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1.
EuropePMC; 2022.
Preprint in English | EuropePMC | ID: ppcovidwho-335252

ABSTRACT

The SARS-CoV-2 Omicron (B.1.1.529) variant first emerged as the BA.1 sub-lineage, with extensive escape from neutralizing immunity elicited by previous infection with other variants, vaccines, or combinations of both 1,2 . Two new sub-lineages, BA.4 and BA.5, are now emerging in South Africa with changes relative to BA.1, including L452R and F486V mutations in the spike receptor binding domain. We isolated live BA.4 and BA.5 viruses and tested them against neutralizing immunity elicited to BA.1 infection in participants who were Omicron/BA.1 infected but unvaccinated (n=24) and participants vaccinated with Pfizer BNT162b2 or Johnson and Johnson Ad26.CoV.2S with breakthrough Omicron/BA.1 infection (n=15). In unvaccinated individuals, FRNT 50 , the inverse of the dilution for 50% neutralization, declined from 275 for BA.1 to 36 for BA.4 and 37 for BA.5, a 7.6 and 7.5-fold drop, respectively. In vaccinated BA.1 breakthroughs, FRNT 50 declined from 507 for BA.1 to 158 for BA.4 (3.2-fold) and 198 for BA.5 (2.6-fold). Absolute BA.4 and BA.5 neutralization levels were about 5-fold higher in this group versus unvaccinated BA.1 infected participants. The observed escape of BA.4 and BA.5 from BA.1 elicited immunity is more moderate than of BA.1 against previous immunity 1,3 . However, the low absolute neutralization levels for BA.4 and BA.5, particularly in the unvaccinated group, are unlikely to protect well against symptomatic infection 4 .This may indicate that, based on neutralization escape, BA.4 and BA.5 have potential to result in a new infection wave.

2.
Nature ; 2022 May 06.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1830078

ABSTRACT

The extent to which Omicron infection1-9, with or without previous vaccination, elicits protection against the previously dominant Delta (B.1.617.2) variant is unclear. Here we measured the neutralization capacity against variants of severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 in 39 individuals in South Africa infected with the Omicron sublineage BA.1 starting at a median of 6 (interquartile range 3-9) days post symptom onset and continuing until last follow-up sample available, a median of 23 (interquartile range 19-27) days post symptoms to allow BA.1-elicited neutralizing immunity time to develop. Fifteen participants were vaccinated with Pfizer's BNT162b2 or Johnson & Johnson's Ad26.CoV2.S and had BA.1 breakthrough infections, and 24 were unvaccinated. BA.1 neutralization increased from a geometric mean 50% focus reduction neutralization test titre of 42 at enrolment to 575 at the last follow-up time point (13.6-fold) in vaccinated participants and from 46 to 272 (6.0-fold) in unvaccinated participants. Delta virus neutralization also increased, from 192 to 1,091 (5.7-fold) in vaccinated participants and from 28 to 91 (3.0-fold) in unvaccinated participants. At the last time point, unvaccinated individuals infected with BA.1 had low absolute levels of neutralization for the non-BA.1 viruses and 2.2-fold lower BA.1 neutralization, 12.0-fold lower Delta neutralization, 9.6-fold lower Beta variant neutralization, 17.9-fold lower ancestral virus neutralization and 4.8-fold lower Omicron sublineage BA.2 neutralization relative to vaccinated individuals infected with BA.1. These results indicate that hybrid immunity formed by vaccination and Omicron BA.1 infection should be protective against Delta and other variants. By contrast, infection with Omicron BA.1 alone offers limited cross-protection despite moderate enhancement.

