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1.
Lancet Microbe ; 2021 Nov 09.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1510521

ABSTRACT

Background: Previous infection with SARS-CoV-2 affects the immune response to the first dose of the SARS-CoV-2 vaccine. We aimed to compare SARS-CoV-2-specific T-cell and antibody responses in health-care workers with and without previous SARS-CoV-2 infection following a single dose of the BNT162b2 (tozinameran; Pfizer-BioNTech) mRNA vaccine. Methods: We sampled health-care workers enrolled in the PITCH study across four hospital sites in the UK (Oxford, Liverpool, Newcastle, and Sheffield). All health-care workers aged 18 years or older consenting to participate in this prospective cohort study were included, with no exclusion criteria applied. Blood samples were collected where possible before vaccination and 28 (±7) days following one or two doses (given 3-4 weeks apart) of the BNT162b2 vaccine. Previous infection was determined by a documented SARS-CoV-2-positive RT-PCR result or the presence of positive anti-SARS-CoV-2 nucleocapsid antibodies. We measured spike-specific IgG antibodies and quantified T-cell responses by interferon-γ enzyme-linked immunospot assay in all participants where samples were available at the time of analysis, comparing SARS-CoV-2-naive individuals to those with previous infection. Findings: Between Dec 9, 2020, and Feb 9, 2021, 119 SARS-CoV-2-naive and 145 previously infected health-care workers received one dose, and 25 SARS-CoV-2-naive health-care workers received two doses, of the BNT162b2 vaccine. In previously infected health-care workers, the median time from previous infection to vaccination was 268 days (IQR 232-285). At 28 days (IQR 27-33) after a single dose, the spike-specific T-cell response measured in fresh peripheral blood mononuclear cells (PBMCs) was higher in previously infected (n=76) than in infection-naive (n=45) health-care workers (median 284 [IQR 150-461] vs 55 [IQR 24-132] spot-forming units [SFUs] per 106 PBMCs; p<0·0001). With cryopreserved PBMCs, the T-cell response in previously infected individuals (n=52) after one vaccine dose was equivalent to that of infection-naive individuals (n=19) after receiving two vaccine doses (median 152 [IQR 119-275] vs 162 [104-258] SFUs/106 PBMCs; p=1·00). Anti-spike IgG antibody responses following a single dose in 142 previously infected health-care workers (median 270 373 [IQR 203 461-535 188] antibody units [AU] per mL) were higher than in 111 infection-naive health-care workers following one dose (35 001 [17 099-55 341] AU/mL; p<0·0001) and higher than in 25 infection-naive individuals given two doses (180 904 [108 221-242 467] AU/mL; p<0·0001). Interpretation: A single dose of the BNT162b2 vaccine is likely to provide greater protection against SARS-CoV-2 infection in individuals with previous SARS-CoV-2 infection, than in SARS-CoV-2-naive individuals, including against variants of concern. Future studies should determine the additional benefit of a second dose on the magnitude and durability of immune responses in individuals vaccinated following infection, alongside evaluation of the impact of extending the interval between vaccine doses. Funding: UK Department of Health and Social Care, and UK Coronavirus Immunology Consortium.

2.
iScience ; 24(11): 103353, 2021 Nov 19.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1509904

ABSTRACT

We identify amino acid variants within dominant SARS-CoV-2 T cell epitopes by interrogating global sequence data. Several variants within nucleocapsid and ORF3a epitopes have arisen independently in multiple lineages and result in loss of recognition by epitope-specific T cells assessed by IFN-γ and cytotoxic killing assays. Complete loss of T cell responsiveness was seen due to Q213K in the A∗01:01-restricted CD8+ ORF3a epitope FTSDYYQLY207-215; due to P13L, P13S, and P13T in the B∗27:05-restricted CD8+ nucleocapsid epitope QRNAPRITF9-17; and due to T362I and P365S in the A∗03:01/A∗11:01-restricted CD8+ nucleocapsid epitope KTFPPTEPK361-369. CD8+ T cell lines unable to recognize variant epitopes have diverse T cell receptor repertoires. These data demonstrate the potential for T cell evasion and highlight the need for ongoing surveillance for variants capable of escaping T cell as well as humoral immunity.

