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1.
Clin Infect Dis ; 2022 Nov 11.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-2252413

ABSTRACT

BACKGROUND: Bacille Calmette-Guérin (BCG) vaccination can potentially reduce the rate of respiratory infections in vulnerable populations. This study evaluates the safety and efficacy of VPM1002 (a genetically modified BCG) as prophylaxis against severe respiratory tract infections including COVID-19 in an elderly population. METHODS: In this phase III, randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled, multicenter clinical trial, healthy elderly volunteers (n = 2064) were enrolled, randomized (1:1) to receive either VPM1002 or placebo, and followed up remotely for 240 days. The primary outcome was the mean number of days with severe respiratory infections at hospital and/or at home. Secondary endpoints included the incidence of self-reported fever, number of hospital and ICU admissions, and number of adverse events. RESULTS: A total of 31 participants in the VPM1002 group reported at least 1 day with severe respiratory disease and a mean number of days with severe respiratory disease of 9.39 ± 9.28 days while in the placebo group, 38 participants reported a mean of 14.29 ± 16.25 days with severe respiratory disease. The incidence of self-reported fever was lower in the VPM1002 group (odds ratio: 0.46; 95% CI: 0.28 to 0.74; p-value: 0.001) and consistent trends to less hospitalization and ICU admissions due to COVID-19 were observed after VPM1002-vaccination. Local reactions typical for BCG were observed in the VPM1002-vaccinated group, which were mostly of mild intensity. CONCLUSIONS: Vaccination with VPM1002 is well tolerated and seems to have a prophylactic effect against severe respiratory diseases in the elderly. (ClinicalTrials.gov: NCT04435379).

2.
Lancet Reg Health Southeast Asia ; 10: 100139, 2023 Mar.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-2181313

ABSTRACT

Background: NVX-CoV2373, a Covid-19 vaccine was developed in the USA with ∼90% efficacy. The same vaccine is manufactured in India after technology transfer (called as SII-NVX-CoV2373), was evaluated in this phase 2/3 immuno-bridging study. Methods: This was an observer-blind, randomised, phase 2/3 study in 1600 adults. In phase 2, 200 participants were randomized 3:1 to SII-NVX-CoV2373 or placebo. In phase 3, 1400 participants were randomized 3:1 to SII-NVX-CoV2373 or NVX-CoV2373 (940 safety cohort and 460 immunogenicity cohort). Two doses of study products (SII-NVX-CoV2373, NVX-CoV2373 or placebo) were given 3 weeks apart. Primary objectives were to demonstrate non-inferiority of SII-NVX-CoV2373 to NVX-CoV2373 in terms of geometric mean ELISA units (GMEU) ratio of anti-S IgG antibodies 14 days after the second dose (day 36) and to determine the incidence of causally related serious adverse events (SAEs) through 180 days after the first dose. Anti-S IgG response was assessed using an Enzyme-Linked Immunosorbent Assay (ELISA) and neutralizing antibodies (nAb) were assessed by a microneutralization assay using wild type SARS CoV-2 in participants from the immunogenicity cohort at baseline, day 22, day 36 and day 180. Cell mediated immune (CMI) response was assessed in a subset of 28 participants from immunogenicity cohort by ELISpot assay at baseline, day 36 and day 180. The total follow-up was for 6 months. Trial registration: CTRI/2021/02/031554. Findings: Total 1596 participants (200 in Phase 2 and 1396 in Phase 3) received the first dose. SII-NVX-CoV2373 was found non-inferior to NVX-CoV2373 (anti-S IgG antibodies GMEU ratio 0.91; 95% CI: 0.79, 1.06). At day 36, there was more than 58-fold rise in anti-S IgG and nAb titers compared to baseline in both the groups. On day 180 visit, these antibody titers declined to levels slightly lower than those after the first dose (13-22 fold-rise above baseline). Incidence of unsolicited and solicited AEs was similar between the SII-NVX-CoV2373 and NVX-CoV2373 groups. No adverse event of special interest (AESI) was reported. No causally related SAE was reported. Interpretation: SII-NVX-CoV2373 induced a non-inferior immune response compared to NVX-CoV2373 and has acceptable safety profile. Funding: SIIPL, Indian Council of Medical Research, Novavax.

3.
Vaccine ; 41(5): 1108-1118, 2023 01 27.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-2165932

ABSTRACT

There is a continued need for sarbecovirus vaccines that can be manufactured and distributed in low- and middle-income countries (LMICs). Subunit protein vaccines are manufactured at large scales at low costs, have less stringent temperature requirements for distribution in LMICs, and several candidates have shown protection against SARS-CoV-2. We previously reported an engineered variant of the SARS-CoV-2 Spike protein receptor binding domain antigen (RBD-L452K-F490W; RBD-J) with enhanced manufacturability and immunogenicity compared to the ancestral RBD. Here, we report a second-generation engineered RBD antigen (RBD-J6) with two additional mutations to a hydrophobic cryptic epitope in the RBD core, S383D and L518D, that further improved expression titers and biophysical stability. RBD-J6 retained binding affinity to human convalescent sera and to all tested neutralizing antibodies except antibodies that target the class IV epitope on the RBD core. K18-hACE2 transgenic mice immunized with three doses of a Beta variant of RBD-J6 displayed on a virus-like particle (VLP) generated neutralizing antibodies (nAb) to nine SARS-CoV-2 variants of concern at similar levels as two doses of Comirnaty. The vaccinated mice were also protected from challenge with Alpha or Beta SARS-CoV-2. This engineered antigen could be useful for modular RBD-based subunit vaccines to enhance manufacturability and global access, or for further development of variant-specific or broadly acting booster vaccines.


Subject(s)
COVID-19 , SARS-CoV-2 , Humans , Animals , Mice , Epitopes/genetics , SARS-CoV-2/genetics , COVID-19/prevention & control , COVID-19 Serotherapy , Spike Glycoprotein, Coronavirus/genetics , Antibodies, Neutralizing , Antibodies, Viral , Mice, Transgenic
4.
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
5.
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
6.
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.

7.
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.

8.
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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