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1.
EuropePMC; 2022.
Preprint in English | EuropePMC | ID: ppcovidwho-335301

ABSTRACT

Since the emergence of SARS-CoV-2, humans have been exposed to distinct SARS-CoV-2 antigens, either by infection with different variants, and/or vaccination. Population immunity is thus highly heterogeneous, but the impact of such heterogeneity on the effectiveness and breadth of the antibody-mediated response is unclear. We measured antibody-mediated neutralisation responses against SARS-CoV-2 Wuhan , SARS-CoV-2α, SARS-CoV-2δ and SARS-CoV-2ο pseudoviruses using sera from patients with distinct immunological histories, including naive, vaccinated, infected with SARS-CoV-2 Wuhan , SARS-CoV-2α or SARS-CoV-2δ, and vaccinated/infected individuals. We show that the breadth and potency of the antibody-mediated response is influenced by the number, the variant, and the nature (infection or vaccination) of exposures, and that individuals with mixed immunity acquired by vaccination and natural exposure exhibit the broadest and most potent responses. Our results suggest that the interplay between host immunity and SARS-CoV-2 evolution will shape the antigenicity and subsequent transmission dynamics of SARS-CoV-2, with important implications for future vaccine design. Author Summary Neutralising antibodies provide protection against viruses and are generated because of vaccination or prior infections. The main target of anti-SARS-CoV-2 neutralising antibodies is a protein called Spike, which decorates the viral particle and mediates viral entry into cells. As SARS-CoV-2 evolves, mutations accumulate in the spike protein, allowing the virus to escape antibody-mediated immunity and decreasing vaccine effectiveness. Multiple SARS-CoV-2 variants have appeared since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic, causing various waves of infection through the population and infecting-in some cases-people that had been previously infected or vaccinated. Since the antibody response is highly specific, individuals infected with different variants are likely to have different repertoires of neutralising antibodies. We studied the breadth and potency of the antibody-mediated response against different SARS-CoV-2 variants using sera from vaccinated people as well as from people infected with different variants. We show that potency of the antibody response against different SARS-CoV-2 variants depends on the particular variant that infected each person, the exposure type (infection or vaccination) and the number and order of exposures. Our study provides insight into the interplay between virus evolution and immunity, as well as important information for the development of better vaccination strategies.

2.
Virus Evol ; 8(1): veac023, 2022.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1795112

ABSTRACT

COG-UK Mutation Explorer (COG-UK-ME, https://sars2.cvr.gla.ac.uk/cog-uk/-last accessed date 16 March 2022) is a web resource that displays knowledge and analyses on SARS-CoV-2 virus genome mutations and variants circulating in the UK, with a focus on the observed amino acid replacements that have an antigenic role in the context of the human humoral and cellular immune response. This analysis is based on more than 2 million genome sequences (as of March 2022) for UK SARS-CoV-2 data held in the CLIMB-COVID centralised data environment. COG-UK-ME curates these data and displays analyses that are cross-referenced to experimental data collated from the primary literature. The aim is to track mutations of immunological importance that are accumulating in current variants of concern and variants of interest that could alter the neutralising activity of monoclonal antibodies (mAbs), convalescent sera, and vaccines. Changes in epitopes recognised by T cells, including those where reduced T cell binding has been demonstrated, are reported. Mutations that have been shown to confer SARS-CoV-2 resistance to antiviral drugs are also included. Using visualisation tools, COG-UK-ME also allows users to identify the emergence of variants carrying mutations that could decrease the neutralising activity of both mAbs present in therapeutic cocktails, e.g. Ronapreve. COG-UK-ME tracks changes in the frequency of combinations of mutations and brings together the curated literature on the impact of those mutations on various functional aspects of the virus and therapeutics. Given the unpredictable nature of SARS-CoV-2 as exemplified by yet another variant of concern, Omicron, continued surveillance of SARS-CoV-2 remains imperative to monitor virus evolution linked to the efficacy of therapeutics.

3.
Mol Biol Evol ; 39(4)2022 04 11.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1758789

ABSTRACT

Among the 30 nonsynonymous nucleotide substitutions in the Omicron S-gene are 13 that have only rarely been seen in other SARS-CoV-2 sequences. These mutations cluster within three functionally important regions of the S-gene at sites that will likely impact (1) interactions between subunits of the Spike trimer and the predisposition of subunits to shift from down to up configurations, (2) interactions of Spike with ACE2 receptors, and (3) the priming of Spike for membrane fusion. We show here that, based on both the rarity of these 13 mutations in intrapatient sequencing reads and patterns of selection at the codon sites where the mutations occur in SARS-CoV-2 and related sarbecoviruses, prior to the emergence of Omicron the mutations would have been predicted to decrease the fitness of any virus within which they occurred. We further propose that the mutations in each of the three clusters therefore cooperatively interact to both mitigate their individual fitness costs, and, in combination with other mutations, adaptively alter the function of Spike. Given the evident epidemic growth advantages of Omicron overall previously known SARS-CoV-2 lineages, it is crucial to determine both how such complex and highly adaptive mutation constellations were assembled within the Omicron S-gene, and why, despite unprecedented global genomic surveillance efforts, the early stages of this assembly process went completely undetected.


