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1.
Nat Commun ; 13(1): 21, 2022 01 10.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1616983

ABSTRACT

While the seroprevalence of SARS-CoV-2 in healthy people does not differ significantly among age groups, those aged 65 years or older exhibit strikingly higher COVID-19 mortality compared to younger individuals. To further understand differing COVID-19 manifestations in patients of different ages, three age groups of ferrets are infected with SARS-CoV-2. Although SARS-CoV-2 is isolated from all ferrets regardless of age, aged ferrets (≥3 years old) show higher viral loads, longer nasal virus shedding, and more severe lung inflammatory cell infiltration, and clinical symptoms compared to juvenile (≤6 months) and young adult (1-2 years) groups. Furthermore, direct contact ferrets co-housed with the virus-infected aged group shed more virus than direct-contact ferrets co-housed with virus-infected juvenile or young adult ferrets. Transcriptome analysis of aged ferret lungs reveals strong enrichment of gene sets related to type I interferon, activated T cells, and M1 macrophage responses, mimicking the gene expression profile of severe COVID-19 patients. Thus, SARS-CoV-2-infected aged ferrets highly recapitulate COVID-19 patients with severe symptoms and are useful for understanding age-associated infection, transmission, and pathogenesis of SARS-CoV-2.

2.
Preprint in English | Other preprints | ID: ppcovidwho-294047

ABSTRACT

Background We investigated the safety and immunogenicity of two recombinant COVID-19 DNA vaccine candidates in first-in-human trials. GX-19 contains plasmid DNA encoding SARS-CoV-2 spike protein, and GX-19N contains plasmid DNA encoding SARS-CoV-2 receptor binding domain (RBD) foldon and nucleocapsid protein (NP) as well as plasmid DNA encoding SARS-CoV-2 spike protein. Methods Two open-label phase 1 trials of GX-19 and GX-19N safety and immunogenicity were performed in healthy adults aged 19–55 years. GX-19 trial participants received two vaccine injections (1·5 mg or 3·0 mg, 1:1 ratio) four weeks apart. GX-19N trial participants received two 3·0 mg vaccine injections four weeks apart. Findings Between June 17 and July 30 and December 28 and 31, 2020, 40 and 21 participants were enrolled in the GX-19 and GX-19N trials, respectively. Thirty-two participants (52·5%) reported 80 treatment-emergent adverse events (AE) after vaccination. All solicited AEs were mild except one case of moderate fatigue reported in the 1·5 mg GX-19 group. Binding antibody responses increased after vaccination in all groups. The geometric mean titers (GMTs) of spike-binding antibodies on day 57 were 85·74, 144·20, and 201·59 in the 1·5 mg, 3·0 mg GX-19 groups and the 3·0 mg GX-19N group, respectively. In GX-19N group, neutralizing antibody response (50% neutralizing titer using FRNT) significantly increased after vaccination, but GMT of neutralizing antibody on day 57 (37.26) was lower than those from human convalescent serum (288.78). GX-19N induced stronger T cell responses than GX-19. The magnitude of GX-19N-induced T cell responses was comparable to those observed in the convalescent PBMCs. GX-19N induced both SARS-CoV-2 spike- and NP-specific T cell responses, and the amino acid sequences of 15-mer peptides containing NP-specific T cell epitopes identified in GX-19N-vaccinated participants were identical with those of diverse SARS-CoV-2 variants Interpretation GX-19N is safe, tolerated and induces humoral and broad SARS-CoV-2-specific T cell response which may enable cross-reactivity to emerging SARS-CoV-2 variants. Funding This research was supported by Korea Drug Development Fund funded by Ministry of Science and ICT, Ministry of Trade, Industry, and Energy, and Ministry of Health and Welfare (HQ20C0016, Republic of Korea). Research in context Evidence before this study To overcome the COVID-19 outbreak, the development of safe and effective vaccines is crucial. Despite the successful clinical efficacy of the approved vaccines, concerns exist regarding emerging new SARS-CoV-2 variants that have mutated receptor binding domains in the spike protein. We searched PubMed for research articles published up to May 1, 2021, using various combinations of the terms “COVID-19” or “SARS-CoV-2”, “vaccine”, and “clinical trial”. No language or data restrictions were applied. We also searched the ClinicalTrials.gov registry and World Health Organization (WHO) draft landscape of COVID-19 candidate vaccines for ongoing trials of COVID-19 vaccines up to May 1, 2021. Ten DNA-based vaccines, including the vaccine candidate reported here, are in ongoing clinical trials. Among these, safety and immunogenicity results were reported from only one phase 1 trial of a DNA vaccine against SARS-CoV-2 (INO-4800). INO-4800 demonstrated favorable safety and tolerability and was immunogenic, eliciting humoral and/or cellular immune responses in all vaccinated subjects. There is only one ongoing clinical trial of a vaccine against SARS-CoV-2 variants (mRNA-1273.351). Added value of this study This is the first-in-human phase 1 trial in healthy adults of a recombinant DNA vaccine for COVID-19 (GX-19N) containing the coding regions of both the spike and nucleocapsid proteins. This trial showed that GX-19N is safe, tolerated, and able to induce both humoral and cellular responses. A two-dose vaccination of 3·0 mg GX-19N (on days 1 and 29) induced significant humoral a d cellular responses. The neutralizing geometric mean titers in individuals vaccinated with GX-19N were lower than those of human convalescent sera. However, the GX-19N group showed increased T cell responses, which was similar to those analyzed using convalescent PBMCs. Furthermore, GX-19N induced not only SARS-CoV-2 spike-specific T cell responses but also broad nucleocapsid-specific T cell responses, which were also specific to SARS-CoV-2 variants. Implications of all the available evidence It is important to note that GX-19N contains a plasmid encoding both the spike and nucleocapsid proteins, and that it showed broad SARS-CoV-2-specific T cell responses, which may allow cross-reactivity with emerging SARS-CoV-2 variants. Based on these safety and immunogenicity findings, GX-19N was selected for phase 2 immunogenicity trials.