3.
Nat Rev Immunol ; 22(5): 267-269, 2022 May.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1799587
4.
EuropePMC; 2022.
Preprint in English | EuropePMC | ID: ppcovidwho-333005

ABSTRACT

HIV infection has been identified as one of the major risk factors for severe COVID-19 disease, but the mechanisms underpinning this susceptability are still unclear. Here, we assessed the impact of HIV infection on the quality and epitope specificity of SARS-CoV-2 T cell responses in the first wave and second wave of the COVID-19 epidemic in South Africa. Flow cytometry was used to measure T cell responses following PBMC stimulation with SARS-CoV-2 peptide pools. Culture expansion was used to determine T cell immunodominance hierarchies and to assess potential SARS-CoV-2 escape from T cell recognition. HIV-seronegative individuals had significantly greater CD4 + and CD8 + T cell responses against the Spike protein compared to the viremic PLWH. Absolute CD4 count correlated positively with SARS-CoV-2 specific CD4 + and CD8 + T cell responses (CD4 r= 0.5, p=0.03;CD8 r=0.5, p=0.001), whereas T cell activation was negatively correlated with CD4 + T cell responses (CD4 r= −0.7, p=0.04). There was diminished T cell cross-recognition between the two waves, which was more pronounced in individuals with unsuppressed HIV infection. Importantly, we identify four mutations in the Beta variant that resulted in abrogation of T cell recognition. Together, we show that unsuppressed HIV infection markedly impairs T cell responses to SARS-Cov-2 infection and diminishes T cell cross-recognition. These findings may partly explain the increased susceptibility of PLWH to severe COVID-19 and also highlights their vulnerability to emerging SARS-CoV-2 variants of concern. One sentence summary Unsuppressed HIV infection is associated with muted SARS-CoV-2 T cell responses and poorer recognition of the Beta variant.

6.
Nat Commun ; 13(1): 1976, 2022 04 08.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1783980

ABSTRACT

Global genomic surveillance of SARS-CoV-2 has identified variants associated with increased transmissibility, neutralization resistance and disease severity. Here we report the emergence of the PANGO lineage C.1.2, detected at low prevalence in South Africa and eleven other countries. The initial C.1.2 detection is associated with a high substitution rate, and includes changes within the spike protein that have been associated with increased transmissibility or reduced neutralization sensitivity in SARS-CoV-2 variants of concern or variants of interest. Like Beta and Delta, C.1.2 shows significantly reduced neutralization sensitivity to plasma from vaccinees and individuals infected with the ancestral D614G virus. In contrast, convalescent donors infected with either Beta or Delta show high plasma neutralization against C.1.2. These functional data suggest that vaccine efficacy against C.1.2 will be equivalent to Beta and Delta, and that prior infection with either Beta or Delta will likely offer protection against C.1.2.


Subject(s)
COVID-19 , SARS-CoV-2 , Antibodies, Neutralizing , Antibodies, Viral , Humans , Neutralization Tests , SARS-CoV-2/genetics , Spike Glycoprotein, Coronavirus/genetics
7.
Nature ; 603(7902): 706-714, 2022 03.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1764186

ABSTRACT

The SARS-CoV-2 Omicron BA.1 variant emerged in 20211 and has multiple mutations in its spike protein2. Here we show that the spike protein of Omicron has a higher affinity for ACE2 compared with Delta, and a marked change in its antigenicity increases Omicron's evasion of therapeutic monoclonal and vaccine-elicited polyclonal neutralizing antibodies after two doses. mRNA vaccination as a third vaccine dose rescues and broadens neutralization. Importantly, the antiviral drugs remdesivir and molnupiravir retain efficacy against Omicron BA.1. Replication was similar for Omicron and Delta virus isolates in human nasal epithelial cultures. However, in lung cells and gut cells, Omicron demonstrated lower replication. Omicron spike protein was less efficiently cleaved compared with Delta. The differences in replication were mapped to the entry efficiency of the virus on the basis of spike-pseudotyped virus assays. The defect in entry of Omicron pseudotyped virus to specific cell types effectively correlated with higher cellular RNA expression of TMPRSS2, and deletion of TMPRSS2 affected Delta entry to a greater extent than Omicron. Furthermore, drug inhibitors targeting specific entry pathways3 demonstrated that the Omicron spike inefficiently uses the cellular protease TMPRSS2, which promotes cell entry through plasma membrane fusion, with greater dependency on cell entry through the endocytic pathway. Consistent with suboptimal S1/S2 cleavage and inability to use TMPRSS2, syncytium formation by the Omicron spike was substantially impaired compared with the Delta spike. The less efficient spike cleavage of Omicron at S1/S2 is associated with a shift in cellular tropism away from TMPRSS2-expressing cells, with implications for altered pathogenesis.


