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NPJ Vaccines ; 6(1): 67, 2021 May 10.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1223093


Vaccines against SARS-CoV-2 are likely to be critical in the management of the ongoing pandemic. A number of candidates are in Phase III human clinical trials, including ChAdOx1 nCoV-19 (AZD1222), a replication-deficient chimpanzee adenovirus-vectored vaccine candidate. In preclinical trials, the efficacy of ChAdOx1 nCoV-19 against SARS-CoV-2 challenge was evaluated in a ferret model of infection. Groups of ferrets received either prime-only or prime-boost administration of ChAdOx1 nCoV-19 via the intramuscular or intranasal route. All ChAdOx1 nCoV-19 administration combinations resulted in significant reductions in viral loads in nasal-wash and oral swab samples. No vaccine-associated adverse events were observed associated with the ChAdOx1 nCoV-19 candidate, with the data from this study suggesting it could be an effective and safe vaccine against COVID-19. Our study also indicates the potential for intranasal administration as a way to further improve the efficacy of this leading vaccine candidate.

Transbound Emerg Dis ; 69(2): 297-307, 2022 Mar.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1007329


Severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus-2 (SARS-CoV-2) is an emerging virus that has caused significant human morbidity and mortality since its detection in late 2019. With the rapid emergence has come an unprecedented programme of vaccine development with at least 300 candidates under development. Ferrets have proven to be an appropriate animal model for testing safety and efficacy of SARS-CoV-2 vaccines due to quantifiable virus shedding in nasal washes and oral swabs. Here, we outline our efforts early in the SARS-CoV-2 outbreak to propagate and characterize an Australian isolate of the virus in vitro and in an ex vivo model of human airway epithelium, as well as to demonstrate the susceptibility of domestic ferrets (Mustela putorius furo) to SARS-CoV-2 infection following intranasal challenge.

COVID-19 , Ferrets , Animals , Australia , COVID-19/veterinary , COVID-19 Vaccines , Humans , SARS-CoV-2
Transbound Emerg Dis ; 67(4): 1453-1462, 2020 Jul.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-71844


Pre-clinical responses to fast-moving infectious disease outbreaks heavily depend on choosing the best isolates for animal models that inform diagnostics, vaccines and treatments. Current approaches are driven by practical considerations (e.g. first available virus isolate) rather than a detailed analysis of the characteristics of the virus strain chosen, which can lead to animal models that are not representative of the circulating or emerging clusters. Here, we suggest a combination of epidemiological, experimental and bioinformatic considerations when choosing virus strains for animal model generation. We discuss the currently chosen SARS-CoV-2 strains for international coronavirus disease (COVID-19) models in the context of their phylogeny as well as in a novel alignment-free bioinformatic approach. Unlike phylogenetic trees, which focus on individual shared mutations, this new approach assesses genome-wide co-developing functionalities and hence offers a more fluid view of the 'cloud of variances' that RNA viruses are prone to accumulate. This joint approach concludes that while the current animal models cover the existing viral strains adequately, there is substantial evolutionary activity that is likely not considered by the current models. Based on insights from the non-discrete alignment-free approach and experimental observations, we suggest isolates for future animal models.

Computational Biology , Coronavirus Infections/epidemiology , Disease Outbreaks , Genomics , Pandemics/prevention & control , Pneumonia, Viral/epidemiology , Animals , Betacoronavirus/genetics , Biological Evolution , COVID-19 , Disease Models, Animal , Humans , Phylogeny , SARS-CoV-2