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1.
Vaccine ; 40(20): 2848-2855, 2022 May 03.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1768584

ABSTRACT

Vaccines for SARS-CoV-2 have been hugely successful in alleviating hospitalization and deaths caused by the newly emerged coronavirus that is the cause of COVID. However, although the parentally administered vaccines are very effective at reducing severe disease, they do not induce sterilizing immunity. As the virus continues to circulate around the globe, it is still not clear how long protection will last, nor whether variants will emerge that escape vaccine immunity. Animal models can be useful to complement studies of antigenicity of novel variants and inform decision making about the need for vaccine updates. The Syrian golden hamster is the preferred small animal model for SARS-CoV-2 infection. Since virus is efficiently transmitted between hamsters, we developed a transmission challenge model that presents a more natural dose and route of infection than the intranasal challenge usually employed. Our studies demonstrate that an saRNA vaccine based on the earliest Wuhan-like virus spike sequence induced neutralizing antibodies in sera of immunized hamsters at similar titres to those in human convalescent sera or vaccine recipients. The saRNA vaccine was equally effective at abrogating clinical signs in animals who acquired through exposure to cagemates infected either with a virus isolated in summer 2020 or with a representative Alpha (B.1.1.7) variant isolated in December 2020. The vaccine also reduced shedding of infectious virus from the nose, further reinforcing its likely effectiveness at reducing onwards transmission. This model can be extended to test the effectiveness of vaccination in blocking infections with and transmission of novel variants as they emerge.


Subject(s)
COVID-19 , Viral Vaccines , Animals , COVID-19/prevention & control , COVID-19/therapy , COVID-19 Vaccines , Cricetinae , Humans , Immunization, Passive , SARS-CoV-2 , Vaccines, Synthetic
2.
SSRN;
Preprint in English | SSRN | ID: ppcovidwho-325961

ABSTRACT

Vaccines for SARS-CoV-2 have been hugely successful in alleviating hospitalization and deaths caused by the newly emerged coronavirus that is the cause of COVID. However, although the parentally administered vaccines are very effective at reducing severe disease, they do not induce sterilizing immunity. As the virus continues to circulate around the globe, it is still not clear how long protection will last, nor whether variants will emerge that escape vaccine immunity. Animal models can be useful to complement studies of antigenicity of novel variants and inform decision making about the need for vaccine updates. The Syrian golden hamster is the preferred small animal model for SARS-CoV-2 infection. Since virus is efficiently transmitted between hamsters, we developed a transmission challenge model that presents a more natural dose and route of infection than the intranasal challenge usually employed. Our studies demonstrate that an saRNA vaccine based on the earliest Wuhan-like virus spike sequence induced neutralizing antibodies in sera of immunized hamsters at similar titres to those in human convalescent sera or vaccine recipients. The saRNA vaccine was equally effective at abrogating clinical signs in animals who acquired through exposure to cagemates infected either with a virus isolated in summer 2020 or with a representative Alpha (B.1.1.7) variant isolated in December 2020. The vaccine also reduced shedding of infectious virus from the nose, further reinforcing its likely effectiveness at reducing onwards transmission. This model can be extended to test the effectiveness of vaccination in blocking infections with and transmission of novel variants as they emerge. Note: Funding Information: This study was supported by The Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation [INV-016635]. We acknowledge the G2P-UK National Virology consortium funded by MRC/UKRI (grant ref: MR/W005611/1) for contributing funding for this work. RK was supported by Wellcome fellowship no. 216353/Z/19/Z. Declaration of Interests: Robin Shattock and Paul McKay RJS and PFM are co-inventors on a patent application covering this SARS-CoV-2 saRNA vaccine. All other authors have nothing to declare. Ethics Approval Statement: All work performed was approved by the local genetic manipulation (GM) safety committee of 217 Imperial College London, St. Mary’s Campus (centre number GM77), and the Health and Safety 218 Executive of the United Kingdom, under reference CBA1.77.20.1. Animal research was carried out 219 under a United Kingdom Home Office License, P48DAD9B4. Keywords: SARS-CoV-2, variant, saRNA, hamster, Transmission

