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1.
Mol Ther ; 2022 Aug 10.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1977919

ABSTRACT

Adenovirus vector vaccines have been widely and successfully deployed in response to coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19). However, despite inducing potent T cell immunity, improvement of vaccine-specific antibody responses upon homologous boosting is modest compared with other technologies. Here, we describe a system enabling modular decoration of adenovirus capsid surfaces with antigens and demonstrate potent induction of humoral immunity against these displayed antigens. Ligand attachment via a covalent bond was achieved using a protein superglue, DogTag/DogCatcher (similar to SpyTag/SpyCatcher), in a rapid and spontaneous reaction requiring only co-incubation of ligand and vector components. DogTag was inserted into surface-exposed loops in the adenovirus hexon protein to allow attachment of DogCatcher-fused ligands on virus particles. Efficient coverage of the capsid surface was achieved using various ligands, with vector infectivity retained in each case. Capsid decoration shielded particles from vector neutralizing antibodies. In prime-boost regimens, adenovirus vectors decorated with the receptor-binding domain of severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus-2 (SARS-CoV-2) spike induced >10-fold higher SARS-CoV-2 neutralization titers compared with an undecorated vector encoding spike. Importantly, decorated vectors achieved equivalent or superior T cell immunogenicity against encoded antigens compared with undecorated vectors. We propose capsid decoration using protein superglues as a novel strategy to improve efficacy and boostability of adenovirus-based vaccines and therapeutics.

2.
NPJ Vaccines ; 7(1): 27, 2022 Feb 28.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1713166

ABSTRACT

Soluble HIV-1 envelope glycoprotein (Env) immunogens are a prime constituent of candidate vaccines designed to induce broadly neutralizing antibodies. Several lines of evidence suggest that enhancing Env immunogen thermostability can improve neutralizing antibody (NAb) responses. Here, we generated BG505 SOSIP.v9 trimers, which displayed virtually no reactivity with non-neutralizing antibodies and showed increased global and epitope thermostability, compared to previous BG505 SOSIP versions. Chemical crosslinking of BG505 SOSIP.v9 further increased the melting temperature to 91.3 °C, which is almost 25 °C higher than that of the prototype SOSIP.664 trimer. Next, we compared the immunogenicity of a palette of BG505-based SOSIP trimers with a gradient of thermostabilities in rabbits. We also included SOSIP.v9 proteins in which a strain-specific immunodominant epitope was masked by glycans to redirect the NAb response to other subdominant epitopes. We found that increased trimer thermostability correlated with increased potency and consistency of the autologous NAb response. Furthermore, glycan masking steered the NAb response to subdominant epitopes without decreasing the potency of the autologous NAb response. In summary, SOSIP.v9 trimers and their glycan masked versions represent an improved platform for HIV-1 Env based vaccination strategies.

3.
Nat Immunol ; 23(1): 50-61, 2022 01.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1545628

ABSTRACT

NP105-113-B*07:02-specific CD8+ T cell responses are considered among the most dominant in SARS-CoV-2-infected individuals. We found strong association of this response with mild disease. Analysis of NP105-113-B*07:02-specific T cell clones and single-cell sequencing were performed concurrently, with functional avidity and antiviral efficacy assessed using an in vitro SARS-CoV-2 infection system, and were correlated with T cell receptor usage, transcriptome signature and disease severity (acute n = 77, convalescent n = 52). We demonstrated a beneficial association of NP105-113-B*07:02-specific T cells in COVID-19 disease progression, linked with expansion of T cell precursors, high functional avidity and antiviral effector function. Broad immune memory pools were narrowed postinfection but NP105-113-B*07:02-specific T cells were maintained 6 months after infection with preserved antiviral efficacy to the SARS-CoV-2 Victoria strain, as well as Alpha, Beta, Gamma and Delta variants. Our data show that NP105-113-B*07:02-specific T cell responses associate with mild disease and high antiviral efficacy, pointing to inclusion for future vaccine design.


Subject(s)
HLA-B7 Antigen/immunology , Immunodominant Epitopes/immunology , Nucleocapsid Proteins/immunology , SARS-CoV-2/immunology , T-Lymphocytes, Cytotoxic/immunology , Aged , Amino Acid Sequence , Antibodies, Viral/immunology , Antibody Affinity/immunology , COVID-19/immunology , COVID-19/pathology , Cell Line, Transformed , Female , Gene Expression Profiling , Humans , Immunologic Memory/immunology , Male , Middle Aged , Receptors, Antigen, T-Cell/immunology , Severity of Illness Index , Vaccinia virus/genetics , Vaccinia virus/immunology , Vaccinia virus/metabolism
4.
Sci Adv ; 7(37): eabg7996, 2021 Sep 10.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1405212

ABSTRACT

There is an urgent requirement for safe and effective vaccines to prevent COVID-19. A concern for the development of new viral vaccines is the potential to induce vaccine-enhanced disease (VED). This was reported in several preclinical studies with both SARS-CoV-1 and MERS vaccines but has not been reported with SARS-CoV-2 vaccines. We have used ferrets and rhesus macaques challenged with SARS-CoV-2 to assess the potential for VED in animals vaccinated with formaldehyde-inactivated SARS-CoV-2 (FIV) formulated with Alhydrogel, compared to a negative control vaccine. We showed no evidence of enhanced disease in ferrets or rhesus macaques given FIV except for mild transient enhanced disease seen 7 days after infection in ferrets. This increased lung pathology was observed at day 7 but was resolved by day 15. We also demonstrate that formaldehyde treatment of SARS-CoV-2 reduces exposure of the spike receptor binding domain providing a mechanistic explanation for suboptimal immunity.

