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1.
Front Immunol ; 13: 882918, 2022.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1993786

ABSTRACT

In light of the decreasing immune protection against symptomatic SARS-CoV-2 infection after initial vaccinations and the now dominant immune-evasive Omicron variants, 'booster' vaccinations are regularly performed to restore immune responses. Many individuals have received a primary heterologous prime-boost vaccination with long intervals between vaccinations, but the resulting long-term immunity and the effects of a subsequent 'booster', particularly against Omicron BA.1, have not been defined. We followed a cohort of 23 young adults, who received a primary heterologous ChAdOx1 nCoV-19 BNT162b2 prime-boost vaccination, over a 7-month period and analysed how they responded to a BNT162b2 'booster'. We show that already after the primary heterologous vaccination, neutralization titers against Omicron BA.1 are recognizable but that humoral and cellular immunity wanes over the course of half a year. Residual responsive memory T cells recognized spike epitopes of the early SARS-CoV-2 B.1 strain as well as the Delta and BA.1 variants of concern (VOCs). However, the remaining antibody titers hardly neutralized these VOCs. The 'booster' vaccination was well tolerated and elicited both high antibody titers and increased memory T cell responses against SARS-CoV-2 including BA.1. Strikingly, in this young heterologously vaccinated cohort the neutralizing activity after the 'booster' was almost as potent against BA.1 as against the early B.1 strain. Our results suggest that a 'booster' after heterologous vaccination results in effective immune maturation and potent protection against the Omicron BA.1 variant in young adults.


Subject(s)
Antibodies, Neutralizing , COVID-19 , Antibodies, Viral , BNT162 Vaccine , COVID-19/prevention & control , ChAdOx1 nCoV-19 , Humans , SARS-CoV-2 , Vaccination , Young Adult
2.
Antiviral Res ; 203: 105343, 2022 07.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1850637

ABSTRACT

Besides pandemic SARS-CoV-2, also endemic seasonal human common cold coronaviruses (hCoVs) have a significant impact on human health and economy. Studies on hCoVs and the identification of antivirals are therefore crucial to improve human well-being. However, hCoVs have long been neglected and the methodology to study virus infection, replication and inhibition warrants being updated. We here evaluated the established plaque-based assays to determine viral titers and cell-to-cell spread and developed protocols for the immunodetection of the viral nucleocapsid protein by flow cytometry and in-cell ELISA to study infection rates at early time points. The developed protocols allow detection of hCoV-229E infection after 2, and hCoV-NL63 and -OC43 infection after 3 days at a single cell level or in a 96 well microtiter format, in large sample numbers without being laborious or expensive. Both assays can be applied to assess the susceptibility of cells to hCoV infection and replication, and to determine the efficacy of antiviral compounds as well as neutralizing antibodies in a sensitive and quantitative manner. Application revealed that clinically applied SARS-CoV-2 targeting monoclonal antibodies are inactive against hCoVs, but that the viral polymerase targeting antivirals remdesivir and molnupiravir are broadly active also against all three hCoVs. Further, the in-cell ELISA provided evidence that nirmatrelvir, previously shown to broadly inhibit coronavirus proteases, also prevents replication of authentic hCoVs. Importantly, the protocols described here can be easily adapted to other coronavirus strains and species as well as viruses of other families within a short time. This will facilitate future research on known and emerging (corona)viruses, support the identification of antivirals and increase the preparedness for future virus outbreaks.


Subject(s)
COVID-19 , Common Cold , Coronavirus NL63, Human , Antiviral Agents/pharmacology , COVID-19/diagnosis , COVID-19/drug therapy , Common Cold/diagnosis , Common Cold/drug therapy , Humans , SARS-CoV-2 , Seasons
3.
EuropePMC; 2022.
Preprint in English | EuropePMC | ID: ppcovidwho-335834

ABSTRACT

COVID-19 course and immunity differ in children and adults. We analyzed immune response dynamics in 28 families up to 12 months after mild or asymptomatic infection. Unlike adults, the initial response is plasmablast-driven in children. Four months after infection, children showed an enhanced specific antibody response and a lower but detectable S1-specific B and T cell response compared to their parents. While specific antibodies declined, neutralizing antibody activity and breadth increased in both groups. Frequencies of S1-specific B and T cell responses remained stable. However, progressive maturation of the S1 specific immune response was observed in children one year after infection with IgA class switch and expression of CD27 on B cells and T cell maturation. Hence, the immune response in children persists over 12 months, but dynamically changes in quality, with progressive neutralizing, breadth, and memory maturation. This implies a benefit for booster vaccination in children to consolidate memory formation.

