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1.
EuropePMC; 2022.
Preprint in English | EuropePMC | ID: ppcovidwho-335816

ABSTRACT

ABSTRACT Throughout the COVID-19 pandemic, many prophylactic and therapeutic drugs have been evaluated and introduced. Among these treatments, monoclonal antibodies (mAbs) that bind to and neutralize SARS-CoV-2 virus have been applied as complementary and alternative treatments to vaccines. Although different methodologies have been utilized to produce mAbs, traditional hybridoma fusion technology is still commonly used for this purpose due to its unmatched performance record. In this study, we coupled the hybridoma fusion strategy with mRNA-lipid nanoparticle (LNP) immunization. This time-saving approach can circumvent biological and technical hurdles, such as difficult to express membrane proteins, antigen instability, and the lack of posttranslational modifications on recombinant antigens. We used mRNA-LNP immunization and hybridoma fusion technology to generate mAbs against the receptor binding domain (RBD) of SARS-CoV-2 spike (S) protein. Compared with traditional protein-based immunization approaches, inoculation of mice with RBD mRNA-LNP induced higher titers of serum antibodies. In addition, the mAbs we obtained can bind to SARS-CoV-2 RBDs from several variants. Notably, RBD-mAb-3 displayed particularly high binding affinities and neutralizing potencies against both Alpha and Delta variants. In addition to introducing specific mAbs against SARS-CoV-2, our data generally demonstrate that mRNA-LNP immunization may be useful to quickly generate highly functional mAbs against emerging infectious diseases.

2.
EuropePMC;
Preprint in English | EuropePMC | ID: ppcovidwho-327285

ABSTRACT

The emerging SARS-CoV-2 variants of concern (VOC) harbor mutations associated with increasing transmission and immune escape, hence undermine the effectiveness of current COVID-19 vaccines. In late November of 2021, the Omicron (B.1.1.529) variant was identified in South Africa and rapidly spread across the globe. It was shown to exhibit significant resistance to neutralization by serum not only from convalescent patients, but also from individuals recieving currently used COVID-19 vaccines with multiple booster shots. Therefore, there is an urgent need to develop next generation vaccines against VOCs like Omicron. In this study, we develop a panel of mRNA-LNP-based vaccines using the receptor binding domain (RBD) of Omicron and Delta variants, which are dominant in the current wave of COVID-19. In addition to the Omicron- and Delta-specific vaccines, the panel also includes a Hybrid vaccine that uses the RBD containing all 16 point-mutations shown in Omicron and Delta RBD, as well as a bivalent vaccine composed of both Omicron and Delta RBD-LNP in half dose. Interestingly, both Omicron-specific and Hybrid RBD-LNP elicited extremely high titer of neutralizing antibody against Omicron itself, but few to none neutralizing antibody against other SARS-CoV-2 variants. The bivalent RBD-LNP, on the other hand, generated antibody with broadly neutralizing activity against the wild-type virus and all variants. Surprisingly, similar cross-protection was also shown by the Delta-specifc RBD-LNP. Taken together, our data demonstrated that Omicron-specific mRNA vaccine can induce potent neutralizing antibody response against Omicron, but the inclusion of epitopes from other variants may be required for eliciting cross-protection. This study would lay a foundation for rational development of the next generation vaccines against SARS-CoV-2 VOCs.

