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1.
mSphere ; : e0091321, 2022 May 02.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1832362

ABSTRACT

New variants of SARS-CoV-2 are continuing to emerge and dominate the global sequence landscapes. Several variants have been labeled variants of concern (VOCs) because they may have a transmission advantage, increased risk of morbidity and/or mortality, or immune evasion upon a background of prior infection or vaccination. Placing the VOCs in context with the underlying variability of SARS-CoV-2 is essential in understanding virus evolution and selection pressures. Dominant genome sequences and the population genetics of SARS-CoV-2 in nasopharyngeal swabs from hospitalized patients were characterized. Nonsynonymous changes at a minor variant level were identified. These populations were generally preserved when isolates were amplified in cell culture. To place the Alpha, Beta, Delta, and Omicron VOCs in context, their growth was compared to clinical isolates of different lineages from earlier in the pandemic. The data indicated that the growth in cell culture of the Beta variant was more than that of the other variants in Vero E6 cells but not in hACE2-A549 cells. Looking at each time point, Beta grew more than the other VOCs in hACE2-A549 cells at 24 to 48 h postinfection. At 72 h postinfection there was no difference in the growth of any of the variants in either cell line. Overall, this work suggested that exploring the biology of SARS-CoV-2 is complicated by population dynamics and that these need to be considered with new variants. In the context of variation seen in other coronaviruses, the variants currently observed for SARS-CoV-2 are very similar in terms of their clinical spectrum of disease. IMPORTANCE SARS-CoV-2 is the causative agent of COVID-19. The virus has spread across the planet, causing a global pandemic. In common with other coronaviruses, SARS-CoV-2 genomes can become quite diverse as a consequence of replicating inside cells. This has given rise to multiple variants from the original virus that infected humans. These variants may have different properties and in the context of a widespread vaccination program may render vaccines less effective. Our research confirms the degree of genetic diversity of SARS-CoV-2 in patients. By comparing the growth of previous variants to the pattern seen with four variants of concern (VOCs) (Alpha, Beta, Delta, and Omicron), we show that, at least in cells, Beta variant growth exceeds that of Alpha, Delta, and Omicron VOCs at 24 to 48 h in both Vero E6 and hACE2-A549 cells, but by 72 h postinfection, the amount of virus is not different from that of the other VOCs.

2.
Lancet ; 399(10324): 521-529, 2022 02 05.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1815310

ABSTRACT

INTRODUCTION: The inactivated whole-virion SARS-CoV-2 vaccine (CoronaVac, Sinovac) has been widely used in a two-dose schedule. We assessed whether a third dose of the homologous or a different vaccine could boost immune responses. METHODS: RHH-001 is a phase 4, participant masked, two centre, safety and immunogenicity study of Brazilian adults (18 years and older) in São Paulo or Salvador who had received two doses of CoronaVac 6 months previously. The third heterologous dose was of either a recombinant adenoviral vectored vaccine (Ad26.COV2-S, Janssen), an mRNA vaccine (BNT162b2, Pfizer-BioNTech), or a recombinant adenoviral-vectored ChAdOx1 nCoV-19 vaccine (AZD1222, AstraZeneca), compared with a third homologous dose of CoronaVac. Participants were randomly assigned (5:6:5:5) by a RedCAP computer randomisation system stratified by site, age group (18-60 years or 61 years and over), and day of randomisation, with a block size of 42. The primary outcome was non-inferiority of anti-spike IgG antibodies 28 days after the booster dose in the heterologous boost groups compared with homologous regimen, using a non-inferiority margin for the geometric mean ratio (heterologous vs homologous) of 0·67. Secondary outcomes included neutralising antibody titres at day 28, local and systemic reactogenicity profiles, adverse events, and serious adverse events. This study was registered with Registro Brasileiro de Ensaios Clínicos, number RBR-9nn3scw. FINDINGS: Between Aug 16, and Sept 1, 2021, 1240 participants were randomly assigned to one of the four groups, of whom 1239 were vaccinated and 1205 were eligible for inclusion in the primary analysis. Antibody concentrations were low before administration of a booster dose with detectable neutralising antibodies of 20·4% (95% CI 12·8-30·1) in adults aged 18-60 years and 8·9% (4·2-16·2) in adults 61 years or older. From baseline to day 28 after the booster vaccine, all groups had a substantial rise in IgG antibody concentrations: the geometric fold-rise was 77 (95% CI 67-88) for Ad26.COV2-S, 152 (134-173) for BNT162b2, 90 (77-104) for ChAdOx1 nCoV-19, and 12 (11-14) for CoronaVac. All heterologous regimens had anti-spike IgG responses at day 28 that were superior to homologous booster responses: geometric mean ratios (heterologous vs homologous) were 6·7 (95% CI 5·8-7·7) for Ad26.COV2-S, 13·4 (11·6-15·3) for BNT162b2, and 7·0 (6·1-8·1) for ChAdOx1 nCoV-19. All heterologous boost regimens induced high concentrations of pseudovirus neutralising antibodies. At day 28, all groups except for the homologous boost in the older adults reached 100% seropositivity: geometric mean ratios (heterologous vs homologous) were 8·7 (95% CI 5·9-12·9) for Ad26.COV2-S vaccine, 21·5 (14·5-31·9) for BNT162b2, and 10·6 (7·2-15·6) for ChAdOx1 nCoV-19. Live virus neutralising antibodies were also boosted against delta (B.1.617.2) and omicron variants (B.1.1.529). There were five serious adverse events. Three of which were considered possibly related to the vaccine received: one in the BNT162b2 group and two in the Ad26.COV2-S group. All participants recovered and were discharged home. INTERPRETATION: Antibody concentrations were low at 6 months after previous immunisation with two doses of CoronaVac. However, all four vaccines administered as a third dose induced a significant increase in binding and neutralising antibodies, which could improve protection against infection. Heterologous boosting resulted in more robust immune responses than homologous boosting and might enhance protection. FUNDING: Ministry of Health, Brazil.