Subject(s)
COVID-19/pathology , COVID-19/virology , Membrane Fusion , SARS-CoV-2/metabolism , SARS-CoV-2/pathogenicity , Serine Endopeptidases/metabolism , Virus Internalization , Adult , Aged , Aged, 80 and over , Angiotensin-Converting Enzyme 2/metabolism , Animals , Antibodies, Neutralizing/immunology , Antibodies, Viral/immunology , COVID-19/immunology , COVID-19 Vaccines/immunology , Cell Line , Cell Membrane/metabolism , Cell Membrane/virology , Chlorocebus aethiops , Convalescence , Female , Humans , Immune Sera/immunology , Intestines/pathology , Intestines/virology , Lung/pathology , Lung/virology , Male , Middle Aged , Mutation , Nasal Mucosa/pathology , Nasal Mucosa/virology , SARS-CoV-2/drug effects , SARS-CoV-2/immunology , Spike Glycoprotein, Coronavirus/genetics , Spike Glycoprotein, Coronavirus/metabolism , Tissue Culture Techniques , Virulence , Virus Replication
8.
Mol Biol Evol ; 39(4)2022 04 11.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1758789

ABSTRACT

Among the 30 nonsynonymous nucleotide substitutions in the Omicron S-gene are 13 that have only rarely been seen in other SARS-CoV-2 sequences. These mutations cluster within three functionally important regions of the S-gene at sites that will likely impact (1) interactions between subunits of the Spike trimer and the predisposition of subunits to shift from down to up configurations, (2) interactions of Spike with ACE2 receptors, and (3) the priming of Spike for membrane fusion. We show here that, based on both the rarity of these 13 mutations in intrapatient sequencing reads and patterns of selection at the codon sites where the mutations occur in SARS-CoV-2 and related sarbecoviruses, prior to the emergence of Omicron the mutations would have been predicted to decrease the fitness of any virus within which they occurred. We further propose that the mutations in each of the three clusters therefore cooperatively interact to both mitigate their individual fitness costs, and, in combination with other mutations, adaptively alter the function of Spike. Given the evident epidemic growth advantages of Omicron overall previously known SARS-CoV-2 lineages, it is crucial to determine both how such complex and highly adaptive mutation constellations were assembled within the Omicron S-gene, and why, despite unprecedented global genomic surveillance efforts, the early stages of this assembly process went completely undetected.


Subject(s)
COVID-19 , Spike Glycoprotein, Coronavirus , COVID-19/genetics , Humans , Mutation , SARS-CoV-2/genetics , Spike Glycoprotein, Coronavirus/genetics
9.
EuropePMC; 2022.
Preprint in English | EuropePMC | ID: ppcovidwho-330150

ABSTRACT

Exposure histories to SARS-CoV-2 variants and vaccinations will shape the specificity of antibody responses. To understand the specificity of Delta-elicited antibody immunity, we characterize the polyclonal antibody response elicited by primary or mRNA vaccine-breakthrough Delta infections. Both types of infection elicit a neutralizing antibody response focused heavily on the receptor-binding domain (RBD). We use deep mutational scanning to show that mutations to the RBD's class 1 and class 2 epitopes, including sites 417, 478, and 484-486 often reduce binding of these Delta-elicited antibodies. The anti-Delta antibody response is more similar to that elicited by early 2020 viruses than the Beta variant, with mutations to the class 1 and 2, but not class 3 epitopes, having the largest effects on polyclonal antibody binding. In addition, mutations to the class 1 epitope (e.g., K417N) tend to have larger effects on antibody binding and neutralization in the Delta spike than in the D614G spike, both for vaccine- and Delta-infection-elicited antibodies. These results help elucidate how the antigenic impacts of SARS-CoV-2 mutations depend on exposure history.

