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1.
EuropePMC; 2021.
Preprint in English | EuropePMC | ID: ppcovidwho-305830

ABSTRACT

Background: For a targeted therapeutic strategy to show outcome benefit, there needs to be a strong biological and pathogenic rationale to underpin and direct personalised treatments. Relevant biological disease features and biomarkers identify patients for the correct therapeutic, delivered at an appropriate time, dose and duration for maximal efficacy. We evaluated whether serum levels of a wide range of proposed therapeutic targets in COVID-19 discriminated between patients with mild and severe disease or death.Methods: A search of clinicaltrials.gov identified immunological drug targets in COVID-19. We subsequently conducted an observational study investigating the association of serum biomarkers relating to putative therapeutic biomarkers with illness severity and outcome.Results: A search of clinicaltrials.gov identified 477 randomized trials assessing immunomodulatory therapies, including 168 different therapies against 83 different pathways. We measured levels of ten cytokines/signalling proteins including those related to the most common therapeutic targets (GM-CSF, IFN-α2a, IFN-β, IFN-γ, IL-1β, IL-1ra, IL-6, IL-7, IL-8, TNF-α), immunoglobulin G ( IgG) antibodies directed against either the COVID-19 spike protein (S1) or nucleocapsid protein (N), and neutralization titres of antibodies within the first 5 days of hospital admission in 86 patients, 44 (51%) with mild disease and 42 (49%) with severe disease. Six of the ten cytokine/signalling protein markers measured (IL-6, IL-7, IL-8, interferon- a, interferon- b, IL -1ra ) discriminated between patients with mild and severe disease, although most were similar or only modestly raised above that seen in healthy volunteers. A similar proportion of patients with mild or severe disease had detectable S1 or N IgG antibodies with equivalent levels between groups. Neutralization titres were higher among patients with severe disease.Interpretation: Some therapeutic and prognostic biomarkers may be potentially useful in identifying patients who may benefit from specific immunomodulatory therapies in COVID-19 disease, particularly interleukin-6. It is however noteworthy that absolute values of a number of identified biomarkers were either appropriately elevated or within the normal range. This implies that these immunomodulatory treatments may be of limited benefit.Funding: National Institute for Health Research UCLH Biomedical Research Centre (BRC756/HI/MS/101440) and the UCL Coronavirus Response Fund.Declaration of Interests: MeS reports grants and advisory board fees from NewB, grants from the Defence Science and Technology Laboratory, Critical Pressure, Apollo Therapeutics, advisory board and speaker fees (paid to his institution) from Amormed, Biotest, GE, Baxter, Roche, and Bayer, and honorarium for chairing a data monitoring and safety committee from Shionogi. All other authors have nothing to declare. Ethics Approval Statement: Ethical approval was received from the London-Westminster Research Ethics Committee, the Health Research Authority and Health and Care Research Wales (HCRW) on 2nd July 2020 (REC reference 20/HRA/2505, IRAS ID 284088). The SAFER study protocol was approved by the NHS Health Research Authority (ref 20/SC/0147) on 26 March 2020. Ethical oversight was provided by the South- Central Berkshire Research Ethics Committee.

2.
J Clin Invest ; 132(2)2022 01 18.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1633624

ABSTRACT

Memory B cells (MBCs) can provide a recall response able to supplement waning antibodies (Abs) with an affinity-matured response better able to neutralize variant viruses. We studied a cohort of elderly care home residents and younger staff (median age of 87 years and 56 years, respectively), who had survived COVID-19 outbreaks with only mild or asymptomatic infection. The cohort was selected because of its high proportion of individuals who had lost neutralizing antibodies (nAbs), thus allowing us to specifically investigate the reserve immunity from SARS-CoV-2-specific MBCs in this setting. Class-switched spike and receptor-binding domain (RBD) tetramer-binding MBCs persisted 5 months after mild or asymptomatic SARS-CoV-2 infection, irrespective of age. The majority of spike- and RBD-specific MBCs had a classical phenotype, but we found that activated MBCs, indicating possible ongoing antigenic stimulation or inflammation, were expanded in the elderly group. Spike- and RBD-specific MBCs remained detectable in the majority of individuals who had lost nAbs, although at lower frequencies and with a reduced IgG/IgA isotype ratio. Functional spike-, S1 subunit of the spike protein- (S1-), and RBD-specific recall was also detectable by enzyme-linked immune absorbent spot (ELISPOT) assay in some individuals who had lost nAbs, but was significantly impaired in the elderly. Our findings demonstrate that a reserve of SARS-CoV-2-specific MBCs persists beyond the loss of nAbs but highlight the need for careful monitoring of functional defects in spike- and RBD-specific B cell immunity in the elderly.