Subject(s)
COVID-19 Vaccines , COVID-19/prevention & control , Adult , Aged , Antibodies, Neutralizing , Antibodies, Viral , Brazil , Female , Humans , Immunization, Secondary , Immunoglobulin G/immunology , Male , Middle Aged , SARS-CoV-2 , Single-Blind Method , Vaccines, Inactivated
3.
J Infect ; 2022 Apr 09.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1778315

ABSTRACT

OBJECTIVES: To evaluate the persistence of immunogenicity three months after third dose boosters. METHODS: COV-BOOST is a multicentre, randomised, controlled, phase 2 trial of seven COVID-19 vaccines used as a third booster dose. The analysis was conducted using all randomised participants who were SARS-CoV-2 naïve during the study. RESULTS: Amongst the 2883 participants randomised, there were 2422 SARS-CoV-2 naïve participants until D84 visit included in the analysis with median age of 70 (IQR: 30-94) years. In the participants who had two initial doses of ChAdOx1 nCov-19 (Oxford-AstraZeneca; hereafter referred to as ChAd), schedules using mRNA vaccines as third dose have the highest anti-spike IgG at D84 (e.g. geometric mean concentration of 8674 ELU/ml (95% CI: 7461-10,085) following ChAd/ChAd/BNT162b2 (Pfizer-BioNtech, hearafter referred to as BNT)). However, in people who had two initial doses of BNT there was no significant difference at D84 in people given ChAd versus BNT (geometric mean ratio (GMR) of 0.95 (95%CI: 0.78, 1.15). Also, people given Ad26.COV2.S (Janssen; hereafter referred to as Ad26) as a third dose had significantly higher anti-spike IgG at D84 than BNT (GMR of 1.20, 95%CI: 1.01,1.43). Responses at D84 between people who received BNT (15 µg) or BNT (30 µg) after ChAd/ChAd or BNT/BNT were similar, with anti-spike IgG GMRs of half-BNT (15 µg) versus BNT (30 µg) ranging between 0.74-0.86. The decay rate of cellular responses were similar between all the vaccine schedules and doses. CONCLUSIONS: 84 days after a third dose of COVID-19 vaccine the decay rates of humoral response were different between vaccines. Adenoviral vector vaccine anti-spike IgG concentrations at D84 following BNT/BNT initial doses were similar to or even higher than for a three dose (BNT/BNT/BNT) schedule. Half dose BNT immune responses were similar to full dose responses. While high antibody tires are desirable in situations of high transmission of new variants of concern, the maintenance of immune responses that confer long-lasting protection against severe disease or death is also of critical importance. Policymakers may also consider adenoviral vector, fractional dose of mRNA, or other non-mRNA vaccines as third doses.

4.
EuropePMC; 2021.
Preprint in English | EuropePMC | ID: ppcovidwho-329503

ABSTRACT

In this report, we present live neutralisation titres against SARS-CoV-2 Omicron variant, compared with neutralisation against Victoria, Beta and Delta variants. Sera from day-28 post second-dose were obtained from participants in the Com-COV2 study who had received a two-dose COVID-19 vaccination schedule with either AstraZeneca (AZD1222) or Pfizer (BNT162b2) vaccines. There was a substantial fall in neutralisation titres in recipients of both AZD1222 and BNT16b2 primary courses, with evidence of some recipients failing to neutralise at all. This will likely lead to increased breakthrough infections in previously infected or double vaccinated individuals, which could drive a further wave of infection, although there is currently no evidence of increased potential to cause severe disease, hospitalization or death.

