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Pathogens ; 10(11)2021 Nov 20.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1534221


Despite the success of highly active antiretroviral therapy (HAART), integrated HIV-1 proviral DNA cannot be eradicated from an infected individual. HAART is not able to eliminate latently infected cells that remain invisible to the immune system. Viral sanctuaries in specific tissues and immune-privileged sites may cause residual viral replication that contributes to HIV-1 persistence. The "Shock or Kick, and Kill" approach uses latency reversing agents (LRAs) in the presence of HAART, followed by cell-killing due to viral cytopathic effects and immune-mediated clearance. Different LRAs may be required for the in vivo reactivation of HIV-1 in different CD4+ T cell reservoirs, leading to the activation of cellular transcription factors acting on the integrated proviral HIV-1 LTR. An important requirement for LRA drugs is the reactivation of viral transcription and replication without causing a generalized immune activation. Toll-like receptors, RIG-I like receptors, and STING agonists have emerged recently as a new class of LRAs that augment selective apoptosis in reactivated T lymphocytes. The challenge is to extend in vitro observations to HIV-1 positive patients. Further studies are also needed to overcome the mechanisms that protect latently infected cells from reactivation and/or elimination by the immune system. The Block and Lock alternative strategy aims at using latency promoting/inducing agents (LPAs/LIAs) to block the ability of latent proviruses to reactivate transcription in order to achieve a long term lock down of potential residual virus replication. The Shock and Kill and the Block and Lock approaches may not be only alternative to each other, but, if combined together (one after the other), or given all at once [namely "Shoc-K(kill) and B(block)-Lock"], they may represent a better approach to a functional cure.

Front Immunol ; 12: 750386, 2021.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1515534


Antibodies targeting Receptor Binding Domain (RBD) of SARS-CoV-2 have been suggested to account for the majority of neutralizing activity in COVID-19 convalescent sera and several neutralizing antibodies (nAbs) have been isolated, characterized and proposed as emergency therapeutics in the form of monoclonal antibodies (mAbs). However, SARS-CoV-2 variants are rapidly spreading worldwide from the sites of initial identification. The variants of concern (VOC) B.1.1.7 (Alpha), B.1.351 (Beta), P.1 (Gamma) and B.1.167.2 (Delta) showed mutations in the SARS-CoV-2 spike protein potentially able to cause escape from nAb responses with a consequent reduction of efficacy of vaccines and mAbs-based therapy. We produced the recombinant RBD (rRBD) of SARS-CoV-2 spike glycoprotein from the Wuhan-Hu 1 reference sequence in a mammalian system, for mice immunization to isolate new mAbs with neutralizing activity. Here we describe four mAbs that were able to bind the rRBD in Enzyme-Linked Immunosorbent Assay and the transmembrane full-length spike protein expressed in HEK293T cells by flow cytometry assay. Moreover, the mAbs recognized the RBD in supernatants of SARS-CoV-2 infected VERO E6 cells by Western Blot under non-reducing condition or in supernatants of cells infected with lentivirus pseudotyped for spike protein, by immunoprecipitation assay. Three out of four mAbs lost their binding efficiency to completely N-deglycosylated rRBD and none was able to bind the same recombinant protein expressed in Escherichia coli, suggesting that the epitopes recognized by three mAbs are generated by the conformational structure of the glycosylated native protein. Of particular relevance, three mAbs were able to inhibit Wuhan SARS-CoV-2 infection of VERO E6 cells in a plaque-reduction neutralization test and the Wuhan SARS-CoV-2 as well as the Alpha, Beta, Gamma and Delta VOC in a pseudoviruses-based neutralization test. These mAbs represent important additional tools for diagnosis and therapy of COVID-19 and may contribute to the understanding of the functional structure of SARS-CoV-2 RBD.

Antibodies, Monoclonal/pharmacology , Antibodies, Neutralizing/pharmacology , Antibodies, Viral/pharmacology , Epitopes/immunology , SARS-CoV-2/drug effects , Spike Glycoprotein, Coronavirus/immunology , Angiotensin-Converting Enzyme 2/genetics , Animals , Binding Sites, Antibody/immunology , COVID-19/drug therapy , Cell Line, Tumor , Chlorocebus aethiops , Female , Glycosylation , HEK293 Cells , Humans , Mice, Inbred BALB C , Neutralization Tests , SARS-CoV-2/immunology , Spike Glycoprotein, Coronavirus/genetics , Vero Cells
Int J Mol Sci ; 22(13)2021 Jun 29.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1288903


The vulnerability of humankind to SARS-CoV-2 in the absence of a pre-existing immunity, the unpredictability of the infection outcome, and the high transmissibility, broad tissue tropism, and ability to exploit and subvert the immune response pose a major challenge and are likely perpetuating the COVID-19 pandemic. Nevertheless, this peculiar infectious scenario provides researchers with a unique opportunity for studying, with the latest immunological techniques and understandings, the immune response in SARS-CoV-2 naïve versus recovered subjects as well as in SARS-CoV-2 vaccinees. Interestingly, the current understanding of COVID-19 indicates that the combined action of innate immune cells, cytokines, and chemokines fine-tunes the outcome of SARS-CoV-2 infection and the related immunopathogenesis. Indeed, the emerging picture clearly shows that the excessive inflammatory response against this virus is among the main causes of disease severity in COVID-19 patients. In this review, the innate immune response to SARS-CoV-2 infection is described not only in light of its capacity to influence the adaptive immune response towards a protective phenotype but also with the intent to point out the multiple strategies exploited by SARS-CoV-2 to antagonize host antiviral response and, finally, to outline inborn errors predisposing individuals to COVID-19 disease severity.

COVID-19/pathology , Immunity, Innate , COVID-19/immunology , COVID-19/virology , Chemokines/metabolism , Cytokines/metabolism , Host-Pathogen Interactions , Humans , Killer Cells, Natural/cytology , Killer Cells, Natural/metabolism , Monocytes/cytology , Monocytes/metabolism , SARS-CoV-2/isolation & purification , Severity of Illness Index