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1.
PLoS Pathog ; 18(1): e1010161, 2022 Jan.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1622377

ABSTRACT

The global response to Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19) is now facing new challenges such as vaccine inequity and the emergence of SARS-CoV-2 variants of concern (VOCs). Preclinical models of disease, in particular animal models, are essential to investigate VOC pathogenesis, vaccine correlates of protection and postexposure therapies. Here, we provide an update from the World Health Organization (WHO) COVID-19 modeling expert group (WHO-COM) assembled by WHO, regarding advances in preclinical models. In particular, we discuss how animal model research is playing a key role to evaluate VOC virulence, transmission and immune escape, and how animal models are being refined to recapitulate COVID-19 demographic variables such as comorbidities and age.

2.
J Infect Dis ; 2021 Dec 11.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1566024

ABSTRACT

Co-circulation of SARS-CoV-2 and influenza viruses could pose unpredictable risks to health systems globally, with recent studies suggesting more severe disease outcomes in co-infected patients. The initial lack of a readily available COVID-19 vaccine has reinforced the importance of influenza vaccine programmes during the COVID-19 pandemic. Live Attenuated Influenza Vaccine (LAIV) is an important tool in protecting against influenza, particularly in children. However, it is unknown whether LAIV administration influences the outcomes of acute SARS-CoV-2 infection or disease. To investigate this, quadrivalent LAIV was administered to ferrets 3 days pre- or post-SARS-CoV-2 infection. LAIV administration did not exacerbate SARS-CoV-2 disease course or lung pathology with either regimen. Additionally, LAIV administered prior to SARS-CoV-2 infection significantly reduced SARS-CoV-2 replication and shedding in the upper respiratory tract. This study demonstrated that LAIV administration in close proximity to SARS-CoV-2 infection does not exacerbate mild disease and can reduce SARS-CoV-2 shedding.

3.
Viruses ; 13(11)2021 11 09.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1512699

ABSTRACT

The global pandemic of coronavirus disease (COVID-19) caused by infection with severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus-2 (SARS-CoV-2) has led to an international thrust to study pathogenesis and evaluate interventions. Experimental infection of hamsters and the resulting respiratory disease is one of the preferred animal models since clinical signs of disease and virus shedding are similar to more severe cases of human COVID-19. The main route of challenge has been direct inoculation of the virus via the intranasal route. To resemble the natural infection, we designed a bespoke natural transmission cage system to assess whether recipient animals housed in physically separate adjacent cages could become infected from a challenged donor animal in a central cage, with equal airflow across the two side cages. To optimise viral shedding in the donor animals, a low and moderate challenge dose were compared after direct intranasal challenge, but similar viral shedding responses were observed and no discernible difference in kinetics. The results from our natural transmission set-up demonstrate that most recipient hamsters are infected within the system developed, with variation in the kinetics and levels of disease between individual animals. Common clinical outputs used for the assessment in directly-challenged hamsters, such as weight loss, are less obvious in hamsters who become infected from naturally acquiring the infection. The results demonstrate the utility of a natural transmission model for further work on assessing the differences between virus strains and evaluating interventions using a challenge system which more closely resembles human infection.

4.
Nat Commun ; 12(1): 5469, 2021 09 22.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1434103

ABSTRACT

SARS-CoV-2 remains a global threat to human health particularly as escape mutants emerge. There is an unmet need for effective treatments against COVID-19 for which neutralizing single domain antibodies (nanobodies) have significant potential. Their small size and stability mean that nanobodies are compatible with respiratory administration. We report four nanobodies (C5, H3, C1, F2) engineered as homotrimers with pmolar affinity for the receptor binding domain (RBD) of the SARS-CoV-2 spike protein. Crystal structures show C5 and H3 overlap the ACE2 epitope, whilst C1 and F2 bind to a different epitope. Cryo Electron Microscopy shows C5 binding results in an all down arrangement of the Spike protein. C1, H3 and C5 all neutralize the Victoria strain, and the highly transmissible Alpha (B.1.1.7 first identified in Kent, UK) strain and C1 also neutralizes the Beta (B.1.35, first identified in South Africa). Administration of C5-trimer via the respiratory route showed potent therapeutic efficacy in the Syrian hamster model of COVID-19 and separately, effective prophylaxis. The molecule was similarly potent by intraperitoneal injection.