5.
Clin Infect Dis ; 74(7): 1208-1219, 2022 Apr 09.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1704072

ABSTRACT

BACKGROUND: Natural and vaccine-induced immunity will play a key role in controlling the severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2) pandemic. SARS-CoV-2 variants have the potential to evade natural and vaccine-induced immunity. METHODS: In a longitudinal cohort study of healthcare workers (HCWs) in Oxfordshire, United Kingdom, we investigated the protection from symptomatic and asymptomatic polymerase chain reaction (PCR)-confirmed SARS-CoV-2 infection conferred by vaccination (Pfizer-BioNTech BNT162b2, Oxford-AstraZeneca ChAdOx1 nCOV-19) and prior infection (determined using anti-spike antibody status), using Poisson regression adjusted for age, sex, temporal changes in incidence and role. We estimated protection conferred after 1 versus 2 vaccinations and from infections with the B.1.1.7 variant identified using whole genome sequencing. RESULTS: In total, 13 109 HCWs participated; 8285 received the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine (1407 two doses), and 2738 the Oxford-AstraZeneca vaccine (49 two doses). Compared to unvaccinated seronegative HCWs, natural immunity and 2 vaccination doses provided similar protection against symptomatic infection: no HCW vaccinated twice had symptomatic infection, and incidence was 98% lower in seropositive HCWs (adjusted incidence rate ratio 0.02 [95% confidence interval {CI} < .01-.18]). Two vaccine doses or seropositivity reduced the incidence of any PCR-positive result with or without symptoms by 90% (0.10 [95% CI .02-.38]) and 85% (0.15 [95% CI .08-.26]), respectively. Single-dose vaccination reduced the incidence of symptomatic infection by 67% (0.33 [95% CI .21-.52]) and any PCR-positive result by 64% (0.36 [95% CI .26-.50]). There was no evidence of differences in immunity induced by natural infection and vaccination for infections with S-gene target failure and B.1.1.7. CONCLUSIONS: Natural infection resulting in detectable anti-spike antibodies and 2 vaccine doses both provide robust protection against SARS-CoV-2 infection, including against the B.1.1.7 variant.


Subject(s)
COVID-19 , SARS-CoV-2 , COVID-19/epidemiology , COVID-19/prevention & control , COVID-19 Vaccines , Cohort Studies , Health Personnel , Humans , Immunoglobulins , Incidence , Longitudinal Studies , Vaccination
6.
JCI Insight ; 7(7)2022 04 08.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1702851

ABSTRACT

Duration of protection from SARS-CoV-2 infection in people living with HIV (PWH) following vaccination is unclear. In a substudy of the phase II/III the COV002 trial (NCT04400838), 54 HIV+ male participants on antiretroviral therapy (undetectable viral loads, CD4+ T cells > 350 cells/µL) received 2 doses of ChAdOx1 nCoV-19 (AZD1222) 4-6 weeks apart and were followed for 6 months. Responses to vaccination were determined by serology (IgG ELISA and Meso Scale Discovery [MSD]), neutralization, ACE-2 inhibition, IFN-γ ELISpot, activation-induced marker (AIM) assay and T cell proliferation. We show that, 6 months after vaccination, the majority of measurable immune responses were greater than prevaccination baseline but with evidence of a decline in both humoral and cell-mediated immunity. There was, however, no significant difference compared with a cohort of HIV-uninfected individuals vaccinated with the same regimen. Responses to the variants of concern were detectable, although they were lower than WT. Preexisting cross-reactive T cell responses to SARS-CoV-2 spike were associated with greater postvaccine immunity and correlated with prior exposure to beta coronaviruses. These data support the ongoing policy to vaccinate PWH against SARS-CoV-2, and they underpin the need for long-term monitoring of responses after vaccination.


Subject(s)
COVID-19 , HIV Infections , COVID-19/prevention & control , HIV Infections/drug therapy , Humans , Male , SARS-CoV-2 , Vaccination
7.
EBioMedicine ; 77: 103902, 2022 Mar.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1700817

ABSTRACT

BACKGROUND: There is an ongoing global effort to design, manufacture, and clinically assess vaccines against SARS-CoV-2. Over the course of the ongoing pandemic a number of new SARS-CoV-2 virus isolates or variants of concern (VoC) have been identified containing mutations in key proteins. METHODS: In this study we describe the generation and preclinical assessment of a ChAdOx1-vectored vaccine (AZD2816) which expresses the spike protein of the Beta VoC (B.1.351). FINDINGS: We demonstrate that AZD2816 is immunogenic after a single dose. When AZD2816 is used as a booster dose in animals primed with a vaccine encoding the original spike protein (ChAdOx1 nCoV-19/ [AZD1222]), an increase in binding and neutralising antibodies against Beta (B.1.351), Gamma (P.1) and Delta (B.1.617.2) is observed following each additional dose. In addition, a strong and polyfunctional T cell response was measured all booster regimens. INTERPRETATION: Real world data is demonstrating that one or more doses of licensed SARS-CoV-2 vaccines confer reduced protection against hospitalisation and deaths caused by divergent VoC, including Omicron. Our data support the ongoing clinical development and testing of booster vaccines to increase immunity against highly mutated VoC. FUNDING: This research was funded by AstraZeneca with supporting funds from MRC and BBSRC.