10.
Cell Host Microbe ; 30(2): 154-162.e5, 2022 02 09.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1708092

ABSTRACT

Characterizing SARS-CoV-2 evolution in specific geographies may help predict properties of the variants that come from these regions. We mapped neutralization of a SARS-CoV-2 strain that evolved over 6 months from ancestral virus in a person with advanced HIV disease in South Africa; this person was infected prior to emergence of the Beta and Delta variants. We longitudinally tracked the evolved virus and tested it against self-plasma and convalescent plasma from ancestral, Beta, and Delta infections. Early virus was similar to ancestral, but it evolved a multitude of mutations found in Omicron and other variants. It showed substantial but incomplete Pfizer BNT162b2 escape, weak neutralization by self-plasma, and despite pre-dating Delta, it also showed extensive escape of Delta infection-elicited neutralization. This example is consistent with the notion that SARS-CoV-2 evolving in individual immune-compromised hosts, including those with advanced HIV disease, may gain immune escape of vaccines and enhanced escape of Delta immunity, and this has implications for vaccine breakthrough and reinfections.


Subject(s)
Antibodies, Neutralizing/blood , HIV Infections/pathology , Immune Evasion/immunology , Immunogenicity, Vaccine/immunology , SARS-CoV-2/immunology , Adult , Animals , Antibodies, Neutralizing/immunology , Antibodies, Viral/blood , Antibodies, Viral/immunology , COVID-19/immunology , COVID-19 Vaccines/immunology , Cell Line , Chlorocebus aethiops , Female , HIV-1/immunology , Humans , Immunocompromised Host/immunology , Neutralization Tests , SARS-CoV-2/isolation & purification , South Africa , Vaccination , Vero Cells
11.
Clin Infect Dis ; 2021 Sep 02.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1700901

ABSTRACT

BACKGROUND: There is limited understanding of SARS-CoV-2 pathogenesis in African populations with a high burden of infectious disease comorbidities such as HIV. The kinetics, magnitude and duration of virus-specific antibodies and the underlying B cell responses in people living with HIV (PLWH) in sub-Saharan Africa have not been fully characterized. METHODS: We longitudinally followed SARS-CoV-2 infected individuals in Durban, KwaZulu-Natal, South Africa and characterized SARS-CoV-2 receptor binding domain-specific IgM, IgG and IgA antibodies weekly for a month, and then at 3 months post diagnosis. 7/30 (41.7%) were PLWH, 83% (25/30) of which were on ART and with full HIV suppression. Potency of convalescent plasma neutralization was determined using a live virus neutralization assay and antibody secreting cell population frequencies were determined by flow cytometry. RESULTS: Similar seroconversion rates, time to peak antibody titer, peak magnitude and durability of anti-SARS-CoV-2 IgM, IgG, IgA, were observed in HIV uninfected and PLWH with complete HIV suppression on ART. In addition, similar neutralization potency against an isolate of SARS-CoV-2, circulating at the time of sampling in the first wave of SARS-CoV-2 infections in South Africa was observed in both groups. Loss of IgA was significantly associated with age (p=0.023) and a previous diagnosis of TB (p=0.018). CONCLUSIONS: Similar antibody response kinetics and neutralization potency in HIV negative and PLWH on stable ART in an African setting suggests that COVID-19 natural infections may confer comparable antibody immunity in these groups. This provides hope that COVID-19 vaccines will be effective in PLWH on stable ART.

12.
EuropePMC; 2021.
Preprint in English | EuropePMC | ID: ppcovidwho-321741

ABSTRACT

Both natural infection with SARS-CoV-2 and immunization with vaccines induce protective immunity. However, the extent to which such immune responses protect against emerging variants is of increasing importance. Such variants of concern (VOC) include isolates of lineage B.1.1.7, first identified in the UK, and B.1.351, first identified in South Africa. Our data confirm that VOC, particularly those with substitutions at residues 484 and 417, escape neutralization by antibodies directed to the ACE2-binding Class 1 and the adjacent Class 2 epitopes but are susceptible to neutralization by the generally less potent antibodies directed to Class 3 and 4 epitopes on the flanks of the receptor-binding domain. To address the potential threat posed by VOC, we sampled a SARS-CoV-2 uninfected UK cohort recently vaccinated with BNT162b2 (Pfizer-BioNTech, two doses delivered 18-28 days apart), alongside a cohort sampled in the early convalescent stages after natural infection in the first wave of the pandemic in Spring 2020. We tested antibody and T cell responses against a reference isolate of the original circulating lineage, B, and the impact of sequence variation in the B.1.1.7 and B.1.351 VOC. Neutralization of the VOC compared to B isolate was reduced, and this was most evident for the B.1.351 isolate. This reduction in antibody neutralization was less marked in post-boost vaccine-induced responses compared to naturally induced immune responses and could be largely explained by the potency of the homotypic antibody response. After a single vaccination, which induced only modestly neutralizing homotypic antibody titres, neutralization against the VOC was completely abrogated in the majority of vaccinees. Importantly, high magnitude T cell responses were generated after two vaccine doses, with the majority of the T cell response directed against epitopes that are conserved between the prototype isolate B and the VOC. These data indicate that VOC may evade protective neutralizing responses induced by prior infection, and to a lesser extent by immunization, particularly after a single vaccine dose, but the impact of the VOC on T cell responses appears less marked. The results emphasize the need to generate high potency immune responses through vaccination in order to provide protection against these and other emergent variants.

