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1.
Cell Rep ; 38(6): 110348, 2022 02 08.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1712500

ABSTRACT

The increasing prevalence of severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2) variants with the ability to escape existing humoral protection conferred by previous infection and/or immunization necessitates the discovery of broadly reactive neutralizing antibodies (nAbs). Utilizing mRNA display, we identify a set of antibodies against SARS-CoV-2 spike (S) proteins and characterize the structures of nAbs that recognize epitopes in the S1 subunit of the S glycoprotein. These structural studies reveal distinct binding modes for several antibodies, including the targeting of rare cryptic epitopes in the receptor-binding domain (RBD) of S that interact with angiotensin-converting enzyme 2 (ACE2) to initiate infection, as well as the S1 subdomain 1. Further, we engineer a potent ACE2-blocking nAb to sustain binding to S RBD with the E484K and L452R substitutions found in multiple SARS-CoV-2 variants. We demonstrate that mRNA display is an approach for the rapid identification of nAbs that can be used in combination to combat emerging SARS-CoV-2 variants.

2.
2021.
Preprint in English | Other preprints | ID: ppcovidwho-296014

ABSTRACT

ABSTRACT In response to the need for a safe, efficacious vaccine that elicits vigorous T cell as well as humoral protection against SARS-CoV-2 infection, we have developed a dual-antigen COVID-19 vaccine comprising both the viral spike (S) protein modified to increase cell-surface expression (S-Fusion) and nucleocapsid (N) protein with an Enhanced T-cell Stimulation Domain (N-ETSD) to enhance MHC class I and II presentation and T-cell responses. The antigens are delivered using a human adenovirus serotype 5 (hAd5) platform with E1, E2b, and E3 regions deleted that has been shown previously in cancer vaccine studies to be safe and effective in the presence of pre-existing hAd5 immunity. The findings reported here are focused on human T-cell responses due to the likelihood that such responses will sustain efficacy against emerging variants, a hypothesis supported by our in silico prediction of T-cell epitope HLA binding for both the first-wave SARS-CoV-2 ‘A’ strain and the B.1.351 strain K417N, E484K, and N501Y spike and T201I N variants. We demonstrate the hAd5 S-Fusion + N-ETSD vaccine antigens expressed by previously SARS-CoV-2-infected patient dendritic cells elicit Th1 dominant activation of autologous patient T cells, indicating the vaccine antigens have the potential to elicit immune responses in previously infected patients. For participants in our open-label Phase 1b study of the vaccine ( NCT04591717 ;https://clinicaltrials.gov/ct2/show/NCT04591717 ), the magnitude of Th-1 dominant S- and N-specific T-cell responses after a single prime subcutaneous injection were comparable to T-cell responses from previously infected patients. Furthermore, vaccinated participant T-cell responses to S were similar for A strain S and a series of spike variant peptides, including S variants in the B.1.1.7 and B.1.351 strains. The findings that this dual-antigen vaccine elicits SARS-CoV-2-relevant T-cell responses and that such cell-mediated protection is likely to be sustained against emerging variants supports the testing of this vaccine as a universal booster that would enhance and broaden existing immune protection conferred by currently approved S-based vaccines.

3.
Front Immunol ; 12: 729837, 2021.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1450810

ABSTRACT

We have developed a dual-antigen COVID-19 vaccine incorporating genes for a modified SARS-CoV-2 spike protein (S-Fusion) and the viral nucleocapsid (N) protein with an Enhanced T-cell Stimulation Domain (N-ETSD) to increase the potential for MHC class II responses. The vaccine antigens are delivered by a human adenovirus serotype 5 platform, hAd5 [E1-, E2b-, E3-], previously demonstrated to be effective in the presence of Ad immunity. Vaccination of rhesus macaques with the hAd5 S-Fusion + N-ETSD vaccine by subcutaneous prime injection followed by two oral boosts elicited neutralizing anti-S IgG and T helper cell 1-biased T-cell responses to both S and N that protected the upper and lower respiratory tracts from high titer (1 x 106 TCID50) SARS-CoV-2 challenge. Notably, viral replication was inhibited within 24 hours of challenge in both lung and nasal passages, becoming undetectable within 7 days post-challenge.