Subject(s)
COVID-19 , SARS-CoV-2 , COVID-19/prevention & control , COVID-19 Vaccines , Humans , SARS-CoV-2/genetics
8.
EuropePMC; 2021.
Preprint in English | EuropePMC | ID: ppcovidwho-318857

ABSTRACT

Extension of the interval between vaccine doses for the BNT162b2 mRNA vaccine was introduced in the UK to accelerate population coverage with a single dose. In a study of 503 healthcare workers, we show that after priming following the first vaccine there is a marked decline in SARS-CoV-2 neutralizing antibody (NAb) levels, but, in contrast, a sustained T cell response to spike protein. This divergent immune profile was accompanied by robust protection from infection over this period from the circulating alpha (B.1.1.7) variant. Importantly, following the second vaccine dose, NAb levels were higher after the extended dosing interval (6-14 weeks) compared to the conventional 3-4 week regimen, accompanied by a clear enrichment of CD4+ T cells expressing IL2. These data on dynamic cellular and humoral responses indicate that extension of the dosing interval is an effective, immunogenic protocol and that antiviral T cell responses are a potential mechanism of protection.Trial Registration Details: PITCH is a sub-study of the SIREN study which is registered with ISRCTN, number ISRCTN11041050,Funding Information: This work was funded by the UK Department of Health and Social Care as part of the PITCH (Protective Immunity from T cells to Covid-19 in Health workers) Consortium, with contributions from UKRI/NIHR through the UK Coronavirus Immunology Consortium (UK-CIC), the Huo Family Foundation and The National Institute for Health Research (UKRIDHSC COVID-19 Rapid Response Rolling Call, Grant Reference Number COV19-RECPLAS).EB and PK are NIHR Senior Investigators and PK is funded by WT109965MA. SJD is funded by an NIHR Global Research Professorship (NIHR300791). TdS is funded by a Wellcome Trust Intermediate Clinical Fellowship (110058/Z/15/Z). RPP is funded by a Career Re-entry Fellowship (204721/Z/16/Z). CJAD is funded by a Wellcome Clinical Research Career Development Fellowship (211153/Z/18/Z). DS is supported by the NIHR Academic Clinical Lecturer programme in Oxford. LT is supported by the Wellcome Trust (grant number 205228/Z/16/Z) and the National Institute for Health Research Health Protection Research Unit (NIHR HPRU) in Emerging and Zoonotic Infections (NIHR200907) at University of Liverpool in partnership with Public Health England (PHE), in collaboration with Liverpool School of Tropical Medicine and the University of Oxford. DGW is supported by an NIHR Advanced Fellowship in Liverpool. LT and MC are supported by U.S. Food and Drug Administration Medical Countermeasures Initiative contract 75F40120C00085. Declaration of Interests: AJP is Chair of UK Dept. Health and Social Care’s (DHSC) Joint Committee on Vaccination & Immunisation (JCVI), but does not participate in policy decisions on COVID-19 vaccines. He is a member of the WHO’s SAGE. The views expressed in this article do not necessarily represent the views of DHSC, JCVI, or WHO. AJP is chief investigator on clinical trials of Oxford University’s COVID-19 vaccine funded by NIHR. Oxford University has entered a joint COVID-19 vaccine development partnership with AstraZeneca. Ethics Approval Statement: PITCH is a sub-study of the SIREN study which was approved by the Berkshire Research Ethics Committee, Health Research 250 Authority (IRAS ID 284460, REC reference 20/SC/0230), with PITCH recognised as a sub-study on 2 December 2020. SIREN is registered with ISRCTN (Trial ID:252 ISRCTN11041050). Some participants were recruited under aligned study protocols. In Birmingham participants were recruited under the Determining the immune response to SARS-CoV-2 infection in convalescent health care workers (COCO) study (IRAS ID: 282525). In Liverpool some participants were recruited under the “Human immune responses to acute virus infections” Study (16/NW/0170), approved by North West - Liverpool Central Research Ethics Committee on 8 March 2016, and amended on 14th September 2020 and 4th May 2021. In Oxford, participants were recruited under the GI Biobank Study 16/YH/0247, approved by the research ethics committee (REC) t Yorkshire & The Humber - Sheffield Research Ethics Committee on 29 July 2016, which has been amended for this purpose on 8 June 2020. In Sheffield, participants were recruited under the Observational Biobanking study STHObs (18/YH/0441), which was amended for this study on 10 September 2020. The study was conducted in compliance with all relevant ethical regulations for work with human participants, and according to the principles of the Declaration of Helsinki (2008) and the International Conference on Harmonization (ICH) Good Clinical Practice (GCP) guidelines. Written informed consent was obtained for all patients enrolled in the study.