Subject(s)
Antibodies, Neutralizing/pharmacology , COVID-19/drug therapy , Single-Domain Antibodies/pharmacology , Spike Glycoprotein, Coronavirus/metabolism , Administration, Intranasal , Animals , Antibodies, Neutralizing/administration & dosage , Antibodies, Neutralizing/genetics , Antibodies, Neutralizing/immunology , Cryoelectron Microscopy , Crystallography, X-Ray , Disease Models, Animal , Dose-Response Relationship, Immunologic , Epitopes/chemistry , Epitopes/metabolism , Female , Male , Mesocricetus , Neutralization Tests , SARS-CoV-2/drug effects , Single-Domain Antibodies/administration & dosage , Single-Domain Antibodies/immunology , Single-Domain Antibodies/metabolism , Spike Glycoprotein, Coronavirus/chemistry
6.
PLoS Pathog ; 17(8): e1009427, 2021 08.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1348366

ABSTRACT

Impaired type I interferons (IFNs) production or signaling have been associated with severe COVID-19, further promoting the evaluation of recombinant type I IFNs as therapeutics against SARS-CoV-2 infection. In the Syrian hamster model, we show that intranasal administration of IFN-α starting one day pre-infection or one day post-infection limited weight loss and decreased viral lung titers. By contrast, intranasal administration of IFN-α starting at the onset of symptoms three days post-infection had no impact on the clinical course of SARS-CoV-2 infection. Our results provide evidence that early type I IFN treatment is beneficial, while late interventions are ineffective, although not associated with signs of enhanced disease.


Subject(s)
Antiviral Agents/administration & dosage , COVID-19/drug therapy , Interferon Type I/administration & dosage , Administration, Intranasal , Animals , Chlorocebus aethiops , Cricetinae , Disease Models, Animal , Mesocricetus , SARS-CoV-2
7.
Commun Biol ; 4(1): 915, 2021 07 26.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1327224

ABSTRACT

Vaccines against SARS-CoV-2 are urgently required, but early development of vaccines against SARS-CoV-1 resulted in enhanced disease after vaccination. Careful assessment of this phenomena is warranted for vaccine development against SARS CoV-2. Here we report detailed immune profiling after ChAdOx1 nCoV-19 (AZD1222) and subsequent high dose challenge in two animal models of SARS-CoV-2 mediated disease. We demonstrate in rhesus macaques the lung pathology caused by SARS-CoV-2 mediated pneumonia is reduced by prior vaccination with ChAdOx1 nCoV-19 which induced neutralising antibody responses after a single intramuscular administration. In a second animal model, ferrets, ChAdOx1 nCoV-19 reduced both virus shedding and lung pathology. Antibody titre were boosted by a second dose. Data from these challenge models on the absence of enhanced disease and the detailed immune profiling, support the continued clinical evaluation of ChAdOx1 nCoV-19.


Subject(s)
COVID-19 Vaccines/immunology , SARS-CoV-2/immunology , Animals , Antibodies, Neutralizing/immunology , Ferrets , Macaca mulatta
8.
Vaccine ; 39(34): 4885-4894, 2021 08 09.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1284599

ABSTRACT

Safe and effective vaccines will provide essential medical countermeasures to tackle the COVID-19 pandemic. Here, we assessed the safety, immunogenicity and efficacy of the intradermal delivery of INO-4800, a synthetic DNA vaccine candidate encoding the SARS-CoV-2 spike protein in the rhesus macaque model. Single and 2 dose vaccination regimens were evaluated. Vaccination induced both binding and neutralizing antibodies, along with IFN-γ-producing T cells against SARS-CoV-2. Upon administration of a high viral dose (5 × 106 pfu) via the intranasal and intratracheal routes we observed significantly reduced virus load in the lung and throat, in the vaccinated animals compared to controls. 2 doses of INO-4800 was associated with more robust vaccine-induced immune responses and improved viral protection. Importantly, histopathological examination of lung tissue provided no indication of vaccine-enhanced disease following SARS-CoV-2 challenge in INO-4800 immunized animals. This vaccine candidate is currently under clinical evaluation as a 2 dose regimen.


Subject(s)
COVID-19 , Vaccines, DNA , Viral Vaccines , Animals , Antibodies, Neutralizing , Antibodies, Viral , COVID-19 Vaccines , Humans , Macaca mulatta , Pandemics , SARS-CoV-2 , Spike Glycoprotein, Coronavirus
9.
Nat Commun ; 12(1): 1260, 2021 02 24.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1101645

ABSTRACT

A novel coronavirus, SARS-CoV-2, has been identified as the causative agent of the current COVID-19 pandemic. Animal models, and in particular non-human primates, are essential to understand the pathogenesis of emerging diseases and to assess the safety and efficacy of novel vaccines and therapeutics. Here, we show that SARS-CoV-2 replicates in the upper and lower respiratory tract and causes pulmonary lesions in both rhesus and cynomolgus macaques. Immune responses against SARS-CoV-2 are also similar in both species and equivalent to those reported in milder infections and convalescent human patients. This finding is reiterated by our transcriptional analysis of respiratory samples revealing the global response to infection. We describe a new method for lung histopathology scoring that will provide a metric to enable clearer decision making for this key endpoint. In contrast to prior publications, in which rhesus are accepted to be the preferred study species, we provide convincing evidence that both macaque species authentically represent mild to moderate forms of COVID-19 observed in the majority of the human population and both species should be used to evaluate the safety and efficacy of interventions against SARS-CoV-2. Importantly, accessing cynomolgus macaques will greatly alleviate the pressures on current rhesus stocks.


