to 180 days after vaccination with RBD-NP in AS03 (RBD-NP-AS03), and correlated with protection from infection. RBD-NP immunization cross-neutralized the B.1.1.7 SARS-CoV-2 variant efficiently but showed a reduced response against the B.1.351 variant. RBD-NP-AS03 produced a 4.5-fold reduction in neutralization of B.1.351 whereas the group immunized with RBD-NP-AS37 produced a 16-fold reduction in neutralization of B.1.351, suggesting differences in the breadth of the neutralizing-antibody response induced by these adjuvants. Furthermore, RBD-NP-AS03 was as immunogenic as a prefusion-stabilized spike immunogen (HexaPro) with AS03 adjuvant. These data highlight the efficacy of the adjuvanted RBD-NP vaccine in promoting protective immunity against SARS-CoV-2 and have led to phase I/II clinical trials of this vaccine (NCT04742738 and NCT04750343).


Subject(s)
Adjuvants, Immunologic , Antibodies, Neutralizing/immunology , COVID-19 Vaccines/immunology , COVID-19/immunology , COVID-19/prevention & control , SARS-CoV-2/immunology , Vaccines, Subunit/immunology , Alum Compounds , Animals , Antibodies, Viral/immunology , CD4-Positive T-Lymphocytes/cytology , CD4-Positive T-Lymphocytes/immunology , COVID-19/virology , Clinical Trials, Phase I as Topic , Clinical Trials, Phase II as Topic , Disease Models, Animal , Immunity, Cellular , Immunity, Humoral , Macaca mulatta/immunology , Male , Oligodeoxyribonucleotides , Spike Glycoprotein, Coronavirus/chemistry , Spike Glycoprotein, Coronavirus/immunology , Squalene
9.
Cell ; 183(5): 1367-1382.e17, 2020 11 25.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-893667

ABSTRACT

A safe, effective, and scalable vaccine is needed to halt the ongoing SARS-CoV-2 pandemic. We describe the structure-based design of self-assembling protein nanoparticle immunogens that elicit potent and protective antibody responses against SARS-CoV-2 in mice. The nanoparticle vaccines display 60 SARS-CoV-2 spike receptor-binding domains (RBDs) in a highly immunogenic array and induce neutralizing antibody titers 10-fold higher than the prefusion-stabilized spike despite a 5-fold lower dose. Antibodies elicited by the RBD nanoparticles target multiple distinct epitopes, suggesting they may not be easily susceptible to escape mutations, and exhibit a lower binding:neutralizing ratio than convalescent human sera, which may minimize the risk of vaccine-associated enhanced respiratory disease. The high yield and stability of the assembled nanoparticles suggest that manufacture of the nanoparticle vaccines will be highly scalable. These results highlight the utility of robust antigen display platforms and have launched cGMP manufacturing efforts to advance the SARS-CoV-2-RBD nanoparticle vaccine into the clinic.


Subject(s)
Antibodies, Neutralizing/immunology , Antibodies, Viral/immunology , COVID-19 Vaccines/immunology , COVID-19/prevention & control , Nanoparticles/chemistry , Protein Domains/immunology , SARS-CoV-2/immunology , Spike Glycoprotein, Coronavirus/chemistry , Vaccination , Adolescent , Adult , Aged , Animals , COVID-19/virology , Chlorocebus aethiops , Cohort Studies , Epitopes/immunology , Female , HEK293 Cells , Humans , Macaca nemestrina , Male , Mice, Inbred BALB C , Middle Aged , SARS-CoV-2/genetics , Spike Glycoprotein, Coronavirus/immunology , Vero Cells , Young Adult
10.
Cell ; 182(5): 1295-1310.e20, 2020 09 03.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-709109

ABSTRACT

The receptor binding domain (RBD) of the SARS-CoV-2 spike glycoprotein mediates viral attachment to ACE2 receptor and is a major determinant of host range and a dominant target of neutralizing antibodies. Here, we experimentally measure how all amino acid mutations to the RBD affect expression of folded protein and its affinity for ACE2. Most mutations are deleterious for RBD expression and ACE2 binding, and we identify constrained regions on the RBD's surface that may be desirable targets for vaccines and antibody-based therapeutics. But a substantial number of mutations are well tolerated or even enhance ACE2 binding, including at ACE2 interface residues that vary across SARS-related coronaviruses. However, we find no evidence that these ACE2-affinity-enhancing mutations have been selected in current SARS-CoV-2 pandemic isolates. We present an interactive visualization and open analysis pipeline to facilitate use of our dataset for vaccine design and functional annotation of mutations observed during viral surveillance.


Subject(s)
Molecular Docking Simulation , Mutation , Peptidyl-Dipeptidase A/metabolism , Spike Glycoprotein, Coronavirus/genetics , Angiotensin-Converting Enzyme 2 , Binding Sites , HEK293 Cells , Humans , Peptidyl-Dipeptidase A/chemistry , Phenotype , Protein Binding , Protein Folding , Saccharomyces cerevisiae , Spike Glycoprotein, Coronavirus/chemistry , Spike Glycoprotein, Coronavirus/metabolism
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