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1.
Front Immunol ; 13: 948431, 2022.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-2022730

ABSTRACT

Emergence of variants of concern (VOC) during the COVID-19 pandemic has contributed to the decreased efficacy of therapeutic monoclonal antibody treatments for severe cases of SARS-CoV-2 infection. In addition, the cost of creating these therapeutic treatments is high, making their implementation in low- to middle-income countries devastated by the pandemic very difficult. Here, we explored the use of polyclonal EpF(ab')2 antibodies generated through the immunization of horses with SARS-CoV-2 WA-1 RBD conjugated to HBsAg nanoparticles as a low-cost therapeutic treatment for severe cases of disease. We determined that the equine EpF(ab')2 bind RBD and neutralize ACE2 receptor binding by virus for all VOC strains tested except Omicron. Despite its relatively quick clearance from peripheral circulation, a 100µg dose of EpF(ab')2 was able to fully protect mice against severe disease phenotypes following intranasal SARS-CoV-2 challenge with Alpha and Beta variants. EpF(ab')2 administration increased survival while subsequently lowering disease scores and viral RNA burden in disease-relevant tissues. No significant improvement in survival outcomes or disease scores was observed in EpF(ab')2-treated mice challenged using the Delta variant at 10µg or 100µg doses. Overall, the data presented here provide a proof of concept for the use of EpF(ab')2 in the prevention of severe SARS-CoV-2 infections and underscore the need for either variant-specific treatments or variant-independent therapeutics for COVID-19.


Subject(s)
COVID-19 , SARS-CoV-2 , Animals , COVID-19/prevention & control , Horses , Humans , Immunization, Passive , Melphalan , Mice , Pandemics , SARS-CoV-2/genetics , gamma-Globulins
2.
mSphere ; 7(4): e0024322, 2022 08 31.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1992945

ABSTRACT

The ongoing COVID-19 pandemic has contributed largely to the global vaccine disparity. Development of protein subunit vaccines can help alleviate shortages of COVID-19 vaccines delivered to low-income countries. Here, we evaluated the efficacy of a three-dose virus-like particle (VLP) vaccine composed of hepatitis B surface antigen (HBsAg) decorated with the receptor binding domain (RBD) from the Wuhan or Beta SARS-CoV-2 strain adjuvanted with either aluminum hydroxide (alum) or squalene in water emulsion (SWE). RBD HBsAg vaccines were compared to the standard two doses of Pfizer mRNA vaccine. Alum-adjuvanted vaccines were composed of either HBsAg conjugated with Beta RBD alone (ß RBD HBsAg+Al) or a combination of both Beta RBD HBsAg and Wuhan RBD HBsAg (ß/Wu RBD HBsAg+Al). RBD vaccines adjuvanted with SWE were formulated with Beta RBD HBsAg (ß RBD HBsAg+SWE) or without HBsAg (ß RBD+SWE). Both alum-adjuvanted RBD HBsAg vaccines generated functional RBD IgG against multiple SARS-CoV-2 variants of concern (VOC), decreased viral RNA burden, and lowered inflammation in the lung against Alpha or Beta challenge in K18-hACE2 mice. However, only ß/Wu RBD HBsAg+Al was able to afford 100% survival to mice challenged with Alpha or Beta VOC. Furthermore, mice immunized with ß RBD HBsAg+SWE induced cross-reactive neutralizing antibodies against major VOC of SARS-CoV-2, lowered viral RNA burden in the lung and brain, and protected mice from Alpha or Beta challenge similarly to mice immunized with Pfizer mRNA. However, RBD+SWE immunization failed to protect mice from VOC challenge. Our findings demonstrate that RBD HBsAg VLP vaccines provided similar protection profiles to the approved Pfizer mRNA vaccines used worldwide and may offer protection against SARS-CoV-2 VOC. IMPORTANCE Global COVID-19 vaccine distribution to low-income countries has been a major challenge of the pandemic. To address supply chain issues, RBD virus-like particle (VLP) vaccines that are cost-effective and capable of large-scale production were developed and evaluated for efficacy in preclinical mouse studies. We demonstrated that RBD-VLP vaccines protected K18-hACE2 mice against Alpha or Beta challenge similarly to Pfizer mRNA vaccination. Our findings showed that the VLP platform can be utilized to formulate immunogenic and efficacious COVID-19 vaccines.