3.
J Control Release ; 338: 201-210, 2021 10 10.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1364213

ABSTRACT

Self-amplifying RNA (saRNA) is a next-generation vaccine platform, but like all nucleic acids, requires a delivery vehicle to promote cellular uptake and protect the saRNA from degradation. To date, delivery platforms for saRNA have included lipid nanoparticles (LNP), polyplexes and cationic nanoemulsions; of these LNP are the most clinically advanced with the recent FDA approval of COVID-19 based-modified mRNA vaccines. While the effect of RNA on vaccine immunogenicity is well studied, the role of biomaterials in saRNA vaccine effectiveness is under investigated. Here, we tested saRNA formulated with either pABOL, a bioreducible polymer, or LNP, and characterized the protein expression and vaccine immunogenicity of both platforms. We observed that pABOL-formulated saRNA resulted in a higher magnitude of protein expression, but that the LNP formulations were overall more immunogenic. Furthermore, we observed that both the helper phospholipid and route of administration (intramuscular versus intranasal) of LNP impacted the vaccine immunogenicity of two model antigens (influenza hemagglutinin and SARS-CoV-2 spike protein). We observed that LNP administered intramuscularly, but not pABOL or LNP administered intranasally, resulted in increased acute interleukin-6 expression after vaccination. Overall, these results indicate that delivery systems and routes of administration may fulfill different delivery niches within the field of saRNA genetic medicines.


Subject(s)
COVID-19 , Influenza Vaccines , Nanoparticles , Humans , Lipids , Polymers , RNA , SARS-CoV-2 , Spike Glycoprotein, Coronavirus
4.
Nat Commun ; 12(1): 2893, 2021 05 17.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1232068

ABSTRACT

Several vaccines have demonstrated efficacy against SARS-CoV-2 mediated disease, yet there is limited data on the immune response induced by heterologous vaccination regimens using alternate vaccine modalities. Here, we present a detailed description of the immune response, in mice, following vaccination with a self-amplifying RNA (saRNA) vaccine and an adenoviral vectored vaccine (ChAdOx1 nCoV-19/AZD1222) against SARS-CoV-2. We demonstrate that antibody responses are higher in two-dose heterologous vaccination regimens than single-dose regimens. Neutralising titres after heterologous prime-boost were at least comparable or higher than the titres measured after homologous prime boost vaccination with viral vectors. Importantly, the cellular immune response after a heterologous regimen is dominated by cytotoxic T cells and Th1+ CD4 T cells, which is superior to the response induced in homologous vaccination regimens in mice. These results underpin the need for clinical trials to investigate the immunogenicity of heterologous regimens with alternate vaccine technologies.


Subject(s)
COVID-19 Vaccines/administration & dosage , COVID-19/prevention & control , RNA, Viral/administration & dosage , SARS-CoV-2/immunology , Vaccination/methods , Animals , Antibodies, Neutralizing/immunology , Antibodies, Viral/immunology , COVID-19/immunology , COVID-19 Vaccines/genetics , COVID-19 Vaccines/immunology , Immunization, Secondary , Immunogenicity, Vaccine , Mice , RNA, Viral/genetics , RNA, Viral/immunology , Spike Glycoprotein, Coronavirus/genetics , Spike Glycoprotein, Coronavirus/immunology , T-Lymphocytes, Cytotoxic/immunology , Th1 Cells/immunology , Vaccines, Synthetic/administration & dosage , Vaccines, Synthetic/genetics , Vaccines, Synthetic/immunology
5.
Mol Ther ; 29(3): 1174-1185, 2021 03 03.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-985497

ABSTRACT

Self-amplifying RNA (saRNA) is a cutting-edge platform for both nucleic acid vaccines and therapeutics. saRNA is self-adjuvanting, as it activates types I and III interferon (IFN), which enhances the immunogenicity of RNA vaccines but can also lead to inhibition of translation. In this study, we screened a library of saRNA constructs with cis-encoded innate inhibiting proteins (IIPs) and determined the effect on protein expression and immunogenicity. We observed that the PIV-5 V and Middle East respiratory syndrome coronavirus (MERS-CoV) ORF4a proteins enhance protein expression 100- to 500-fold in vitro in IFN-competent HeLa and MRC5 cells. We found that the MERS-CoV ORF4a protein partially abates dose nonlinearity in vivo, and that ruxolitinib, a potent Janus kinase (JAK)/signal transducer and activator of transcription (STAT) inhibitor, but not the IIPs, enhances protein expression of saRNA in vivo. Both the PIV-5 V and MERS-CoV ORF4a proteins were found to enhance the percentage of resident cells in human skin explants expressing saRNA and completely rescued dose nonlinearity of saRNA. Finally, we observed that the MERS-CoV ORF4a increased the rabies virus (RABV)-specific immunoglobulin G (IgG) titer and neutralization half-maximal inhibitory concentration (IC50) by ∼10-fold in rabbits, but not in mice or rats. These experiments provide a proof of concept that IIPs can be directly encoded into saRNA vectors and effectively abate the nonlinear dose dependency and enhance immunogenicity.