3.
EBioMedicine ; 74: 103712, 2021 Dec.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1536515

ABSTRACT

BACKGROUND: Despite clinical success with anti-spike vaccines, the effectiveness of neutralizing antibodies and vaccines has been compromised by rapidly spreading SARS-CoV-2 variants. Viruses can hijack the glycosylation machinery of host cells to shield themselves from the host's immune response and attenuate antibody efficiency. However, it remains unclear if targeting glycosylation on viral spike protein can impair infectivity of SARS-CoV-2 and its variants. METHODS: We adopted flow cytometry, ELISA, and BioLayer interferometry approaches to assess binding of glycosylated or deglycosylated spike with ACE2. Viral entry was determined by luciferase, immunoblotting, and immunofluorescence assays. Genome-wide association study (GWAS) revealed a significant relationship between STT3A and COVID-19 severity. NF-κB/STT3A-regulated N-glycosylation was investigated by gene knockdown, chromatin immunoprecipitation, and promoter assay. We developed an antibody-drug conjugate (ADC) that couples non-neutralization anti-spike antibody with NGI-1 (4G10-ADC) to specifically target SARS-CoV-2-infected cells. FINDINGS: The receptor binding domain and three distinct SARS-CoV-2 surface N-glycosylation sites among 57,311 spike proteins retrieved from the NCBI-Virus-database are highly evolutionarily conserved (99.67%) and are involved in ACE2 interaction. STT3A is a key glycosyltransferase catalyzing spike glycosylation and is positively correlated with COVID-19 severity. We found that inhibiting STT3A using N-linked glycosylation inhibitor-1 (NGI-1) impaired SARS-CoV-2 infectivity and that of its variants [Alpha (B.1.1.7) and Beta (B.1.351)]. Most importantly, 4G10-ADC enters SARS-CoV-2-infected cells and NGI-1 is subsequently released to deglycosylate spike protein, thereby reinforcing the neutralizing abilities of antibodies, vaccines, or convalescent sera and reducing SARS-CoV-2 variant infectivity. INTERPRETATION: Our results indicate that targeting evolutionarily-conserved STT3A-mediated glycosylation via an ADC can exert profound impacts on SARS-CoV-2 variant infectivity. Thus, we have identified a novel deglycosylation method suitable for eradicating SARS-CoV-2 variant infection in vitro. FUNDING: A full list of funding bodies that contributed to this study can be found in the Acknowledgements section.


Subject(s)
Benzamides/pharmacology , COVID-19/drug therapy , Glycosylation/drug effects , Hexosyltransferases/antagonists & inhibitors , Membrane Proteins/antagonists & inhibitors , Sulfonamides/pharmacology , Virus Internalization/drug effects , A549 Cells , Animals , Antibodies, Neutralizing/immunology , Antibodies, Viral/immunology , Cell Line , HEK293 Cells , Hexosyltransferases/metabolism , Humans , Membrane Proteins/metabolism , Mice , Mice, Inbred C57BL , SARS-CoV-2/growth & development , Spike Glycoprotein, Coronavirus/metabolism
4.
J Biomed Sci ; 28(1): 80, 2021 Nov 23.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1533257

ABSTRACT

BACKGROUND: Coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) is caused by severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2), an RNA virus with a high mutation rate. Importantly, several currently circulating SARS-CoV-2 variants are associated with loss of efficacy for both vaccines and neutralizing antibodies. METHODS: We analyzed the binding activity of six highly potent antibodies to the spike proteins of SARS-CoV-2 variants, assessed their neutralizing abilities with pseudovirus and authentic SARS-CoV-2 variants and evaluate efficacy of antibody cocktail in Delta SARS-CoV-2-infected hamster models as prophylactic and post-infection treatments. RESULTS: The tested RBD-chAbs, except RBD-chAb-25, maintained binding ability to spike proteins from SARS-CoV-2 variants. However, only RBD-chAb-45 and -51 retained neutralizing activities; RBD-chAb-1, -15, -25 and -28 exhibited diminished neutralization for all SARS-CoV-2 variants. Notably, several cocktails of our antibodies showed low IC50 values (3.35-27.06 ng/ml) against the SARS-CoV-2 variant pseudoviruses including United Kingdom variant B.1.1.7 (Alpha), South Africa variant B.1.351 (Beta), Brazil variant P1 (Gamma), California variant B.1.429 (Epsilon), New York variant B.1.526 (Iota), and India variants, B.1.617.1 (Kappa) and B.1.617.2 (Delta). RBD-chAb-45, and -51 showed PRNT50 values 4.93-37.54 ng/ml when used as single treatments or in combination with RBD-chAb-15 or -28, according to plaque assays with authentic Alpha, Gamma and Delta SARS-CoV-2 variants. Furthermore, the antibody cocktail of RBD-chAb-15 and -45 exhibited potent prophylactic and therapeutic effects in Delta SARS-CoV-2 variant-infected hamsters. CONCLUSIONS: The cocktail of RBD-chAbs exhibited potent neutralizing activities against SARS-CoV-2 variants. These antibody cocktails are highly promising candidate tools for controlling new SARS-CoV-2 variants, including Delta.