3.
J Infect Dis ; 224(5): 754-763, 2021 09 01.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1381010

ABSTRACT

BACKGROUND: There is insufficient data on the longevity of immunity acquired after severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2) infection. METHODS: We aimed to evaluate the duration of SARS-CoV-2-specific humoral and cellular immunity according to the clinical severity of coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19). The study population comprised asymptomatic (n = 14), symptomatic/nonpneumonic (n = 42), and pneumonic (n = 41) patients. RESULTS: The anti-SARS-CoV-2 immunoglobulin class G and neutralizing antibody (NAb) titers lasted until 6 months after diagnosis, with positivity rates of 66.7% and 86.9%, respectively. Older age, prolonged viral shedding, and accompanying pneumonia were more frequently found in patients with sustained humoral immunity. Severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2-specific T-cell response was strongly observed in pneumonic patients and prominent in individuals with sustained humoral immunity. CONCLUSIONS: In conclusion, most (>85%) patients carry NAb until 6 months after diagnosis of SARS-CoV-2 infection, providing insights for establishing vaccination strategies against COVID-19.


Subject(s)
COVID-19/immunology , SARS-CoV-2/immunology , Adult , Antibodies, Neutralizing/immunology , Antibodies, Viral/immunology , COVID-19/diagnosis , COVID-19/virology , Female , Humans , Immunity, Cellular , Immunity, Humoral , Immunoglobulin G/immunology , Longitudinal Studies , Male , Middle Aged , Prospective Studies , T-Lymphocytes/immunology , Virus Shedding
4.
J Allergy Clin Immunol ; 148(4): 996-1006.e18, 2021 10.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1330917

ABSTRACT

BACKGROUND: Our understanding of adaptive immune responses in patients with coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) is rapidly evolving, but information on the innate immune responses by natural killer (NK) cells is still insufficient. OBJECTIVE: We aimed to examine the phenotypic and functional status of NK cells and their changes during the course of mild and severe COVID-19. METHODS: We performed RNA sequencing and flow cytometric analysis of NK cells from patients with mild and severe COVID-19 at multiple time points in the course of the disease using cryopreserved PBMCs. RESULTS: In RNA-sequencing analysis, the NK cells exhibited distinctive features compared with healthy donors, with significant enrichment of proinflammatory cytokine-mediated signaling pathways. Intriguingly, we found that the unconventional CD56dimCD16neg NK-cell population expanded in cryopreserved PBMCs from patients with COVID-19 regardless of disease severity, accompanied by decreased NK-cell cytotoxicity. The NK-cell population was rapidly normalized alongside the disappearance of unconventional CD56dimCD16neg NK cells and the recovery of NK-cell cytotoxicity in patients with mild COVID-19, but this occurred slowly in patients with severe COVID-19. CONCLUSIONS: The current longitudinal study provides a deep understanding of the NK-cell biology in COVID-19.