Subject(s)
COVID-19 , Spike Glycoprotein, Coronavirus , COVID-19/genetics , Humans , Mutation , SARS-CoV-2/genetics , Spike Glycoprotein, Coronavirus/genetics
4.
PLoS Pathog ; 17(12): e1010022, 2021 12.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1546978

ABSTRACT

Vaccines are proving to be highly effective in controlling hospitalisation and deaths associated with SARS-CoV-2 infection but the emergence of viral variants with novel antigenic profiles threatens to diminish their efficacy. Assessment of the ability of sera from vaccine recipients to neutralise SARS-CoV-2 variants will inform the success of strategies for minimising COVID19 cases and the design of effective antigenic formulations. Here, we examine the sensitivity of variants of concern (VOCs) representative of the B.1.617.1 and B.1.617.2 (first associated with infections in India) and B.1.351 (first associated with infection in South Africa) lineages of SARS-CoV-2 to neutralisation by sera from individuals vaccinated with the BNT162b2 (Pfizer/BioNTech) and ChAdOx1 (Oxford/AstraZeneca) vaccines. Across all vaccinated individuals, the spike glycoproteins from B.1.617.1 and B.1.617.2 conferred reductions in neutralisation of 4.31 and 5.11-fold respectively. The reduction seen with the B.1.617.2 lineage approached that conferred by the glycoprotein from B.1.351 (South African) variant (6.29-fold reduction) that is known to be associated with reduced vaccine efficacy. Neutralising antibody titres elicited by vaccination with two doses of BNT162b2 were significantly higher than those elicited by vaccination with two doses of ChAdOx1. Fold decreases in the magnitude of neutralisation titre following two doses of BNT162b2, conferred reductions in titre of 7.77, 11.30 and 9.56-fold respectively to B.1.617.1, B.1.617.2 and B.1.351 pseudoviruses, the reduction in neutralisation of the delta variant B.1.617.2 surpassing that of B.1.351. Fold changes in those vaccinated with two doses of ChAdOx1 were 0.69, 4.01 and 1.48 respectively. The accumulation of mutations in these VOCs, and others, demonstrate the quantifiable risk of antigenic drift and subsequent reduction in vaccine efficacy. Accordingly, booster vaccines based on updated variants are likely to be required over time to prevent productive infection. This study also suggests that two dose regimes of vaccine are required for maximal BNT162b2 and ChAdOx1-induced immunity.


Subject(s)
Antibodies, Neutralizing/immunology , Antibodies, Viral/immunology , COVID-19 , Immunization, Secondary , SARS-CoV-2/immunology , /immunology , /immunology , COVID-19/immunology , COVID-19/mortality , COVID-19/prevention & control , HEK293 Cells , Humans
5.
PLoS Pathog ; 17(9): e1009929, 2021 09.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1430555

ABSTRACT

Remdesivir (RDV), a broadly acting nucleoside analogue, is the only FDA approved small molecule antiviral for the treatment of COVID-19 patients. To date, there are no reports identifying SARS-CoV-2 RDV resistance in patients, animal models or in vitro. Here, we selected drug-resistant viral populations by serially passaging SARS-CoV-2 in vitro in the presence of RDV. Using high throughput sequencing, we identified a single mutation in RNA-dependent RNA polymerase (NSP12) at a residue conserved among all coronaviruses in two independently evolved populations displaying decreased RDV sensitivity. Introduction of the NSP12 E802D mutation into our SARS-CoV-2 reverse genetics backbone confirmed its role in decreasing RDV sensitivity in vitro. Substitution of E802 did not affect viral replication or activity of an alternate nucleoside analogue (EIDD2801) but did affect virus fitness in a competition assay. Analysis of the globally circulating SARS-CoV-2 variants (>800,000 sequences) showed no evidence of widespread transmission of RDV-resistant mutants. Surprisingly, we observed an excess of substitutions in spike at corresponding sites identified in the emerging SARS-CoV-2 variants of concern (i.e., H69, E484, N501, H655) indicating that they can arise in vitro in the absence of immune selection. The identification and characterisation of a drug resistant signature within the SARS-CoV-2 genome has implications for clinical management and virus surveillance.