9.
EuropePMC; 2021.
Preprint in English | EuropePMC | ID: ppcovidwho-310655

ABSTRACT

Background: The ChAdOx1 nCoV-19 (AZD1222) vaccine is immunogenic and protects against COVID-19. However, data on vaccine immunogenicity are needed for the 40 million people living with HIV (PWH), who may have less functional immunity and more associated co-morbidities than the general population. Methods: Between the 5th and 24th November 2020, 54 adults with HIV, aged 18-55 years, were enrolled into a single arm open label vaccination study within the protocol of the larger phase 2/3 COV002 trial. A prime-boost regimen of ChAdOx1 nCoV-19, with two doses (5 × 1010 vp) was given 4-6 weeks apart. All participants were on antiretroviral therapy (ART) with undetectable plasma HIV viral loads and CD4+ T cell counts >350 cells/µl at enrolment. Data were captured on adverse events. Humoral responses were measured by anti-spike IgG ELISA and antibody-mediated live virus neutralisation. Cell-mediated immune responses were measured by ex-vivo interferon-γ enzyme-linked immunospot assay (ELISpot) and T cell proliferation. All outcomes were compared with a HIV uninfected group from the main COV002 study.Findings: 54 participants with HIV (median age 42.5 years (IQR 37.2-49.8)) received two doses of ChAdOx1 nCoV-19. Median CD4+ T cell count at enrolment was 694 cells/µl (IQR 562-864). Results are reported for 56 days of follow-up. Local and systemic reactions occurring during the first 7 days after prime vaccination included pain at the injection site (49%), fatigue (47%), headache (47%), malaise (34%), chills (23%), and muscle or (36%) joint pain (9%), the frequencies of which were similar to the HIV-negative participants. There were no serious adverse events. Anti-spike IgG responses by ELISA peaked at Day 42 (median 1440 ELISA units, IQR 704-2728) and were sustained out to Day 56. There was no correlation with CD4+ T cell count or age and the magnitude of the anti-spike IgG response at Day 56 (P>0.05 for both). ELISpot and T cell proliferative responses peaked between Day 14 and 28 after prime and were sustained through to Day 56. When compared to participants without HIV there was no statistical difference in magnitude or persistence of SARS-CoV-2 spike-specific humoral or cellular responses (P>0.05 for all analyses).Interpretation: In this study of PWH, vaccination with ChAdOx1 nCoV-19 was well tolerated and there was no difference in humoral and cell-mediated immune responses compared to an adult cohort without HIV who received the same vaccination regime. Trial Registration: Trial Registration number is NCT04400838. Funding: UK Research and Innovation, National Institutes for Health Research (NIHR), Coalition for Epidemic Preparedness Innovations, NIHR Oxford Biomedical Research Centre, Thames Valley and South Midlands NIHR Clinical Research Network, and AstraZeneca. The views expressed are those of the author(s) and not necessarily those of the NIHR or the Department of Health and Social Care.Declaration of Interest: Oxford University has entered into a partnership with AstraZeneca for further development of ChAdOx1 nCoV-19 (AZD1222). AstraZeneca reviewed the data from the study and the final manuscript before 474 submission, but the authors retained editorial control. SCG is cofounder of Vaccitech (a collaborator in the early development of this vaccine candidate) and named as an inventor on a patent covering use of ChAdOx1-vectored vaccines (PCT/GB2012/000467) and a patent application covering this SARS-CoV-2 vaccine. TL is named as an inventor on a patent application covering this SARS-CoV-2 vaccine and was consultant to Vaccitech. PMF is a consultant to Vaccitech. AJP is Chair of the UK Department of Health and Social Care’s JCVI, but does not participate in policy advice on coronavirus vaccines, and is a member of the WHO Strategic Advisory Group of Experts (SAGE). AVSH is a cofounder of and consultant to Vaccitech and is named as an inventor on a patent covering design and use of ChAdOx1-vectored vaccines (PCT/GB2012/0004 7).Ethical Approval: Written informed consent was obtained from all participants, and the trial was done in accordance with the principles of the Declaration of Helsinki and Good Clinical Practice. This study was approved in the UK by the Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency (reference 21584/0424/001-0001) and the South Central Berkshire Research Ethics Committee (reference 20/SC/0145). Vaccine use was authorised by Genetically Modified Organisms Safety Committees at each participating site.