Subject(s)
Antibodies, Neutralizing/immunology , Antibodies, Viral/immunology , COVID-19/immunology , Immunologic Memory , SARS-CoV-2/immunology , COVID-19/epidemiology , Female , Humans , Immunoglobulin Class Switching , Male , Spike Glycoprotein, Coronavirus/immunology
3.
J Clin Invest ; 132(2)2022 01 18.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1541976

ABSTRACT

Memory B cells (MBCs) can provide a recall response able to supplement waning antibodies (Abs) with an affinity-matured response better able to neutralize variant viruses. We studied a cohort of elderly care home residents and younger staff (median age of 87 years and 56 years, respectively), who had survived COVID-19 outbreaks with only mild or asymptomatic infection. The cohort was selected because of its high proportion of individuals who had lost neutralizing antibodies (nAbs), thus allowing us to specifically investigate the reserve immunity from SARS-CoV-2-specific MBCs in this setting. Class-switched spike and receptor-binding domain (RBD) tetramer-binding MBCs persisted 5 months after mild or asymptomatic SARS-CoV-2 infection, irrespective of age. The majority of spike- and RBD-specific MBCs had a classical phenotype, but we found that activated MBCs, indicating possible ongoing antigenic stimulation or inflammation, were expanded in the elderly group. Spike- and RBD-specific MBCs remained detectable in the majority of individuals who had lost nAbs, although at lower frequencies and with a reduced IgG/IgA isotype ratio. Functional spike-, S1 subunit of the spike protein- (S1-), and RBD-specific recall was also detectable by enzyme-linked immune absorbent spot (ELISPOT) assay in some individuals who had lost nAbs, but was significantly impaired in the elderly. Our findings demonstrate that a reserve of SARS-CoV-2-specific MBCs persists beyond the loss of nAbs but highlight the need for careful monitoring of functional defects in spike- and RBD-specific B cell immunity in the elderly.


Subject(s)
Antibodies, Neutralizing/immunology , Antibodies, Viral/immunology , COVID-19/immunology , Immunologic Memory , SARS-CoV-2/immunology , COVID-19/epidemiology , Female , Humans , Immunoglobulin Class Switching , Male , Spike Glycoprotein, Coronavirus/immunology
5.
Sci Adv ; 7(22)2021 05.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1388434

ABSTRACT

The coronaviral spike is the dominant viral antigen and the target of neutralizing antibodies. We show that SARS-CoV-2 spike binds biliverdin and bilirubin, the tetrapyrrole products of heme metabolism, with nanomolar affinity. Using cryo-electron microscopy and x-ray crystallography, we mapped the tetrapyrrole interaction pocket to a deep cleft on the spike N-terminal domain (NTD). At physiological concentrations, biliverdin significantly dampened the reactivity of SARS-CoV-2 spike with immune sera and inhibited a subset of neutralizing antibodies. Access to the tetrapyrrole-sensitive epitope is gated by a flexible loop on the distal face of the NTD. Accompanied by profound conformational changes in the NTD, antibody binding requires relocation of the gating loop, which folds into the cleft vacated by the metabolite. Our results indicate that SARS-CoV-2 spike NTD harbors a dominant epitope, access to which can be controlled by an allosteric mechanism that is regulated through recruitment of a metabolite.


Subject(s)
COVID-19/immunology , Heme/metabolism , Spike Glycoprotein, Coronavirus/chemistry , Spike Glycoprotein, Coronavirus/immunology , Spike Glycoprotein, Coronavirus/metabolism , Antibodies, Monoclonal/immunology , Antibodies, Monoclonal/metabolism , Antibodies, Neutralizing/immunology , Bilirubin/metabolism , Biliverdine/metabolism , Cryoelectron Microscopy , Crystallography, X-Ray , Epitopes , Humans , Immune Sera , SARS-CoV-2/immunology , SARS-CoV-2/pathogenicity
6.
Nature ; 592(7853): 277-282, 2021 04.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1387425