Subject(s)
Immunity, Innate/drug effects , Immunogenicity, Vaccine , Protein Biosynthesis/drug effects , Vaccines, Synthetic/pharmacology , Viral Envelope Proteins/administration & dosage , Animals , Cell Line , Encephalitis Virus, Venezuelan Equine/drug effects , Encephalitis Virus, Venezuelan Equine/immunology , Encephalitis Virus, Venezuelan Equine/pathogenicity , Fibroblasts , Gene Expression Regulation , HeLa Cells , Host-Pathogen Interactions/genetics , Host-Pathogen Interactions/immunology , Humans , Immunoglobulin G/biosynthesis , Interferon Regulatory Factor-3/genetics , Interferon Regulatory Factor-3/immunology , Janus Kinases/antagonists & inhibitors , Janus Kinases/genetics , Janus Kinases/immunology , Mice , Middle East Respiratory Syndrome Coronavirus/drug effects , Middle East Respiratory Syndrome Coronavirus/immunology , Middle East Respiratory Syndrome Coronavirus/pathogenicity , NF-kappa B/genetics , NF-kappa B/immunology , Nitriles , Parainfluenza Virus 5/drug effects , Parainfluenza Virus 5/immunology , Parainfluenza Virus 5/pathogenicity , Pyrazoles/pharmacology , Pyrimidines , Rabbits , Rabies virus/drug effects , Rabies virus/immunology , Rabies virus/pathogenicity , Rats , STAT Transcription Factors/antagonists & inhibitors , STAT Transcription Factors/genetics , STAT Transcription Factors/immunology , Signal Transduction , Vaccines, Synthetic/biosynthesis , Viral Envelope Proteins/genetics , Viral Envelope Proteins/immunology
6.
Nat Commun ; 11(1): 3523, 2020 07 09.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-640262

ABSTRACT

The spread of the SARS-CoV-2 into a global pandemic within a few months of onset motivates the development of a rapidly scalable vaccine. Here, we present a self-amplifying RNA encoding the SARS-CoV-2 spike protein encapsulated within a lipid nanoparticle (LNP) as a vaccine. We observe remarkably high and dose-dependent SARS-CoV-2 specific antibody titers in mouse sera, as well as robust neutralization of both a pseudo-virus and wild-type virus. Upon further characterization we find that the neutralization is proportional to the quantity of specific IgG and of higher magnitude than recovered COVID-19 patients. saRNA LNP immunizations induce a Th1-biased response in mice, and there is no antibody-dependent enhancement (ADE) observed. Finally, we observe high cellular responses, as characterized by IFN-γ production, upon re-stimulation with SARS-CoV-2 peptides. These data provide insight into the vaccine design and evaluation of immunogenicity to enable rapid translation to the clinic.


Subject(s)
Antibodies, Neutralizing/immunology , Betacoronavirus/immunology , Coronavirus Infections/prevention & control , Nanoparticles/chemistry , Pandemics/prevention & control , Pneumonia, Viral/prevention & control , Viral Vaccines/immunology , Animals , Antibodies, Viral/blood , Antibodies, Viral/metabolism , Antibody-Dependent Enhancement/immunology , Betacoronavirus/genetics , COVID-19 , COVID-19 Vaccines , Coronavirus Infections/immunology , Coronavirus Infections/virology , Cytokines/immunology , Disease Models, Animal , Humans , Immunity, Cellular , Immunoglobulin G/blood , Mice , Mice, Inbred BALB C , Pneumonia, Viral/immunology , Pneumonia, Viral/virology , RNA, Viral/immunology , SARS-CoV-2 , Spike Glycoprotein, Coronavirus/genetics , Spike Glycoprotein, Coronavirus/immunology , Vaccines, Synthetic/chemistry , Vaccines, Synthetic/immunology , Viral Vaccines/chemistry
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