Subject(s)
COVID-19/immunology , Killer Cells, Natural/immunology , Lymphocyte Activation , SARS-CoV-2/immunology , Adult , COVID-19/pathology , Humans , Killer Cells, Natural/pathology , Longitudinal Studies , Male , Middle Aged , Prospective Studies , RNA-Seq
5.
Nat Commun ; 12(1): 4567, 2021 07 27.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1328845

ABSTRACT

Few studies have used a longitudinal approach to describe the immune response to SARS-CoV-2 infection. Here, we perform single-cell RNA sequencing of bronchoalveolar lavage fluid cells longitudinally obtained from SARS-CoV-2-infected ferrets. Landscape analysis of the lung immune microenvironment shows distinct changes in cell proportions and characteristics compared to uninfected control, at 2 and 5 days post-infection (dpi). Macrophages are classified into 10 distinct subpopulations with transcriptome changes among monocyte-derived infiltrating macrophages and differentiated M1/M2 macrophages, notably at 2 dpi. Moreover, trajectory analysis reveals gene expression changes from monocyte-derived infiltrating macrophages toward M1 or M2 macrophages and identifies a macrophage subpopulation that has rapidly undergone SARS-CoV-2-mediated activation of inflammatory responses. Finally, we find that M1 or M2 macrophages show distinct patterns of gene modules downregulated by immune-modulatory drugs. Overall, these results elucidate fundamental aspects of the immune response dynamics provoked by SARS-CoV-2 infection.


Subject(s)
COVID-19/genetics , COVID-19/metabolism , Macrophages/metabolism , Macrophages/physiology , Animals , Bronchoalveolar Lavage Fluid , Ferrets
6.
Nat Commun ; 12(1): 4043, 2021 06 30.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1290767

ABSTRACT

Memory T cells contribute to rapid viral clearance during re-infection, but the longevity and differentiation of SARS-CoV-2-specific memory T cells remain unclear. Here we conduct ex vivo assays to evaluate SARS-CoV-2-specific CD4+ and CD8+ T cell responses in COVID-19 convalescent patients up to 317 days post-symptom onset (DPSO), and find that memory T cell responses are maintained during the study period regardless of the severity of COVID-19. In particular, we observe sustained polyfunctionality and proliferation capacity of SARS-CoV-2-specific T cells. Among SARS-CoV-2-specific CD4+ and CD8+ T cells detected by activation-induced markers, the proportion of stem cell-like memory T (TSCM) cells is increased, peaking at approximately 120 DPSO. Development of TSCM cells is confirmed by SARS-CoV-2-specific MHC-I multimer staining. Considering the self-renewal capacity and multipotency of TSCM cells, our data suggest that SARS-CoV-2-specific T cells are long-lasting after recovery from COVID-19, thus support the feasibility of effective vaccination programs as a measure for COVID-19 control.


Subject(s)
CD4-Positive T-Lymphocytes/immunology , CD8-Positive T-Lymphocytes/immunology , COVID-19/immunology , Immunologic Memory/immunology , SARS-CoV-2/immunology , Antibodies, Viral/blood , COVID-19 Vaccines/immunology , Enzyme-Linked Immunosorbent Assay , Humans , Interferon-gamma/blood , Vaccination
7.
Immunity ; 54(1): 44-52.e3, 2021 01 12.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1065202

ABSTRACT

Memory T cell responses have been demonstrated in COVID-19 convalescents, but ex vivo phenotypes of SARS-CoV-2-specific T cells have been unclear. We detected SARS-CoV-2-specific CD8+ T cells by MHC class I multimer staining and examined their phenotypes and functions in acute and convalescent COVID-19. Multimer+ cells exhibited early differentiated effector-memory phenotypes in the early convalescent phase. The frequency of stem-like memory cells was increased among multimer+ cells in the late convalescent phase. Cytokine secretion assays combined with MHC class I multimer staining revealed that the proportion of interferon-γ (IFN-γ)-producing cells was significantly lower among SARS-CoV-2-specific CD8+ T cells than those specific to influenza A virus. Importantly, the proportion of IFN-γ-producing cells was higher in PD-1+ cells than PD-1- cells among multimer+ cells, indicating that PD-1-expressing, SARS-CoV-2-specific CD8+ T cells are not exhausted, but functional. Our current findings provide information for understanding of SARS-CoV-2-specific CD8+ T cells elicited by infection or vaccination.