ABSTRACT

The spike protein of severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2) is critical for virus infection through the engagement of the human ACE2 protein1 and is a major antibody target. Here we show that chronic infection with SARS-CoV-2 leads to viral evolution and reduced sensitivity to neutralizing antibodies in an immunosuppressed individual treated with convalescent plasma, by generating whole-genome ultra-deep sequences for 23 time points that span 101 days and using in vitro techniques to characterize the mutations revealed by sequencing. There was little change in the overall structure of the viral population after two courses of remdesivir during the first 57 days. However, after convalescent plasma therapy, we observed large, dynamic shifts in the viral population, with the emergence of a dominant viral strain that contained a substitution (D796H) in the S2 subunit and a deletion (ΔH69/ΔV70) in the S1 N-terminal domain of the spike protein. As passively transferred serum antibodies diminished, viruses with the escape genotype were reduced in frequency, before returning during a final, unsuccessful course of convalescent plasma treatment. In vitro, the spike double mutant bearing both ΔH69/ΔV70 and D796H conferred modestly decreased sensitivity to convalescent plasma, while maintaining infectivity levels that were similar to the wild-type virus.The spike substitution mutant D796H appeared to be the main contributor to the decreased susceptibility to neutralizing antibodies, but this mutation resulted in an infectivity defect. The spike deletion mutant ΔH69/ΔV70 had a twofold higher level of infectivity than wild-type SARS-CoV-2, possibly compensating for the reduced infectivity of the D796H mutation. These data reveal strong selection on SARS-CoV-2 during convalescent plasma therapy, which is associated with the emergence of viral variants that show evidence of reduced susceptibility to neutralizing antibodies in immunosuppressed individuals.


Subject(s)
COVID-19/drug therapy , COVID-19/therapy , COVID-19/virology , Evolution, Molecular , Mutagenesis/drug effects , SARS-CoV-2/drug effects , SARS-CoV-2/genetics , Adenosine Monophosphate/analogs & derivatives , Adenosine Monophosphate/pharmacology , Adenosine Monophosphate/therapeutic use , Aged , Alanine/analogs & derivatives , Alanine/pharmacology , Alanine/therapeutic use , Antibodies, Neutralizing/immunology , Antibodies, Viral/immunology , COVID-19/immunology , Chronic Disease , Genome, Viral/drug effects , Genome, Viral/genetics , High-Throughput Nucleotide Sequencing , Humans , Immune Evasion/drug effects , Immune Evasion/genetics , Immune Evasion/immunology , Immune Tolerance/drug effects , Immune Tolerance/immunology , Immunization, Passive , Male , Mutant Proteins/chemistry , Mutant Proteins/genetics , Mutant Proteins/immunology , Mutation , Phylogeny , SARS-CoV-2/immunology , SARS-CoV-2/metabolism , Spike Glycoprotein, Coronavirus/chemistry , Spike Glycoprotein, Coronavirus/genetics , Spike Glycoprotein, Coronavirus/immunology , Time Factors , Viral Load/drug effects , Virus Shedding
7.
Crit Care Explor ; 3(8): e0488, 2021 Aug.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1356719

ABSTRACT

OBJECTIVES: Multiple mechanisms have been proposed to explain disease severity in coronavirus disease 2019. Therapeutic approaches need to be underpinned by sound biological rationale. We evaluated whether serum levels of a range of proposed coronavirus disease 2019 therapeutic targets discriminated between patients with mild or severe disease. DESIGN: A search of ClinicalTrials.gov identified coronavirus disease 2019 immunological drug targets. We subsequently conducted a retrospective observational cohort study investigating the association of serum biomarkers within the first 5 days of hospital admission relating to putative therapeutic biomarkers with illness severity and outcome. SETTING: University College London, a tertiary academic medical center in the United Kingdom. PATIENTS: Patients admitted to hospital with a diagnosis of coronavirus disease 2019. INTERVENTIONS: None. MEASUREMENTS AND MAIN RESULTS: Eighty-six patients were recruited, 44 (51%) with mild disease and 42 (49%) with severe disease. We measured levels of 10 cytokines/signaling proteins related to the most common therapeutic targets (granulocyte-macrophage colony-stimulating factor, interferon-α2a, interferon-ß, interferon-γ, interleukin-1ß, interleukin-1 receptor antagonist, interleukin-6, interleukin-7, interleukin-8, tumor necrosis factor-α), immunoglobulin G antibodies directed against either coronavirus disease 2019 spike protein or nucleocapsid protein, and neutralization titers of antibodies. Four-hundred seventy-seven randomized trials, including 168 different therapies against 83 different pathways, were identified. Six of the 10 markers (interleukin-6, interleukin-7, interleukin-8, interferon-α2a, interferon-ß, interleukin-1 receptor antagonist) discriminated between patients with mild and severe disease, although most were similar or only modestly raised above that seen in healthy volunteers. A similar proportion of patients with mild or severe disease had detectable spike protein or nucleocapsid protein immunoglobulin G antibodies with equivalent levels between groups. Neutralization titers were higher among patients with severe disease. CONCLUSIONS: Some therapeutic and prognostic biomarkers may be useful in identifying coronavirus disease 2019 patients who may benefit from specific immunomodulatory therapies, particularly interleukin-6. However, biomarker absolute values often did not discriminate between patients with mild and severe disease or death, implying that these immunomodulatory treatments may be of limited benefit.