10.
EuropePMC; 2021.
Preprint in English | EuropePMC | ID: ppcovidwho-309642

ABSTRACT

NP 105-113 -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 NP 105-113 -B*07:02 specific T-cell clones and single cell sequencing were performed concurrently, with functional avidity and anti-viral efficacy assessed using an in vitro SARS-CoV-2 infection system, and were correlated with TCR usage, transcriptome signature, and disease severity (acute N=77, convalescent N=52). We demonstrated a beneficial association of NP 105-113 -B*07:02 specific T-cells in COVID-19 disease progression, linked with expansion of T-cell precursors, high functional avidity and anti-viral effector function. Broad immune memory pools were narrowed post-infection but NP 105-113 -B*07:02 specific T-cells were maintained 6 months after infection with preserved anti-viral efficacy to the SARS-CoV-2 Victoria strain, as well as new Alpha, Beta and Gamma variants. Our data shows that NP 105-113 -B*07:02 specific T-cell responses associate with mild disease and high anti-viral efficacy, pointing to inclusion for future vaccine design.

11.
EuropePMC; 2020.
Preprint in English | EuropePMC | ID: ppcovidwho-305590

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. There was a relationship between RT-PCR negativity and the presence of total SARS-CoV-2 antibody (p=0.02). 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.

12.
EuropePMC;
Preprint in English | EuropePMC | ID: ppcovidwho-328783

ABSTRACT

Little is known of the role of cytotoxic CD4 + T-cells in the control of viral replication. Here, we investigate CD4 + T-cell responses to three dominant SARS-CoV-2 epitopes and evaluate antiviral activity, including cytotoxicity and antiviral cytokine production. Diverse T cell receptor (TCR) usage including public TCRs were identified;surprisingly, cytotoxic CD4 + T-cells were found to have signalling and cytotoxic pathways distinct from classical CD8 + T-cells, with increased expression of chemokines and tissue homing receptors promoting migration. We show the presence of cytolytic CD4 + T-cells during primary infection associates with COVID-19 disease severity. Robust immune memory 6-9 months post-infection or vaccination provides CD4 + T-cells with potent antiviral activity. Our data support a model where CD4 + killer cells drive immunopathogenesis during primary infection and CD4 + memory responses are protective during secondary infection. Our study highlights the unique features of cytotoxic CD4 + T-cells that use distinct functional pathways, providing preventative and therapeutic opportunities.

13.
Cell ; 2022.
Article in English | EuropePMC | ID: covidwho-1601904

ABSTRACT

On the 24th November 2021 the sequence of a new SARS CoV-2 viral isolate Omicron-B.1.1.529 was announced, containing far more mutations in Spike (S) than previously reported variants. Neutralization titres of Omicron by sera from vaccinees and convalescent subjects infected with early pandemic as well as Alpha, Beta, Gamma, Delta are substantially reduced or fail to neutralize. Titres against Omicron are boosted by third vaccine doses and are high in cases both vaccinated and infected by Delta. Mutations in Omicron knock out or substantially reduce neutralization by most of a large panel of potent monoclonal antibodies and antibodies under commercial development. Omicron S has structural changes from earlier viruses, combining mutations conferring tight binding to ACE2 to unleash evolution driven by immune escape, leading to a large number of mutations in the ACE2 binding site which rebalance receptor affinity to that of early pandemic viruses. A comprehensive analysis of sera from vaccinees, convalescent patients infected previously by multiple variants and potent monoclonal antibodies from early in the COVID-19 pandemic reveals a substantial overall reduction the ability to neutralize the SARS-CoV-2 Omicron variant, which a third vaccine dose seems to ameliorate. Structural analyses of the Omicron RBD suggest a selective pressure enabling the virus bind ACE2 with increased affinity that is offset by other changes in the receptor binding motif that facilitates immune escape.

15.
EuropePMC; 2021.
Preprint in English | EuropePMC | ID: ppcovidwho-297096

ABSTRACT

On the 24th November 2021 the sequence of a new SARS CoV-2 viral isolate spreading rapidly in Southern Africa was announced. Omicron contains a total of 30 substitutions plus deletions and an insertion in Spike, far more than any previously reported variant. The mutations include those previously identified by In-vitro evolution to contribute to high-affinity binding to ACE2, including mutations Q498R and N501Y critical in forming additional interactions in the interface. Together with increased charge complementarity between the RBD and ACE2, these substantially increase affinity and potentially virus transmissibility through increased syncytia formation. Further mutations promote immune evasion. We have studied the binding of a large panel of potent monoclonal antibodies generated from early pandemic or Beta infected cases. Mutations in Omicron will likely compromise the binding of many of these and additionally, the binding of antibodies under commercial development, however residual binding should provide protection from severe disease.