Subject(s)
CD8-Positive T-Lymphocytes/immunology , COVID-19/immunology , Programmed Cell Death 1 Receptor/metabolism , SARS-CoV-2/immunology , Acute-Phase Reaction/immunology , Acute-Phase Reaction/virology , COVID-19/pathology , COVID-19/virology , Convalescence , Epitopes, T-Lymphocyte , Histocompatibility Antigens Class I/immunology , Humans , Immunologic Memory , Immunophenotyping , Interferon-gamma/metabolism , Lymphocyte Activation , Viral Load
8.
Immunity ; 54(1): 44-52.e3, 2021 01 12.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-988082

ABSTRACT

Memory T cell responses have been demonstrated in COVID-19 convalescents, but ex vivo phenotypes of SARS-CoV-2-specific T cells have been unclear. We detected SARS-CoV-2-specific CD8+ T cells by MHC class I multimer staining and examined their phenotypes and functions in acute and convalescent COVID-19. Multimer+ cells exhibited early differentiated effector-memory phenotypes in the early convalescent phase. The frequency of stem-like memory cells was increased among multimer+ cells in the late convalescent phase. Cytokine secretion assays combined with MHC class I multimer staining revealed that the proportion of interferon-γ (IFN-γ)-producing cells was significantly lower among SARS-CoV-2-specific CD8+ T cells than those specific to influenza A virus. Importantly, the proportion of IFN-γ-producing cells was higher in PD-1+ cells than PD-1- cells among multimer+ cells, indicating that PD-1-expressing, SARS-CoV-2-specific CD8+ T cells are not exhausted, but functional. Our current findings provide information for understanding of SARS-CoV-2-specific CD8+ T cells elicited by infection or vaccination.


Subject(s)
CD8-Positive T-Lymphocytes/immunology , COVID-19/immunology , Programmed Cell Death 1 Receptor/metabolism , SARS-CoV-2/immunology , Acute-Phase Reaction/immunology , Acute-Phase Reaction/virology , COVID-19/pathology , COVID-19/virology , Convalescence , Epitopes, T-Lymphocyte , Histocompatibility Antigens Class I/immunology , Humans , Immunologic Memory , Immunophenotyping , Interferon-gamma/metabolism , Lymphocyte Activation , Viral Load
9.
Sci Immunol ; 5(49)2020 07 10.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-639363

ABSTRACT

Although most SARS-CoV-2-infected individuals experience mild coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19), some patients suffer from severe COVID-19, which is accompanied by acute respiratory distress syndrome and systemic inflammation. To identify factors driving severe progression of COVID-19, we performed single-cell RNA-seq using peripheral blood mononuclear cells (PBMCs) obtained from healthy donors, patients with mild or severe COVID-19, and patients with severe influenza. Patients with COVID-19 exhibited hyper-inflammatory signatures across all types of cells among PBMCs, particularly up-regulation of the TNF/IL-1ß-driven inflammatory response as compared to severe influenza. In classical monocytes from patients with severe COVID-19, type I IFN response co-existed with the TNF/IL-1ß-driven inflammation, and this was not seen in patients with milder COVID-19. Interestingly, we documented type I IFN-driven inflammatory features in patients with severe influenza as well. Based on this, we propose that the type I IFN response plays a pivotal role in exacerbating inflammation in severe COVID-19.


Subject(s)
Betacoronavirus/genetics , Betacoronavirus/immunology , Coronavirus Infections/immunology , Immunophenotyping , Influenza A virus/immunology , Influenza, Human/immunology , Interferon Type I/metabolism , Pneumonia, Viral/immunology , Severity of Illness Index , Adult , Aged , Aged, 80 and over , CD8-Positive T-Lymphocytes/immunology , COVID-19 , Cells, Cultured , Coronavirus Infections/blood , Coronavirus Infections/virology , Female , Healthy Volunteers , Humans , Inflammation/immunology , Influenza, Human/blood , Influenza, Human/virology , Interleukin-1beta/metabolism , Male , Middle Aged , Pandemics , Pneumonia, Viral/blood , Pneumonia, Viral/virology , RNA-Seq , SARS-CoV-2 , Single-Cell Analysis , Transcriptome , Tumor Necrosis Factor-alpha/metabolism
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