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ACS Infect Dis ; 8(10): 2119-2132, 2022 Oct 14.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-2036751


The engineering of virus-like particles (VLPs) is a viable strategy for the development of vaccines and for the identification of therapeutic targets without using live viruses. Here, we report the generation and characterization of quadruple-antigen SARS-CoV-2 VLPs. VLPs were generated by transient transfection of two expression cassettes in adherent HEK293T cells─one cassette containing Mpro for processing of three structural proteins (M, E, and N), and the second cassette expressing the Spike protein. Further characterization revealed that the VLPs retain close morphological and antigenic similarity with the native virus and also bind strongly to the SARS-CoV-2 receptor hACE-2 in an in vitro binding assay. Interestingly, the VLPs were found to internalize into U87-MG cells through cholesterol-rich domains in a dynamin-dependent process. Finally, our results showed that mice immunized with VLPs induce robust humoral and cellular immune responses mediated by enhanced levels of IL-4, IL-17, and IFNγ. Taken together, our results demonstrate that VLPs mimic the native virus and induce a strong immune response, indicating the possible use of these particles as an alternative vaccine candidate against SARS-CoV-2. VLPs can also be effective in mapping the initial stages of virus entry and screening inhibitors.

COVID-19 , SARS-CoV-2 , Animals , COVID-19/prevention & control , HEK293 Cells , Humans , Interleukin-17 , Interleukin-4 , Mice , Spike Glycoprotein, Coronavirus/genetics , Virus Internalization
Nat Commun ; 13(1): 3451, 2022 06 15.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1890185


Many adults in India have received at least one dose of COVID-19 vaccine with or without a prior history SARS-CoV-2 infection. However, there is limited information on the effect of prior immunity on antibody response upon vaccination in India. As immunization of individuals continues, we aimed to assess whether pre-existing antibodies are further boosted by a single dose of BBV152, an inactivated SARS-CoV-2 vaccine, and, if these antibodies can neutralize SARS-CoV-2 Delta and Omicron variants. Here we show that natural infection during the second wave in 2021 led to generation of neutralizing antibodies against other lineages of SARS-CoV-2 including the Omicron variant, albeit at a significantly lower level for the latter. A single dose of BBV152 boosted antibody titers against the Delta and the Omicron variants but the antibody levels remained low against the Omicron variant. Boosting of antibodies showed negative correlation with baseline neutralizing antibody titers.

COVID-19 , Viral Vaccines , Antibodies, Neutralizing , Antibodies, Viral , COVID-19/prevention & control , COVID-19 Vaccines , Humans , SARS-CoV-2 , Vaccination