16.
2021.
Preprint in English | Other preprints | ID: ppcovidwho-296056

ABSTRACT

There is an ongoing global effort to design, manufacture, and clinically assess vaccines against SARS-CoV-2. Over the course of the ongoing pandemic a number of new SARS-CoV-2 virus isolates or variants of concern (VoC) have been identified containing mutations in key proteins. In this study we describe the generation and preclinical assessment of a ChAdOx1-vectored vaccine (AZD2816) which expresses the spike protein of the Beta VoC (B.1.351). We demonstrate that AZD2816 is immunogenic after a single dose. When AZD2816 is used as a booster dose in animals primed with a vaccine encoding the original spike protein (ChAdOx1 nCoV-19/ [AZD1222]), high titre binding and neutralising antibodies against Beta (B.1.351), Gamma (P.1) and Delta (B.1.617.2) are induced. In addition, a strong and polyfunctional T cell response was measured in these booster regimens. These data support the ongoing clinical development and testing of this new variant vaccine.

17.
EuropePMC; 2020.
Preprint in English | EuropePMC | ID: ppcovidwho-293860

ABSTRACT

There are as yet no licenced therapeutics for the COVID-19 pandemic. The causal coronavirus (SARS-CoV-2) binds host cells via a trimeric Spike whose receptor binding domain (RBD) recognizes angiotensin-converting enzyme 2 (ACE2), initiating conformational changes that drive membrane fusion. We find that monoclonal antibody CR3022 binds the RBD tightly, neutralising SARS-CoV-2 and report the crystal structure at 2.4 A of the Fab/RBD complex. Some crystals are suitable for screening for entry-blocking inhibitors. The highly conserved, structure-stabilising, CR3022 epitope is inaccessible in the prefusion Spike, suggesting that CR3022 binding would facilitate conversion to the fusion-incompetent post-fusion state. Cryo-EM analysis confirms that incubation of Spike with CR3022 Fab leads to destruction of the prefusion trimer. Presentation of this cryptic epitope in an RBD-based vaccine might advantageously focus immune responses. Binders at this epitope may be useful therapeutically, possibly in synergy with an antibody blocking receptor attachment.<br><br>Funding: This work was supported by a grant from the CAMS-Oxford Institute to D.I.S. E.E.F and J.Ren are supported by the Wellcome Trust (101122/Z/13/Z), Y.Z. by Cancer Research UK (C375/A17721) and D.I.S. and E.E.F. by the UK Medical Research Council (MR/N00065X/1). J.H. is supported by a grant from the EPA Cephalosporin Fund. PPUK is funded by the Rosalind Franklin Institute EPSRC Grant no. EP/S025243/1. The National Institute for Health Research Biomedical Research Centre Funding Scheme supports G.R.S. together with the Chinese Academy of Medical Sciences (CAMS) Innovation Fund for Medical Science (CIFMS), China (grant number: 2018-I2M-2-002), which also supports D.I.S. G.R.S. is also supported as a Wellcome Trust Senior Investigator (grant 095541/A/11/Z). T.M. is supported by Cancer Research UK grants C20724/A14414 and C20724/A26752 to Christian Siebold. This is a contribution from the UK Instruct-ERIC Centre. The Wellcome Centre for Human Genetics is supported by the Wellcome Trust (grant 090532/Z/09/Z). Virus used for the neutralisation assays was a gift from Julian Druce, Doherty Centre, Melbourne, Australia. <br><br>Conflict of Interest: The authors declare no competing interests.