Subject(s)
Adenosine Monophosphate/analogs & derivatives , Alanine/analogs & derivatives , Antiviral Agents/pharmacology , COVID-19 , Coronavirus RNA-Dependent RNA Polymerase/genetics , Drug Resistance, Microbial/genetics , SARS-CoV-2/drug effects , Adenosine Monophosphate/pharmacology , Alanine/pharmacology , Animals , Biological Evolution , COVID-19/drug therapy , Chlorocebus aethiops , Humans , Mutation , SARS-CoV-2/genetics , Spike Glycoprotein, Coronavirus/metabolism , Vero Cells
8.
Vet Rec ; 188(8): e247, 2021 04.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1198417

ABSTRACT

OBJECTIVES: The aim of the study was to find evidence of SARS-CoV-2 infection in UK cats. DESIGN: Tissue samples were tested for SARS-CoV-2 antigen using immunofluorescence and for viral RNA by in situ hybridisation. A set of 387 oropharyngeal swabs that had been submitted for routine respiratory pathogen testing was tested for SARS-CoV-2 RNA using reverse transcriptase quantitative PCR. RESULTS: Lung tissue collected post-mortem from cat 1 tested positive for both SARS-CoV-2 nucleocapsid antigen and RNA. SARS-CoV-2 RNA was detected in an oropharyngeal swab collected from cat 2 that presented with rhinitis and conjunctivitis. High throughput sequencing of the viral genome revealed five single nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs) compared to the nearest UK human SARS-CoV-2 sequence, and this human virus contained eight SNPs compared to the original Wuhan-Hu-1 reference sequence. An analysis of the viral genome of cat 2 together with nine other feline-derived SARS-CoV-2 sequences from around the world revealed no shared cat-specific mutations. CONCLUSIONS: These findings indicate that human-to-cat transmission of SARS-CoV-2 occurred during the COVID-19 pandemic in the UK, with the infected cats developing mild or severe respiratory disease. Given the ability of the new coronavirus to infect different species, it will be important to monitor for human-to-cat, cat-to-cat and cat-to-human transmission.


Subject(s)
COVID-19/veterinary , Cat Diseases/virology , Lung/virology , SARS-CoV-2/isolation & purification , Zoonoses , Animals , COVID-19/epidemiology , COVID-19/transmission , Cats , Female , Humans , RNA, Viral , SARS-CoV-2/genetics , United Kingdom/epidemiology
11.
Nat Microbiol ; 6(1): 112-122, 2021 01.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-989837

ABSTRACT

Coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) was first diagnosed in Scotland on 1 March 2020. During the first month of the outbreak, 2,641 cases of COVID-19 led to 1,832 hospital admissions, 207 intensive care admissions and 126 deaths. We aimed to identify the source and number of introductions of severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2) into Scotland using a combined phylogenetic and epidemiological approach. Sequencing of 1,314 SARS-CoV-2 viral genomes from available patient samples enabled us to estimate that SARS-CoV-2 was introduced to Scotland on at least 283 occasions during February and March 2020. Epidemiological analysis confirmed that early introductions of SARS-CoV-2 originated from mainland Europe (the majority from Italy and Spain). We identified subsequent early outbreaks in the community, within healthcare facilities and at an international conference. Community transmission occurred after 2 March, 3 weeks before control measures were introduced. Earlier travel restrictions or quarantine measures, both locally and internationally, would have reduced the number of COVID-19 cases in Scotland. The risk of multiple reintroduction events in future waves of infection remains high in the absence of population immunity.


Subject(s)
COVID-19/epidemiology , COVID-19/virology , SARS-CoV-2/genetics , Adult , Aged , Europe/epidemiology , Genome, Viral , High-Throughput Nucleotide Sequencing , Humans , Male , Middle Aged , Molecular Epidemiology , Phylogeny , SARS-CoV-2/isolation & purification , Spain/epidemiology , Travel/statistics & numerical data
12.
Virus Evol ; 6(1): veaa034, 2020 Jan.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-143933

ABSTRACT

A recent study by Tang et al. claimed that two major types of severe acute respiratory syndrome-coronavirus-2 (CoV-2) had evolved in the ongoing CoV disease-2019 pandemic and that one of these types was more 'aggressive' than the other. Given the repercussions of these claims and the intense media coverage of these types of articles, we have examined in detail the data presented by Tang et al., and show that the major conclusions of that paper cannot be substantiated. Using examples from other viral outbreaks, we discuss the difficulty in demonstrating the existence or nature of a functional effect of a viral mutation, and we advise against overinterpretation of genomic data during the pandemic.

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