4.
Clin Infect Dis ; 75(1): e653-e661, 2022 08 24.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1774348

ABSTRACT

BACKGROUND: Most of the millions of people that are vaccinated against severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2), the causative agent of coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19), have previously been infected by related circulating human coronaviruses (hCoVs) causing common colds and will experience further encounters with these viruses in the future. Whether COVID-19 vaccinations impact neutralization of seasonal coronaviruses is largely unknown. METHODS: We analyzed the capacity of sera derived from 24 individuals before and after heterologous ChAdOx1 nCoV-19 BNT162b2 prime-boost vaccination to neutralize genuine OC43, NL63, and 229E hCoVs, as well as viral pseudoparticles carrying the SARS-CoV-1, SARS-CoV-2, Middle East Respiratory Syndrome (MERS)-CoV, and hCoV-OC43, hCoV-NL63, and hCoV-229E spike proteins. Genuine hCoVs or spike containing pseudovirions were incubated with different concentrations of sera and neutralization efficiencies were determined by measuring viral RNA yields, intracellular viral nucleocapsid expression, or reporter gene expression in Huh-7 cells. RESULTS: All individuals showed strong preexisting immunity against hCoV-OC43. Neutralization of hCoV-NL63 was more variable and all sera showed only modest inhibitory activity against genuine hCoV-229E. SARS-CoV-2 vaccination resulted in efficient cross-neutralization of SARS-CoV-1 but not of MERS-CoV. On average, vaccination significantly increased the neutralizing activity against genuine hCoV-OC43, hCoV-NL63, and hCoV-229E. CONCLUSIONS: Heterologous COVID-19 vaccination may confer some cross-protection against endemic seasonal coronaviruses.


Subject(s)
COVID-19 , Coronavirus 229E, Human , Coronavirus NL63, Human , Coronavirus OC43, Human , BNT162 Vaccine , COVID-19/prevention & control , COVID-19 Vaccines , ChAdOx1 nCoV-19 , Humans , SARS-CoV-2 , Seasons , Vaccination
5.
Nat Commun ; 13(1): 128, 2022 01 10.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1616978

ABSTRACT

The quality and persistence of children's humoral immune response following SARS-CoV-2 infection remains largely unknown but will be crucial to guide pediatric SARS-CoV-2 vaccination programs. Here, we examine 548 children and 717 adults within 328 households with at least one member with a previous laboratory-confirmed SARS-CoV-2 infection. We assess serological response at 3-4 months and 11-12 months after infection using a bead-based multiplex immunoassay for 23 human coronavirus antigens including SARS-CoV-2 and its Variants of Concern (VOC) and endemic human coronaviruses (HCoVs), and additionally by three commercial SARS-CoV-2 antibody assays. Neutralization against wild type SARS-CoV-2 and the Delta VOC are analysed in a pseudotyped virus assay. Children, compared to adults, are five times more likely to be asymptomatic, and have higher specific antibody levels which persist longer (96.2% versus 82.9% still seropositive 11-12 months post infection). Of note, symptomatic and asymptomatic infections induce similar humoral responses in all age groups. SARS-CoV-2 infection occurs independent of HCoV serostatus. Neutralization responses of children and adults are similar, although neutralization is reduced for both against the Delta VOC. Overall, the long-term humoral immune response to SARS-CoV-2 infection in children is of longer duration than in adults even after asymptomatic infection.


Subject(s)
Antibodies, Neutralizing/immunology , Antibodies, Viral/immunology , COVID-19/immunology , Immunity, Humoral/immunology , SARS-CoV-2/immunology , Adolescent , Adult , Antigens, Viral/immunology , COVID-19/prevention & control , COVID-19/virology , COVID-19 Vaccines/administration & dosage , COVID-19 Vaccines/immunology , Child , Child, Preschool , Cross Reactions/immunology , Female , Humans , Infant , Male , SARS-CoV-2/genetics , SARS-CoV-2/physiology , Spike Glycoprotein, Coronavirus/immunology , Vaccination/methods
6.
EBioMedicine ; 75: 103761, 2022 Jan.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1587930