18.
Lancet ; 399(10319): 36-49, 2022 01 01.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1557000

ABSTRACT

BACKGROUND: Given the importance of flexible use of different COVID-19 vaccines within the same schedule to facilitate rapid deployment, we studied mixed priming schedules incorporating an adenoviral-vectored vaccine (ChAdOx1 nCoV-19 [ChAd], AstraZeneca), two mRNA vaccines (BNT162b2 [BNT], Pfizer-BioNTech, and mRNA-1273 [m1273], Moderna) and a nanoparticle vaccine containing SARS-CoV-2 spike glycoprotein and Matrix-M adjuvant (NVX-CoV2373 [NVX], Novavax). METHODS: Com-COV2 is a single-blind, randomised, non-inferiority trial in which adults aged 50 years and older, previously immunised with a single dose of ChAd or BNT in the community, were randomly assigned (in random blocks of three and six) within these cohorts in a 1:1:1 ratio to receive a second dose intramuscularly (8-12 weeks after the first dose) with the homologous vaccine, m1273, or NVX. The primary endpoint was the geometric mean ratio (GMR) of serum SARS-CoV-2 anti-spike IgG concentrations measured by ELISA in heterologous versus homologous schedules at 28 days after the second dose, with a non-inferiority criterion of the GMR above 0·63 for the one-sided 98·75% CI. The primary analysis was on the per-protocol population, who were seronegative at baseline. Safety analyses were done for all participants who received a dose of study vaccine. The trial is registered with ISRCTN, number 27841311. FINDINGS: Between April 19 and May 14, 2021, 1072 participants were enrolled at a median of 9·4 weeks after receipt of a single dose of ChAd (n=540, 47% female) or BNT (n=532, 40% female). In ChAd-primed participants, geometric mean concentration (GMC) 28 days after a boost of SARS-CoV-2 anti-spike IgG in recipients of ChAd/m1273 (20 114 ELISA laboratory units [ELU]/mL [95% CI 18 160 to 22 279]) and ChAd/NVX (5597 ELU/mL [4756 to 6586]) was non-inferior to that of ChAd/ChAd recipients (1971 ELU/mL [1718 to 2262]) with a GMR of 10·2 (one-sided 98·75% CI 8·4 to ∞) for ChAd/m1273 and 2·8 (2·2 to ∞) for ChAd/NVX, compared with ChAd/ChAd. In BNT-primed participants, non-inferiority was shown for BNT/m1273 (GMC 22 978 ELU/mL [95% CI 20 597 to 25 636]) but not for BNT/NVX (8874 ELU/mL [7391 to 10 654]), compared with BNT/BNT (16 929 ELU/mL [15 025 to 19 075]) with a GMR of 1·3 (one-sided 98·75% CI 1·1 to ∞) for BNT/m1273 and 0·5 (0·4 to ∞) for BNT/NVX, compared with BNT/BNT; however, NVX still induced an 18-fold rise in GMC 28 days after vaccination. There were 15 serious adverse events, none considered related to immunisation. INTERPRETATION: Heterologous second dosing with m1273, but not NVX, increased transient systemic reactogenicity compared with homologous schedules. Multiple vaccines are appropriate to complete primary immunisation following priming with BNT or ChAd, facilitating rapid vaccine deployment globally and supporting recognition of such schedules for vaccine certification. FUNDING: UK Vaccine Task Force, Coalition for Epidemic Preparedness Innovations (CEPI), and National Institute for Health Research. NVX vaccine was supplied for use in the trial by Novavax.


Subject(s)
/administration & dosage , COVID-19 Vaccines/administration & dosage , COVID-19 Vaccines/adverse effects , Immunization, Secondary/adverse effects , Immunization, Secondary/methods , Immunogenicity, Vaccine , /administration & dosage , /administration & dosage , Aged , /immunology , COVID-19/prevention & control , COVID-19 Vaccines/immunology , /immunology , Female , Humans , Male , Middle Aged , Single-Blind Method , United Kingdom , Vaccination/adverse effects , Vaccination/methods , /immunology
19.
Cell Host Microbe ; 30(1): 53-68.e12, 2022 01 12.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1536483

ABSTRACT

Alpha-B.1.1.7, Beta-B.1.351, Gamma-P.1, and Delta-B.1.617.2 variants of SARS-CoV-2 express multiple mutations in the spike protein (S). These may alter the antigenic structure of S, causing escape from natural or vaccine-induced immunity. Beta is particularly difficult to neutralize using serum induced by early pandemic SARS-CoV-2 strains and is most antigenically separated from Delta. To understand this, we generated 674 mAbs from Beta-infected individuals and performed a detailed structure-function analysis of the 27 most potent mAbs: one binding the spike N-terminal domain (NTD), the rest the receptor-binding domain (RBD). Two of these RBD-binding mAbs recognize a neutralizing epitope conserved between SARS-CoV-1 and -2, while 18 target mutated residues in Beta: K417N, E484K, and N501Y. There is a major response to N501Y, including a public IgVH4-39 sequence, with E484K and K417N also targeted. Recognition of these key residues underscores why serum from Beta cases poorly neutralizes early pandemic and Delta viruses.


Subject(s)
Antibodies, Viral/immunology , Antibody Formation/immunology , COVID-19/immunology , SARS-CoV-2/immunology , Animals , Antibodies, Monoclonal/immunology , Antibodies, Neutralizing/immunology , Cells, Cultured , Chlorocebus aethiops , Female , HEK293 Cells , Humans , Male , Mice , Mice, Transgenic , Neutralization Tests/methods , Protein Binding/immunology , Spike Glycoprotein, Coronavirus/immunology , Vero Cells
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