13.
PLoS Pathog ; 18(2): e1010248, 2022 02.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1674026

ABSTRACT

Many SARS-CoV-2 variants have mutations at key sites targeted by antibodies. However, it is unknown if antibodies elicited by infection with these variants target the same or different regions of the viral spike as antibodies elicited by earlier viral isolates. Here we compare the specificities of polyclonal antibodies produced by humans infected with early 2020 isolates versus the B.1.351 variant of concern (also known as Beta or 20H/501Y.V2), which contains mutations in multiple key spike epitopes. The serum neutralizing activity of antibodies elicited by infection with both early 2020 viruses and B.1.351 is heavily focused on the spike receptor-binding domain (RBD). However, within the RBD, B.1.351-elicited antibodies are more focused on the "class 3" epitope spanning sites 443 to 452, and neutralization by these antibodies is notably less affected by mutations at residue 484. Our results show that SARS-CoV-2 variants can elicit polyclonal antibodies with different immunodominance hierarchies.


Subject(s)
Antibodies, Viral/immunology , Antibody Formation/immunology , COVID-19/immunology , SARS-CoV-2/immunology , Antibodies, Monoclonal/immunology , Antibodies, Monoclonal/pharmacology , Antibodies, Neutralizing/immunology , COVID-19/drug therapy , Epitopes/immunology , Humans , Immunization, Passive/methods , Neutralization Tests , SARS-CoV-2/genetics , SARS-CoV-2/pathogenicity , Spike Glycoprotein, Coronavirus/immunology , Spike Glycoprotein, Coronavirus/metabolism
14.
Nature ; 603(7901): 488-492, 2022 03.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1661968

ABSTRACT

The SARS-CoV-2 Omicron variant (B.1.1.529) has multiple spike protein mutations1,2 that contribute to viral escape from antibody neutralization3-6 and reduce vaccine protection from infection7,8. The extent to which other components of the adaptive response such as T cells may still target Omicron and contribute to protection from severe outcomes is unknown. Here we assessed the ability of T cells to react to Omicron spike protein in participants who were vaccinated with Ad26.CoV2.S or BNT162b2, or unvaccinated convalescent COVID-19 patients (n = 70). Between 70% and 80% of the CD4+ and CD8+ T cell response to spike was maintained across study groups. Moreover, the magnitude of Omicron cross-reactive T cells was similar for Beta (B.1.351) and Delta (B.1.617.2) variants, despite Omicron harbouring considerably more mutations. In patients who were hospitalized with Omicron infections (n = 19), there were comparable T cell responses to ancestral spike, nucleocapsid and membrane proteins to those in patients hospitalized in previous waves dominated by the ancestral, Beta or Delta variants (n = 49). Thus, despite extensive mutations and reduced susceptibility to neutralizing antibodies of Omicron, the majority of T cell responses induced by vaccination or infection cross-recognize the variant. It remains to be determined whether well-preserved T cell immunity to Omicron contributes to protection from severe COVID-19 and is linked to early clinical observations from South Africa and elsewhere9-12.