Subject(s)
COVID-19 Vaccines/immunology , COVID-19/prevention & control , Coronavirus Nucleocapsid Proteins/immunology , SARS-CoV-2/immunology , Spike Glycoprotein, Coronavirus/immunology , Adenoviruses, Human/genetics , Adenoviruses, Human/immunology , Adenoviruses, Human/metabolism , Administration, Oral , Animals , Antibodies, Neutralizing/blood , Antibodies, Viral/blood , COVID-19 Vaccines/administration & dosage , Cytokines/blood , Immunization, Secondary/methods , Immunoglobulin G/blood , Lung/virology , Macaca mulatta , Nose/virology , Phosphoproteins/immunology , Protein Domains/immunology , T-Lymphocytes, Helper-Inducer/immunology , Vaccination , Virus Replication/immunology
4.
Sci Rep ; 11(1): 14917, 2021 07 21.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1320238

ABSTRACT

We have developed a COVID-19 vaccine, hAd5 S-Fusion + N-ETSD, that expresses SARS-CoV-2 spike (S) and nucleocapsid (N) proteins with modifications to increase immune responses delivered using a human adenovirus serotype 5 (hAd5) platform. Here, we demonstrate subcutaneous (SC) prime and SC boost vaccination of CD-1 mice with this dual-antigen vaccine elicits T-helper cell 1 (Th1) biased T-cell and humoral responses to both S and N that are greater than those seen with hAd5 S wild type delivering only unmodified S. We then compared SC to intranasal (IN) prime vaccination with SC or IN boosts and show that an IN prime with an IN boost is as effective at generating Th1 biased humoral responses as the other combinations tested, but an SC prime with an IN or SC boost elicits greater T cell responses. Finally, we used a combined SC plus IN (SC + IN) prime with or without a boost and found the SC + IN prime alone to be as effective in generating humoral and T-cell responses as the SC + IN prime with a boost. The finding that SC + IN prime-only delivery has the potential to provide broad immunity-including mucosal immunity-against SARS-CoV-2 supports further testing of this vaccine and delivery approach in animal models of viral challenge.


Subject(s)
COVID-19 Vaccines/administration & dosage , COVID-19/immunology , COVID-19/prevention & control , SARS-CoV-2/immunology , Adenoviridae/genetics , Administration, Intranasal , Animals , Antibodies, Neutralizing , Antibodies, Viral/biosynthesis , Antibodies, Viral/immunology , COVID-19 Vaccines/immunology , Female , Genetic Vectors , Hypodermoclysis , Immunity, Cellular/immunology , Immunity, Mucosal/immunology , Immunization, Secondary , Mice , Mice, Inbred Strains , Vaccination/methods
5.
Sci Rep ; 11(1): 12740, 2021 06 17.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1275953

ABSTRACT

The SARS-CoV-2 variants replacing the first wave strain pose an increased threat by their potential ability to escape pre-existing humoral protection. An angiotensin converting enzyme 2 (ACE2) decoy that competes with endogenous ACE2 for binding of the SARS-CoV-2 spike receptor binding domain (S RBD) and inhibits infection may offer a therapeutic option with sustained efficacy against variants. Here, we used Molecular Dynamics (MD) simulation to predict ACE2 sequence substitutions that might increase its affinity for S RBD and screened candidate ACE2 decoys in vitro. The lead ACE2(T27Y/H34A)-IgG1FC fusion protein with enhanced S RBD affinity shows greater live SARS-CoV-2 virus neutralization capability than wild type ACE2. MD simulation was used to predict the effects of S RBD variant mutations on decoy affinity that was then confirmed by testing of an ACE2 Triple Decoy that included an additional enzyme activity-deactivating H374N substitution against mutated S RBD. The ACE2 Triple Decoy maintains high affinity for mutated S RBD, displays enhanced affinity for S RBD N501Y or L452R, and has the highest affinity for S RBD with both E484K and N501Y mutations, making it a viable therapeutic option for the prevention or treatment of SARS-CoV-2 infection with a high likelihood of efficacy against variants.


Subject(s)
Amino Acid Substitution , Angiotensin-Converting Enzyme 2/chemistry , Angiotensin-Converting Enzyme 2/metabolism , Antiviral Agents/pharmacology , COVID-19/metabolism , Drug Discovery/methods , Molecular Dynamics Simulation , SARS-CoV-2/metabolism , Signal Transduction/drug effects , Amino Acid Sequence , COVID-19/virology , Humans , Mutation , Protein Binding/drug effects , Protein Domains/genetics , Spike Glycoprotein, Coronavirus/metabolism , Virus Internalization/drug effects
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