Subject(s)
COVID-19/immunology , COVID-19/virology , Lung/pathology , Lung/virology , Animals , Disease Models, Animal , Female , Immunity, Cellular/physiology , Interferon-gamma/metabolism , Macaca fascicularis , Macaca mulatta , Male , Pandemics , SARS-CoV-2/immunology , SARS-CoV-2/pathogenicity
10.
J Gen Virol ; 102(3)2021 03.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1093630

ABSTRACT

Understanding the pathogenesis of the SARS-CoV-2 infection is key to developing preventive and therapeutic strategies against COVID-19, in the case of severe illness but also when the disease is mild. The use of appropriate experimental animal models remains central in the in vivo exploration of the physiopathology of infection and antiviral strategies. This study describes SARS-CoV-2 intranasal infection in ferrets and hamsters with low doses of low-passage SARS-CoV-2 clinical French isolate UCN19, describing infection levels, excretion, immune responses and pathological patterns in both animal species. Individual infection with 103 p.f.u. SARS-CoV-2 induced a more severe disease in hamsters than in ferrets. Viral RNA was detected in the lungs of hamsters but not of ferrets and in the brain (olfactory bulb and/or medulla oblongata) of both species. Overall, the clinical disease remained mild, with serological responses detected from 7 days and 10 days post-inoculation in hamsters and ferrets respectively. The virus became undetectable and pathology resolved within 14 days. The kinetics and levels of infection can be used in ferrets and hamsters as experimental models for understanding the pathogenicity of SARS-CoV-2, and testing the protective effect of drugs.


Subject(s)
Antibodies, Viral/immunology , COVID-19/virology , Cricetinae , Disease Models, Animal , Ferrets , Animals , Brain/virology , COVID-19/immunology , COVID-19/pathology , COVID-19/physiopathology , Disease Progression , Immunoglobulin G/immunology , Lung/pathology , Lung/virology , Nose , Real-Time Polymerase Chain Reaction , SARS-CoV-2/genetics , SARS-CoV-2/immunology , SARS-CoV-2/isolation & purification , SARS-CoV-2/pathogenicity , Viral Load/genetics
11.
Front Vet Sci ; 7: 576267, 2020.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-869001

ABSTRACT

The SARS-CoV-2 pandemic has resulted in unprecedented challenges to veterinary diagnostic laboratories. These challenges include partial or complete shutdowns, interrupted courier services, disruptions in workflow and diagnostic testing, new physical distancing practices, protocol development or enhancement for handling samples from high-risk or susceptible species, and fulfilling requirements for pre-test permission approval from state and federal veterinary agencies, all of which have been implemented to prevent or minimize exposure and transmission of SARS-CoV-2 locally or regionally. As in people, SARS-CoV-2 infects animals through direct animal-to-animal contact and aerosol transmission between animals. Humans can also infect pets or other animals in their care and, although human-to-human transmission is the main route of viral spread in people, infected animals and specimens of their bodily fluids or tissues are a potential source of infection for veterinarians and technical or laboratory personnel that are handling them. In this perspective, we discuss how SARS-CoV-2 has necessitated rapid changes in laboratory operation to minimize zoonotic risk to personnel and to implement tests for identifying the virus in animals. The pandemic has highlighted the adaptability and quick response of veterinary diagnosticians to an emerging infectious disease and their critical role in maintaining animal health, while synergizing with and protecting human public health.

12.
Nature ; 586(7830): 509-515, 2020 10.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-792975

ABSTRACT

Severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2) is the aetiological agent of coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19), an emerging respiratory infection caused by the introduction of a novel coronavirus into humans late in 2019 (first detected in Hubei province, China). As of 18 September 2020, SARS-CoV-2 has spread to 215 countries, has infected more than 30 million people and has caused more than 950,000 deaths. As humans do not have pre-existing immunity to SARS-CoV-2, there is an urgent need to develop therapeutic agents and vaccines to mitigate the current pandemic and to prevent the re-emergence of COVID-19. In February 2020, the World Health Organization (WHO) assembled an international panel to develop animal models for COVID-19 to accelerate the testing of vaccines and therapeutic agents. Here we summarize the findings to date and provides relevant information for preclinical testing of vaccine candidates and therapeutic agents for COVID-19.


Subject(s)
Coronavirus Infections/drug therapy , Coronavirus Infections/prevention & control , Disease Models, Animal , Pandemics/prevention & control , Pneumonia, Viral/drug therapy , Pneumonia, Viral/prevention & control , Animals , Betacoronavirus/drug effects , Betacoronavirus/immunology , COVID-19 , COVID-19 Vaccines , Coronavirus Infections/immunology , Ferrets/virology , Humans , Mesocricetus/virology , Mice , Pneumonia, Viral/immunology , Primates/virology , SARS-CoV-2 , Viral Vaccines/immunology
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