3.
Cell ; 184(23): 5699-5714.e11, 2021 11 11.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1466093

ABSTRACT

Extension of the interval between vaccine doses for the BNT162b2 mRNA vaccine was introduced in the United Kingdom to accelerate population coverage with a single dose. At this time, trial data were lacking, and we addressed this in a study of United Kingdom healthcare workers. The first vaccine dose induced protection from infection from the circulating alpha (B.1.1.7) variant over several weeks. In a substudy of 589 individuals, we show that this single dose induces severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2) neutralizing antibody (NAb) responses and a sustained B and T cell response to the spike protein. NAb levels were higher after the extended dosing interval (6-14 weeks) compared with the conventional 3- to 4-week regimen, accompanied by enrichment of CD4+ T cells expressing interleukin-2 (IL-2). Prior SARS-CoV-2 infection amplified and accelerated the response. These data on dynamic cellular and humoral responses indicate that extension of the dosing interval is an effective immunogenic protocol.


Subject(s)
COVID-19 Vaccines/immunology , Vaccines, Synthetic/immunology , Adult , Aged , Antibodies, Neutralizing/immunology , Antibodies, Viral/immunology , COVID-19/blood , COVID-19/immunology , COVID-19/virology , Cross-Priming/immunology , Dose-Response Relationship, Immunologic , Female , Humans , Immunity , Immunoglobulin G/immunology , Linear Models , Male , Middle Aged , Reference Standards , SARS-CoV-2/immunology , T-Lymphocytes/immunology , Treatment Outcome , Young Adult
4.
Pathog Immun ; 6(2): 27-49, 2021.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1399715

ABSTRACT

Background: Genetic variations across the SARS-CoV-2 genome may influence transmissibility of the virus and the host's anti-viral immune response, in turn affecting the frequency of variants over time. In this study, we examined the adjacent amino acid polymorphisms in the nucleocapsid (R203K/G204R) of SARS-CoV-2 that arose on the background of the spike D614G change and describe how strains harboring these changes became dominant circulating strains globally. Methods: Deep-sequencing data of SARS-CoV-2 from public databases and from clinical samples were analyzed to identify and map genetic variants and sub-genomic RNA transcripts across the genome. Results: Sequence analysis suggests that the 3 adjacent nucleotide changes that result in the K203/R204 variant have arisen by homologous recombination from the core sequence of the leader transcription-regulating sequence (TRS) rather than by stepwise mutation. The resulting sequence changes generate a novel sub-genomic RNA transcript for the C-terminal dimerization domain of nucleocapsid. Deep-sequencing data from 981 clinical samples confirmed the presence of the novel TRS-CS-dimerization domain RNA in individuals with the K203/R204 variant. Quantification of sub-genomic RNA indicates that viruses with the K203/R204 variant may also have increased expression of sub-genomic RNA from other open reading frames. Conclusions: The finding that homologous recombination from the TRS may have occurred since the introduction of SARS-CoV-2 in humans, resulting in both coding changes and novel sub-genomic RNA transcripts, suggests this as a mechanism for diversification and adaptation within its new host.

6.
Biochem Biophys Res Commun ; 538: 104-107, 2021 01 29.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1125671

ABSTRACT

The development of the SARS-CoV-2 pandemic has prompted an extensive worldwide sequencing effort to characterise the geographical spread and molecular evolution of the virus. A point mutation in the spike protein, D614G, emerged as the virus spread from Asia into Europe and the USA, and has rapidly become the dominant form worldwide. Here we review how the D614G variant was identified and discuss recent evidence about the effect of the mutation on the characteristics of the virus, clinical outcome of infection and host immune response.


Subject(s)
COVID-19 Vaccines/immunology , COVID-19/virology , Evolution, Molecular , SARS-CoV-2/genetics , SARS-CoV-2/pathogenicity , Spike Glycoprotein, Coronavirus/genetics , Amino Acid Substitution , Aspartic Acid/genetics , COVID-19/prevention & control , COVID-19 Vaccines/genetics , Glycine/genetics , Humans , Immunogenicity, Vaccine , Severity of Illness Index , Spike Glycoprotein, Coronavirus/immunology
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