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biorxiv; 2021.
Preprint in English | bioRxiv | ID: ppzbmed-10.1101.2021.03.11.434841


Vaccines are critical for curtailing the COVID-19 pandemic. In the USA, two highly protective mRNA vaccines are available: BNT162b2 from Pfizer/BioNTech and mRNA-1273 from Moderna. These vaccines induce antibodies to the SARS-CoV-2 S-protein, including neutralizing antibodies (NAbs) predominantly directed against the Receptor Binding Domain (RBD). Serum NAbs are induced at modest levels within ~1 week of the first dose, but their titers are strongly boosted by a second dose at 3 (BNT162b2) or 4 weeks (mRNA-1273). SARS-CoV-2 is most commonly transmitted nasally or orally and infects cells in the mucosae of the respiratory and to some extent also the gastrointestinal tract. Although serum NAbs may be a correlate of protection against COVID-19, mucosal antibodies might directly prevent or limit virus acquisition by the nasal, oral and conjunctival routes. Whether the mRNA vaccines induce mucosal immunity has not been studied. Here, we report that antibodies to the S-protein and its RBD are present in saliva samples from mRNA-vaccinated healthcare workers (HCW). Within 1-2 weeks after their second dose, 37/37 and 8/8 recipients of the Pfizer and Moderna vaccines, respectively, had S-protein IgG antibodies in their saliva, while IgA was detected in a substantial proportion. These observations may be relevant to vaccine-mediated protection from SARS-CoV-2 infection and disease.

researchsquare; 2021.


One year into the Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19) pandemic caused by Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2), effective treatments are still needed1–3. Monoclonal antibodies, given alone or as part of a therapeutic cocktail, have shown promising results in patients, raising the hope that they could play an important role in preventing clinical deterioration in severely ill or in exposed, high risk individuals4–6. Here, we evaluated the prophylactic and therapeutic effect of COVA1-18 in vivo, a neutralizing antibody isolated from a convalescent patient7 and highly potent against the B.1.1.7. isolate8,9. In both prophylactic and therapeutic settings, SARS-CoV-2 remained undetectable in the lungs of COVA1-18 treated hACE2 mice. Therapeutic treatment also caused a dramatic reduction in viral loads in the lungs of Syrian hamsters. When administered at 10 mg kg− 1 one day prior to a high dose SARS-CoV-2 challenge in cynomolgus macaques, COVA1-18 had a very strong antiviral activity in the upper respiratory compartments with an estimated reduction in viral infectivity of more than 95%, and prevented lymphopenia and extensive lung lesions. Modelling and experimental findings demonstrate that COVA1-18 has a strong antiviral activity in three different preclinical models and could be a valuable candidate for further clinical evaluation.

ssrn; 2020.
Preprint in English | PREPRINT-SSRN | ID: ppzbmed-10.2139.ssrn.3732360


The SARS-CoV-2 pandemic is continuing to disrupt personal lives, global healthcare systems and economies. Hence, there is an urgent need for a vaccine that prevents viral infection, transmission and disease. Here, we present a two-component protein-based nanoparticle vaccine that displays multiple copies of the SARS-CoV-2 spike protein. Immunization studies show that this vaccine induces potent neutralizing antibody responses in mice, rabbits and cynomolgus macaques. The vaccine-induced immunity protected macaques against a high dose challenge, resulting in strongly reduced viral infection and replication in upper and lower airways. These nanoparticles are a promising vaccine candidate to curtail the SARS-CoV-2 pandemic.Funding: This work was supported by a Netherlands Organization for Scientific Research (NWO) Vici grant (to R.W.S.); by the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation through the Collaboration for AIDS Vaccine Discovery (CAVD) grants OPP1111923, OPP1132237, and INV-002022 (to R.W.S. and/or N.P.K.), INV-008352/OPP1153692 and OPP1196345/INV-008813 (to M.C.), and grant OPP1170236 (to A.B.W.); by the Fondation Dormeur, Vaduz (to R.W.S. and to M.J.v.G.) and Health Holland PPS-allowance LSHM20040 (to M.J.v.G.); the University of Southampton Coronavirus Response Fund (to M.C.); and by the Netherlands Organisation for Health Research and Development ZONMW (to B.L.H). M.J.v.G. is a recipient of an AMC Fellowship from Amsterdam UMC and a COVID-19 grant from the Amsterdam Institute for Infection and Immunity. R.W.S and M.J.v.G. are recipients of support from the University of Amsterdam Proof of Concept fund (contract no. 200421) as managed by Innovation Exchange Amsterdam (IXA). The Infectious Disease Models and Innovative Therapies (IDMIT) research infrastructure is supported by the ‘Programme Investissements d’Avenir, managed by the ANR under reference ANR-11-INBS-0008. The Fondation Bettencourt Schueller and the Region Ile-de-France contributed to the implementation of IDMIT’s facilities and imaging technologies. The NHP study received financial support from REACTing, the National Research Agency (ANR; AM-CoV-Path) and the European Infrastructure TRANSVAC2 (730964). Conflict of Interest: N.P.K. is a co-founder, shareholder, and chair of the scientific advisory board of Icosavax, Inc. All other authors declare no competing interests.Ethical Approval: The protocols were approved by the institutional ethical committee “Comité d’Ethique en Expérimentation Animale du Commissariat à l’Energie Atomique et aux Energies Alternatives” (CEtEA #44) under statement number A20-011. The study was authorized by the “Research, Innovation and Education Ministry” under registration number APAFIS#24434-2020030216532863v1.

biorxiv; 2020.
Preprint in English | bioRxiv | ID: ppzbmed-10.1101.2020.07.13.190140


For yet unknown reasons, severely ill COVID-19 patients often become critically ill around the time of activation of adaptive immunity. Here, we show that anti-Spike IgG from serum of severely ill COVID-19 patients induces a hyper-inflammatory response by human macrophages, which subsequently breaks pulmonary endothelial barrier integrity and induces microvascular thrombosis. The excessive inflammatory capacity of this anti-Spike IgG is related to glycosylation changes in the IgG Fc tail. Moreover, the hyper-inflammatory response induced by anti-Spike IgG can be specifically counteracted in vitro by use of the active component of fostamatinib, an FDA- and EMA-approved therapeutic small molecule inhibitor of Syk. One sentence summaryAnti-Spike IgG promotes hyper-inflammation.

biorxiv; 2020.
Preprint in English | bioRxiv | ID: ppzbmed-10.1101.2020.05.12.088716


The rapid spread of SARS-CoV-2 has a significant impact on global health, travel and economy. Therefore, preventative and therapeutic measures are urgently needed. Here, we isolated neutralizing antibodies from convalescent COVID-19 patients using a SARS-CoV-2 stabilized prefusion spike protein. Several of these antibodies were able to potently inhibit live SARS-CoV-2 infection at concentrations as low as 0.007 {micro}g/mL, making them the most potent human SARS-CoV-2 antibodies described to date. Mapping studies revealed that the SARS-CoV-2 spike protein contained multiple distinct antigenic sites, including several receptor-binding domain (RBD) epitopes as well as previously undefined non-RBD epitopes. In addition to providing guidance for vaccine design, these mAbs are promising candidates for treatment and prevention of COVID-19.