5.
Sci Rep ; 11(1): 13638, 2021 07 01.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1294482

ABSTRACT

Human cells respond to infection by SARS-CoV-2, the virus that causes COVID-19, by producing cytokines including type I and III interferons (IFNs) and proinflammatory factors such as IL6 and TNF. IFNs can limit SARS-CoV-2 replication but cytokine imbalance contributes to severe COVID-19. We studied how cells detect SARS-CoV-2 infection. We report that the cytosolic RNA sensor MDA5 was required for type I and III IFN induction in the lung cancer cell line Calu-3 upon SARS-CoV-2 infection. Type I and III IFN induction further required MAVS and IRF3. In contrast, induction of IL6 and TNF was independent of the MDA5-MAVS-IRF3 axis in this setting. We further found that SARS-CoV-2 infection inhibited the ability of cells to respond to IFNs. In sum, we identified MDA5 as a cellular sensor for SARS-CoV-2 infection that induced type I and III IFNs.


Subject(s)
COVID-19/immunology , Interferon Type I/immunology , Interferon-Induced Helicase, IFIH1/immunology , Interferons/immunology , SARS-CoV-2/immunology , Cell Line , Humans , Immunity, Innate , RNA/immunology
6.
EMBO Rep ; 22(8): e52447, 2021 08 04.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1278776

ABSTRACT

Cyclic GMP-AMP (cGAMP) is an immunostimulatory molecule produced by cGAS that activates STING. cGAMP is an adjuvant when administered alongside antigens. cGAMP is also incorporated into enveloped virus particles during budding. Here, we investigate whether inclusion of cGAMP within viral vaccine vectors enhances their immunogenicity. We immunise mice with virus-like particles (VLPs) containing HIV-1 Gag and the vesicular stomatitis virus envelope glycoprotein G (VSV-G). cGAMP loading of VLPs augments CD4 and CD8 T-cell responses. It also increases VLP- and VSV-G-specific antibody titres in a STING-dependent manner and enhances virus neutralisation, accompanied by increased numbers of T follicular helper cells. Vaccination with cGAMP-loaded VLPs containing haemagglutinin induces high titres of influenza A virus neutralising antibodies and confers protection upon virus challenge. This requires cGAMP inclusion within VLPs and is achieved at markedly reduced cGAMP doses. Similarly, cGAMP loading of VLPs containing the SARS-CoV-2 Spike protein enhances Spike-specific antibody titres. cGAMP-loaded VLPs are thus an attractive platform for vaccination.


Subject(s)
COVID-19 , Influenza Vaccines , Vaccines, Virus-Like Particle , Animals , Humans , Mice , Nucleotides, Cyclic , SARS-CoV-2 , Spike Glycoprotein, Coronavirus , Vaccines, Virus-Like Particle/genetics
7.
Wellcome Open Res ; 5: 181, 2020.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1024793

ABSTRACT

Background: Laboratory diagnosis of SARS-CoV-2 infection (the cause of COVID-19) uses PCR to detect viral RNA (vRNA) in respiratory samples. SARS-CoV-2 RNA has also been detected in other sample types, but there is limited understanding of the clinical or laboratory significance of its detection in blood. Methods: We undertook a systematic literature review to assimilate the evidence for the frequency of vRNA in blood, and to identify associated clinical characteristics. We performed RT-PCR in serum samples from a UK clinical cohort of acute and convalescent COVID-19 cases (n=212), together with convalescent plasma samples collected by NHS Blood and Transplant (NHSBT) (n=462 additional samples). To determine whether PCR-positive blood samples could pose an infection risk, we attempted virus isolation from a subset of RNA-positive samples. Results: We identified 28 relevant studies, reporting SARS-CoV-2 RNA in 0-76% of blood samples; pooled estimate 10% (95%CI 5-18%). Among serum samples from our clinical cohort, 27/212 (12.7%) had SARS-CoV-2 RNA detected by RT-PCR. RNA detection occurred in samples up to day 20 post symptom onset, and was associated with more severe disease (multivariable odds ratio 7.5). Across all samples collected ≥28 days post symptom onset, 0/494 (0%, 95%CI 0-0.7%) had vRNA detected. Among our PCR-positive samples, cycle threshold (ct) values were high (range 33.5-44.8), suggesting low vRNA copy numbers. PCR-positive sera inoculated into cell culture did not produce any cytopathic effect or yield an increase in detectable SARS-CoV-2 RNA. Conclusions: vRNA was detectable at low viral loads in a minority of serum samples collected in acute infection, but was not associated with infectious SARS-CoV-2 (within the limitations of the assays used). This work helps to inform biosafety precautions for handling blood products from patients with current or previous COVID-19.

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