Subject(s)
COVID-19/immunology , COVID-19/virology , Cross Reactions/immunology , Immunity, Cellular , SARS-CoV-2/immunology , Spike Glycoprotein, Coronavirus/immunology , T-Lymphocytes/immunology , Adult , Aged , COVID-19 Vaccines/immunology , Convalescence , Hospitalization , Humans , Middle Aged , SARS-CoV-2/chemistry , SARS-CoV-2/classification
15.
Nat Rev Immunol ; 22(2): 69-71, 2022 02.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1629078
17.
Nature ; 602(7898): 654-656, 2022 02.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1616992

ABSTRACT

The emergence of the SARS-CoV-2 variant of concern Omicron (Pango lineage B.1.1.529), first identified in Botswana and South Africa, may compromise vaccine effectiveness and lead to re-infections1. Here we investigated Omicron escape from neutralization by antibodies from South African individuals vaccinated with Pfizer BNT162b2. We used blood samples taken soon after vaccination from individuals who were vaccinated and previously infected with SARS-CoV-2 or vaccinated with no evidence of previous infection. We isolated and sequence-confirmed live Omicron virus from an infected person and observed that Omicron requires the angiotensin-converting enzyme 2 (ACE2) receptor to infect cells. We compared plasma neutralization of Omicron relative to an ancestral SARS-CoV-2 strain and found that neutralization of ancestral virus was much higher in infected and vaccinated individuals compared with the vaccinated-only participants. However, both groups showed a 22-fold reduction in vaccine-elicited neutralization by the Omicron variant. Participants who were vaccinated and had previously been infected exhibited residual neutralization of Omicron similar to the level of neutralization of the ancestral virus observed in the vaccination-only group. These data support the notion that reasonable protection against Omicron may be maintained using vaccination approaches.


Subject(s)
Antibodies, Neutralizing/immunology , Antibodies, Viral/immunology , Immune Evasion/immunology , Neutralization Tests , SARS-CoV-2/immunology , Angiotensin-Converting Enzyme 2/metabolism , Animals , Cell Line , Chlorocebus aethiops , Humans , Mutation , SARS-CoV-2/classification , SARS-CoV-2/genetics , Spike Glycoprotein, Coronavirus/genetics , Spike Glycoprotein, Coronavirus/immunology , Spike Glycoprotein, Coronavirus/metabolism
18.
Clin Infect Dis ; 2021 Dec 10.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1566004

ABSTRACT

BACKGROUND: People living with HIV (PLWH) have been reported to have a higher risk of more severe Covid-19 disease and death. We assessed the ability of the Ad26.CoV2.S vaccine to elicit neutralizing activity against the Delta variant in PLWH relative to HIV-negative individuals. We also examined effects of HIV status and suppression on Delta neutralization response in SARS-CoV-2 infected unvaccinated participants. METHODS: We enrolled participants who vaccinated through the SISONKE South African clinical trial of the Ad26.CoV2.S vaccine in health care workers (HCW). PLWH in this group had well controlled HIV infection. We also enrolled unvaccinated participants previously infected with SARS-CoV-2. Neutralization capacity was assessed by a live virus neutralization assay of the Delta variant. RESULTS: Majority of Ad26.CoV2.S vaccinated HCW were previously infected with SARS-CoV-2. In this group, Delta variant neutralization was 9-fold higher compared to the infected only group and 26-fold higher relative to the vaccinated only group. No decrease in Delta variant neutralization was observed in PLWH relative to HIV-negative participants. In contrast, SARS-CoV-2 infected, unvaccinated PLWH showed 7-fold lower neutralization and a higher frequency of non-responders, with the highest frequency of non-responders in people with HIV viremia. Vaccinated only participants showed low neutralization capacity. CONCLUSIONS: The neutralization response of the Delta variant following Ad26.CoV2.S vaccination in PLWH with well controlled HIV was not inferior to HIV-negative participants, irrespective of past SARS-CoV-2 infection. In SARS-CoV-2 infected and non-vaccinated participants, HIV infection reduced the neutralization response to SARS-CoV-2, with the strongest reduction in HIV viremic individuals.