ABSTRACT

BACKGROUND: Heterologous COVID-19 vaccination regimens combining vector- and mRNA-based vaccines are already administered, but data on solicited adverse reactions, immunological responses and elicited protection are limited. METHODS: To evaluate the reactogenicity and humoral as well as cellular immune responses towards most prevalent SARS-CoV-2 variants after a heterologous ChAdOx1 nCoV-19 BNT162b2 prime-boost vaccination, we analysed a cohort of 26 clinic employees aged 25-46 (median 30.5) years who received a ChAdOx1 nCoV-19 prime followed by a BNT162b2 boost after an 8-week interval. Serological data were compared to a cohort which received homologous BNT162b2 vaccination with a 3-week interval (14 individuals aged 25-65, median 42). FINDINGS: Self-reported solicited symptoms after ChAdOx1 nCoV-19 prime were in line with previous reports and more severe than after the BNT162b2 boost. Antibody titres increased significantly over time resulting in strong neutralization titres two weeks after the BNT162b2 boost and subsequently slightly decreased over the course of 17 weeks. At the latest time point measured, all analysed sera retained neutralizing activity against the currently dominant Delta (B.1.617.2) variant. Two weeks post boost, neutralizing activity against the Alpha (B.1.1.7) and immune-evading Beta (B.1.351) variant was ∼4-fold higher than in individuals receiving homologous BNT162b2 vaccination. No difference was observed in neutralization of Kappa (B.1.617.1). In addition, heterologous vaccination induced CD4+ and CD8+ T cells reactive to SARS-CoV-2 spike peptides of all analysed variants; Wuhan-Hu-1, Alpha, Beta, Gamma (P.1), and Delta. INTERPRETATION: In conclusion, heterologous ChAdOx1 nCoV-19 / BNT162b2 prime-boost vaccination is not associated with serious adverse events and induces potent humoral and cellular immune responses. The Alpha, Beta, Delta, and Kappa variants of spike are potently neutralized by sera from all participants and reactive T cells recognize spike peptides of all tested variants. These results suggest that this heterologous vaccination regimen is at least as immunogenic and protective as homologous vaccinations and also offers protection against current variants of concern. FUNDING: This project has received funding from the European Union's Horizon 2020 research and innovation programme, the German Research Foundation, the BMBF, the Robert Koch Institute (RKI), the Baden-Württemberg Stiftung, the county of Lower Saxony, the Ministry for Science, Research and the Arts of Baden-Württemberg, Germany, and the National Institutes of Health.


Subject(s)
Antibodies, Neutralizing/immunology , COVID-19/prevention & control , Immunity, Cellular/drug effects , Immunization, Secondary , SARS-CoV-2/immunology , T-Lymphocytes/immunology , Adult , COVID-19/epidemiology , COVID-19/immunology , Female , Humans , Male , Middle Aged , Prevalence
7.
Mol Ther ; 30(1): 311-326, 2022 01 05.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1450246

ABSTRACT

The COVID-19 pandemic caused by SARS-CoV-2 has made the development of safe and effective vaccines a critical priority. To date, four vaccines have been approved by European and American authorities for preventing COVID-19, but the development of additional vaccine platforms with improved supply and logistics profiles remains a pressing need. Here we report the preclinical evaluation of a novel COVID-19 vaccine candidate based on the electroporation of engineered, synthetic cDNA encoding a viral antigen in the skeletal muscle. We constructed a set of prototype DNA vaccines expressing various forms of the SARS-CoV-2 spike (S) protein and assessed their immunogenicity in animal models. Among them, COVID-eVax-a DNA plasmid encoding a secreted monomeric form of SARS-CoV-2 S protein receptor-binding domain (RBD)-induced the most potent anti-SARS-CoV-2 neutralizing antibody responses (including against the current most common variants of concern) and a robust T cell response. Upon challenge with SARS-CoV-2, immunized K18-hACE2 transgenic mice showed reduced weight loss, improved pulmonary function, and lower viral replication in the lungs and brain. COVID-eVax conferred significant protection to ferrets upon SARS-CoV-2 challenge. In summary, this study identifies COVID-eVax as an ideal COVID-19 vaccine candidate suitable for clinical development. Accordingly, a combined phase I-II trial has recently started.


Subject(s)
COVID-19 Vaccines/administration & dosage , COVID-19/prevention & control , Immunization/methods , Models, Animal , SARS-CoV-2/isolation & purification , Spike Glycoprotein, Coronavirus/immunology , Vaccines, DNA/administration & dosage , Animals , Antibodies, Neutralizing/immunology , Antibodies, Viral/immunology , COVID-19/genetics , COVID-19/virology , Female , Ferrets , Humans , Mice , Mice, Inbred BALB C , Mice, Inbred C57BL , Mice, Transgenic , Protein Domains , Rats, Sprague-Dawley
8.
J Immunol ; 206(11): 2614-2622, 2021 06 01.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1227099