10.
Kidney Int Rep ; 6(7): 1799-1809, 2021 Jul.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1213216

ABSTRACT

INTRODUCTION: Patients with end-stage kidney disease (ESKD) represent a vulnerable group with multiple risk factors that are associated with poor outcomes after severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2) infection. Despite established susceptibility to infectious complications and the importance of humoral immunity in protection against SARS-CoV-2, few studies have investigated the humoral immune response to SARS-CoV-2 within this population. Here, we evaluate the seroprevalence of SARS-CoV-2 in patients awaiting renal transplantation and determine whether seroconverted patients with ESKD have durable and functional neutralizing activity against SARS-CoV-2. METHODS: Serum samples were obtained from 164 patients with ESKD by August 2020. Humoral immune responses were evaluated by SARS-CoV-2 spike S1 subunit and nucleoprotein semiquantitative enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay (ELISA) and SARS-CoV-2 spike pseudotype neutralization assay. RESULTS: All patients with ESKD with reverse-transcriptase polymerase chain reaction (RT-PCR)-confirmed infection (n = 17) except for 1 individual seroconverted against SARS-CoV-2. Overall seroprevalence (anti-S1 and/or anti-N IgG) was 36% and was higher in patients on hemodialysis (44.2%). A total of 35.6% of individuals who seroconverted were asymptomatic. Seroconversion in the absence of a neutralizing antibody (nAb) titer was observed in 12 patients, all of whom were asymptomatic. Repeat measurements at a median of 93 days from baseline sampling revealed that most individuals retained detectable responses although a significant drop in S1, N and nAb titers was observed. CONCLUSION: Patients with ESKD, including those who develop asymptomatic disease, routinely seroconvert and produce detectable nAb titers against SARS-CoV-2. Although IgG levels wane over time, the neutralizing antibodies remain detectable in most patients, suggesting some level of protection is likely maintained, particularly in those who originally develop stronger responses.

11.
Cell Rep ; 34(12): 108890, 2021 03 23.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1131156

ABSTRACT

Multiple severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2) vaccines show protective efficacy, which is most likely mediated by neutralizing antibodies recognizing the viral entry protein, spike. Because new SARS-CoV-2 variants are emerging rapidly, as exemplified by the B.1.1.7, B.1.351, and P.1 lineages, it is critical to understand whether antibody responses induced by infection with the original SARS-CoV-2 virus or current vaccines remain effective. In this study, we evaluate neutralization of a series of mutated spike pseudotypes based on divergence from SARS-CoV and then compare neutralization of the B.1.1.7 spike pseudotype and individual mutations. Spike-specific monoclonal antibody neutralization is reduced dramatically; in contrast, polyclonal antibodies from individuals infected in early 2020 remain active against most mutated spike pseudotypes, but potency is reduced in a minority of samples. This work highlights that changes in SARS-CoV-2 spike can alter neutralization sensitivity and underlines the need for effective real-time monitoring of emerging mutations and their effect on vaccine efficacy.


Subject(s)
Antibodies, Neutralizing/immunology , COVID-19/virology , SARS-CoV-2/genetics , SARS-CoV-2/immunology , Spike Glycoprotein, Coronavirus/genetics , Antibodies, Monoclonal/genetics , Antibodies, Monoclonal/immunology , Antibodies, Viral/immunology , Antibody Formation , COVID-19/immunology , COVID-19/metabolism , COVID-19 Vaccines/immunology , HEK293 Cells , Humans , Neutralization Tests/methods , Point Mutation , Receptors, Virus/genetics , Receptors, Virus/metabolism , Spike Glycoprotein, Coronavirus/immunology
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