19.
2021.
Preprint in English | Other preprints | ID: ppcovidwho-295924

ABSTRACT

Global genomic surveillance of SARS-CoV-2 has identified variants associated with increased transmissibility, neutralization resistance and disease severity. Here we report the emergence of the PANGO lineage C.1.2, detected at low prevalence in South Africa and eleven other countries. The emergence of C.1.2, associated with a high substitution rate, includes changes within the spike protein that have been associated with increased transmissibility or reduced neutralization sensitivity in SARS-CoV-2 VOC/VOIs. Like Beta and Delta, C.1.2 shows significantly reduced neutralization sensitivity to plasma from vaccinees and individuals infected with the ancestral D614G virus. In contrast, convalescent donors infected with either Beta or Delta showed high plasma neutralization against C.1.2. These functional data suggest that vaccine efficacy against C.1.2 will be equivalent to Beta and Delta, and that prior infection with either Beta or Delta will likely offer protection against C.1.2.

20.
EuropePMC; 2021.
Preprint in English | EuropePMC | ID: ppcovidwho-295139

ABSTRACT

Summary Background People living with HIV (PLWH) have been reported to have an increased risk of more severe COVID-19 disease outcome and an increased risk of death relative to HIV-uninfected individuals. Here we assessed the ability of the Johnson and Johnson Ad26.CoV2.S vaccine to elicit neutralizing antibodies to the Delta variant in PLWH relative to HIV-uninfected individuals. We also compared the neutralization after vaccination to neutralization elicited by SARS-CoV-2 infection only in HIV-uninfected, suppressed HIV PLWH, and PLWH with detectable HIV viremia. Methods We enrolled 26 PLWH and 73 HIV-uninfected participants from the SISONKE phase 3b open label South African clinical trial of the Ad26.CoV2.S vaccine in health care workers (HCW). Enrollment was a median 56 days (range 19-98 days) post-vaccination and PLWH in this group had well controlled HIV infection. We also enrolled unvaccinated participants previously infected with SARS-CoV-2. This group consisted of 34 PLWH and 28 HIV-uninfected individuals. 10 of the 34 (29%) SARS-CoV-2 infected only PLWH had detectable HIV viremia. We used records of a positive SARS-CoV-2 qPCR result, or when a positive result was absent, testing for SARS-CoV-2 nucleocapsid antibodies, to determine which vaccinated participants were SARS-CoV-2 infected prior to vaccination. Neutralization capacity was assessed using participant plasma in a live virus neutralization assay of the Delta SARS-CoV-2 variant currently dominating infections in South Africa. This study was approved by the Biomedical Research Ethics Committee at the University of KwaZulu–Natal (reference BREC/00001275/2020). Findings The majority (68%) of Ad26.CoV2.S vaccinated HCW were found to be previously infected with SARS-CoV-2. In this group, Delta variant neutralization was 9-fold higher compared to the infected only group (GMT=306 versus 36, p<0.0001) and 26-fold higher relative to the vaccinated only group (GMT=12, p<0.0001). No significant difference in Delta variant neutralization capacity was observed in vaccinated and previously SARS-CoV-2 infected PLWH relative to vaccinated and previously SARS-CoV-2 infected, HIV-uninfected participants (GMT=307 for HIV-uninfected, 300 for PLWH, p=0.95). SARS-CoV-2 infected, unvaccinated PLWH showed 7-fold reduced neutralization of the Delta variant relative to HIV-uninfected participants (GMT=105 for HIV-uninfected, 15 for PLWH, p=0.001). There was a higher frequency of non-responders in PLWH relative to HIV-uninfected participants in the SARS-CoV-2 infected unvaccinated group (27% versus 0%, p=0.0029) and 60% of HIV viremic versus 13% of HIV suppressed PLWH were non-responders (p=0.0088). In contrast, the frequency of non-responders was low in the vaccinated/infected group, and similar between HIV-uninfected and PLWH. Vaccinated only participants showed a low neutralization of the Delta variant, with a stronger response in PLWH (GMT=6 for HIV-uninfected, 73 for PLWH, p=0.02). Interpretation The neutralization response of the Delta variant following Ad26.CoV2.S vaccination in PLWH with well controlled HIV was not inferior to HIV-uninfected study participants. In SARS-CoV-2 infected and non-vaccinated participants, the presence of HIV infection reduced the neutralization response to SARS-CoV-2 infection, and this effect was strongest in PLWH with detectable HIV viremia Funding South African Medical Research Council, The Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation.

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