ABSTRACT

The current SARS-CoV-2 pandemic has triggered the development of various SARS-CoV-2 neutralization tests. A wild-type virus (using African green monkey VeroE6 cells), a pseudovirus (using human Caco-2 cells), and a surrogate neutralization test platform were applied to characterize the SARS-CoV-2 neutralization potential of a cohort of 111 convalescent plasma donors over a period of seven months after diagnosis. This allowed an in-depth validation and assay performance analysis of these platforms. More importantly, we found that SARS-CoV-2 neutralization titers were stable or even increased within the observation period, which contradicts earlier studies reporting a rapid waning of Ab titers after three to four months. Moreover, we observed a positive correlation of neutralization titers with increasing age, number of symptoms reported, and the presence of the Rhesus Ag RhD. Validation of the platforms revealed that highest assay performances were obtained with the wild-type virus and the surrogate neutralization platforms. However, our data also suggested that selection of cutoff titers had a strong impact on the evaluation of neutralization potency. When taking strong neutralization potency, as demonstrated by the wild-type virus platform as the gold standard, up to 55% of plasma products had low neutralization titers. However, a significant portion of these products were overrated in their potency when using the surrogate assay with the recommended cutoff titer. In summary, our study demonstrates that SARS-CoV-2 neutralization titers are stable for at least seven months after diagnosis and offers a testing strategy for rapid selection of high-titer convalescent plasma products in a biosafety level 1 environment.


Subject(s)
Antibodies, Neutralizing/immunology , Antibodies, Viral/immunology , Blood Donors , COVID-19/therapy , SARS-CoV-2/immunology , Antibodies, Neutralizing/therapeutic use , Antibodies, Viral/therapeutic use , COVID-19/immunology , Female , Humans , Immunization, Passive , Male , Rh-Hr Blood-Group System/immunology
9.
Cell ; 184(9): 2384-2393.e12, 2021 04 29.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1141659

ABSTRACT

The global spread of SARS-CoV-2/COVID-19 is devastating health systems and economies worldwide. Recombinant or vaccine-induced neutralizing antibodies are used to combat the COVID-19 pandemic. However, the recently emerged SARS-CoV-2 variants B.1.1.7 (UK), B.1.351 (South Africa), and P.1 (Brazil) harbor mutations in the viral spike (S) protein that may alter virus-host cell interactions and confer resistance to inhibitors and antibodies. Here, using pseudoparticles, we show that entry of all variants into human cells is susceptible to blockade by the entry inhibitors soluble ACE2, Camostat, EK-1, and EK-1-C4. In contrast, entry of the B.1.351 and P.1 variant was partially (Casirivimab) or fully (Bamlanivimab) resistant to antibodies used for COVID-19 treatment. Moreover, entry of these variants was less efficiently inhibited by plasma from convalescent COVID-19 patients and sera from BNT162b2-vaccinated individuals. These results suggest that SARS-CoV-2 may escape neutralizing antibody responses, which has important implications for efforts to contain the pandemic.


Subject(s)
Antibodies, Neutralizing/immunology , Antibodies, Viral/immunology , SARS-CoV-2/immunology , Animals , COVID-19/immunology , COVID-19/therapy , COVID-19/virology , Cell Line , Drug Resistance, Viral , Humans , Immunization, Passive , Kinetics , Membrane Fusion , Models, Molecular , Neutralization Tests , Serine Endopeptidases/metabolism , Solubility , Spike Glycoprotein, Coronavirus/immunology , Vaccination , Virus Internalization
10.
Nat Commun ; 12(1): 1726, 2021 03 19.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1142436

ABSTRACT

SARS-CoV-2 is a respiratory pathogen and primarily infects the airway epithelium. As our knowledge about innate immune factors of the respiratory tract against SARS-CoV-2 is limited, we generated and screened a peptide/protein library derived from bronchoalveolar lavage for inhibitors of SARS-CoV-2 spike-driven entry. Analysis of antiviral fractions revealed the presence of α1-antitrypsin (α1AT), a highly abundant circulating serine protease inhibitor. Here, we report that α1AT inhibits SARS-CoV-2 entry at physiological concentrations and suppresses viral replication in cell lines and primary cells including human airway epithelial cultures. We further demonstrate that α1AT binds and inactivates the serine protease TMPRSS2, which enzymatically primes the SARS-CoV-2 spike protein for membrane fusion. Thus, the acute phase protein α1AT is an inhibitor of TMPRSS2 and SARS-CoV-2 entry, and may play an important role in the innate immune defense against the novel coronavirus. Our findings suggest that repurposing of α1AT-containing drugs has prospects for the therapy of COVID-19.


Subject(s)
COVID-19/drug therapy , SARS-CoV-2/drug effects , Serine Endopeptidases/metabolism , Serine Proteinase Inhibitors/pharmacology , alpha 1-Antitrypsin/pharmacology , Antibodies, Viral/blood , Antiviral Agents/pharmacology , COVID-19/blood , Caco-2 Cells , Humans , Immunoglobulin G/blood , Molecular Docking Simulation , Spike Glycoprotein, Coronavirus/metabolism , Virus Internalization/drug effects , Virus Replication/drug effects
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