Subject(s)
COVID-19 , Vaccines, Virus-Like Particle , Alum Compounds , Animals , Antibodies, Viral , COVID-19/prevention & control , COVID-19 Vaccines , Emulsions , Hepatitis B Surface Antigens/genetics , Humans , Melphalan , Mice , Mice, Inbred BALB C , Pandemics , RNA, Messenger , RNA, Viral , SARS-CoV-2 , Squalene , Vaccines, Synthetic , Water , gamma-Globulins , mRNA Vaccines
3.
Sci Adv ; 8(11): eabl6015, 2022 Mar 18.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1745843

ABSTRACT

Authorized vaccines against SARS-CoV-2 remain less available in low- and middle-income countries due to insufficient supply, high costs, and storage requirements. Global immunity could still benefit from new vaccines using widely available, safe adjuvants, such as alum and protein subunits, suited to low-cost production in existing manufacturing facilities. Here, a clinical-stage vaccine candidate comprising a SARS-CoV-2 receptor binding domain-hepatitis B surface antigen virus-like particle elicited protective immunity in cynomolgus macaques. Titers of neutralizing antibodies (>104) induced by this candidate were above the range of protection for other licensed vaccines in nonhuman primates. Including CpG 1018 did not significantly improve the immunological responses. Vaccinated animals challenged with SARS-CoV-2 showed reduced median viral loads in bronchoalveolar lavage (~3.4 log10) and nasal mucosa (~2.9 log10) versus sham controls. These data support the potential benefit of this design for a low-cost modular vaccine platform for SARS-CoV-2 and other variants of concern or betacoronaviruses.

4.
EClinicalMedicine ; 42: 101218, 2021 Dec.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1540604

ABSTRACT

BACKGROUND: This phase 2/3 immunobridging study evaluated the safety and immunogenicity of the ChAdOx1 nCoV-19 Coronavirus Vaccine (Recombinant) (SII-ChAdOx1 nCoV-19), manufactured in India at the Serum Institute of India Pvt Ltd (SIIPL), following technology transfer from the AstraZeneca. METHODS: This participant-blind, observer-blind study randomised participants 3:1 to SII-ChAdOx1 nCoV-19 or AZD1222 (ChAdOx1 nCoV-19) (immunogenicity/reactogenicity cohort) and 3:1 to SII-ChAdOx1 nCoV-19 or placebo (safety cohort). The study participants were enrolled from 14 hospitals across India between August 25 and October 31, 2020. Two doses of study products were given 4 weeks apart. The primary objectives were to demonstrate non-inferiority of SII-ChAdOx1 nCoV-19 to AZD1222 in terms of geometric mean titre (GMT) ratio of anti-SARS-CoV-2 spike IgG antibodies 28 days after the second dose (defined as lower limit of 95% CI >0·67) and to determine the incidence of serious adverse events (SAEs) causally related to SII-ChAdOx1 nCoV-19. The anti-spike IgG response was assessed using a multiplexed electrochemiluminescence-based immunoassay. Safety follow-up continued until 6 months after first dose. Trial registration: CTRI/2020/08/027170. FINDINGS: 1601 participants were enrolled: 401 to the immunogenicity/reactogenicity cohort and 1200 to the safety cohort. After two doses, seroconversion rates for anti-spike IgG antibodies were more than 98·0% in both the groups. SII-ChAdOx1 nCoV-19 was non-inferior to AZD1222 (GMT ratio 0·98; 95% CI 0·78-1·23). SAEs were reported in ≤ 2·0% participants across the three groups; none were causally related. A total of 34 SARS-CoV-2 infections were reported; of which 6 occurred more than 2 weeks after the second dose; none were severe. INTERPRETATION: SII-ChAdOx1 nCoV-19 has a non-inferior immune response compared to AZD1222 and an acceptable safety/reactogenicity profile. Pharmacovigilance should be maintained to detect any safety signals. FUNDING: SIIPL funded the contract research organisation and laboratory costs, while the site costs were funded by the Indian Council of Medical Research. The study vaccines were supplied by SIIPL and AstraZeneca.

5.
Biotechnol Bioeng ; 119(2): 657-662, 2022 02.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1516721

ABSTRACT

Prevention of COVID-19 on a global scale will require the continued development of high-volume, low-cost platforms for the manufacturing of vaccines to supply ongoing demand. Vaccine candidates based on recombinant protein subunits remain important because they can be manufactured at low costs in existing large-scale production facilities that use microbial hosts like Komagataella phaffii (Pichia pastoris). Here, we report an improved and scalable manufacturing approach for the SARS-CoV-2 spike protein receptor-binding domain (RBD); this protein is a key antigen for several reported vaccine candidates. We genetically engineered a manufacturing strain of K. phaffii to obviate the requirement for methanol induction of the recombinant gene. Methanol-free production improved the secreted titer of the RBD protein by >5X by alleviating protein folding stress. Removal of methanol from the production process enabled to scale up to a 1200 L pre-existing production facility. This engineered strain is now used to produce an RBD-based vaccine antigen that is currently in clinical trials and could be used to produce other variants of RBD as needed for future vaccines.

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