Subject(s)
Antibodies, Neutralizing/immunology , Antibodies, Viral/immunology , COVID-19/immunology , SARS-CoV-2/immunology , Spike Glycoprotein, Coronavirus/immunology , Animals , Antibodies, Neutralizing/therapeutic use , Antibodies, Viral/therapeutic use , COVID-19/drug therapy , COVID-19/genetics , Humans , Rabbits , SARS-CoV-2/genetics , Spike Glycoprotein, Coronavirus/genetics
5.
PLoS Pathog ; 17(10): e1009704, 2021 10.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1484866

ABSTRACT

Development of effective therapeutics for mitigating the COVID-19 pandemic is a pressing global need. Neutralizing antibodies are known to be effective antivirals, as they can be rapidly deployed to prevent disease progression and can accelerate patient recovery without the need for fully developed host immunity. Here, we report the generation and characterization of a series of chimeric antibodies against the receptor-binding domain (RBD) of the severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2) spike protein. Some of these antibodies exhibit exceptionally potent neutralization activities in vitro and in vivo, and the most potent of our antibodies target three distinct non-overlapping epitopes within the RBD. Cryo-electron microscopy analyses of two highly potent antibodies in complex with the SARS-CoV-2 spike protein suggested they may be particularly useful when combined in a cocktail therapy. The efficacy of this antibody cocktail was confirmed in SARS-CoV-2-infected mouse and hamster models as prophylactic and post-infection treatments. With the emergence of more contagious variants of SARS-CoV-2, cocktail antibody therapies hold great promise to control disease and prevent drug resistance.


Subject(s)
Antibodies, Neutralizing/pharmacology , Antibodies, Viral/pharmacology , COVID-19/immunology , COVID-19/prevention & control , SARS-CoV-2/immunology , Spike Glycoprotein, Coronavirus/immunology , Animals , Antibodies, Neutralizing/immunology , Antibodies, Viral/immunology , Cricetinae , Disease Models, Animal , Female , Male , Mice
6.
PLoS Pathog ; 17(8): e1009758, 2021 08.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1352713

ABSTRACT

Since the pandemic of COVID-19 has intensely struck human society, small animal model for this infectious disease is in urgent need for basic and pharmaceutical research. Although several COVID-19 animal models have been identified, many of them show either minimal or inadequate pathophysiology after SARS-CoV-2 challenge. Here, we describe a new and versatile strategy to rapidly establish a mouse model for emerging infectious diseases in one month by multi-route, multi-serotype transduction with recombinant adeno-associated virus (AAV) vectors expressing viral receptor. In this study, the proposed approach enables profound and enduring systemic expression of SARS-CoV-2-receptor hACE2 in wild-type mice and renders them vulnerable to SARS-CoV-2 infection. Upon virus challenge, generated AAV/hACE2 mice showed pathophysiology closely mimicking the patients with severe COVID-19. The efficacy of a novel therapeutic antibody cocktail RBD-chAbs for COVID-19 was tested and confirmed by using this AAV/hACE2 mouse model, further demonstrating its successful application in drug development.


Subject(s)
COVID-19 , Communicable Diseases, Emerging , Disease Models, Animal , 3T3 Cells , Angiotensin-Converting Enzyme 2/genetics , Animals , Antibodies, Viral/immunology , Antibodies, Viral/therapeutic use , COVID-19/immunology , COVID-19/pathology , COVID-19/physiopathology , Chlorocebus aethiops , Dependovirus/genetics , Humans , Mice , Mice, Inbred BALB C , Mice, Inbred C57BL , Transduction, Genetic , Vero Cells
7.
Sci Rep ; 11(1): 8761, 2021 04 22.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1199318

ABSTRACT

The COVID-19 pandemic presents an unprecedented challenge to global public health. Rapid development and deployment of safe and effective vaccines are imperative to control the pandemic. In the current study, we applied our adjuvanted stable prefusion SARS-CoV-2 spike (S-2P)-based vaccine, MVC-COV1901, to hamster models to demonstrate immunogenicity and protection from virus challenge. Golden Syrian hamsters immunized intramuscularly with two injections of 1 µg or 5 µg of S-2P adjuvanted with CpG 1018 and aluminum hydroxide (alum) were challenged intranasally with SARS-CoV-2. Prior to virus challenge, the vaccine induced high levels of neutralizing antibodies with 10,000-fold higher IgG level and an average of 50-fold higher pseudovirus neutralizing titers in either dose groups than vehicle or adjuvant control groups. Six days after infection, vaccinated hamsters did not display any weight loss associated with infection and had significantly reduced lung pathology and most importantly, lung viral load levels were reduced to lower than detection limit compared to unvaccinated animals. Vaccination with either 1 µg or 5 µg of adjuvanted S-2P produced comparable immunogenicity and protection from infection. This study builds upon our previous results to support the clinical development of MVC-COV1901 as a safe, highly immunogenic, and protective COVID-19 vaccine.


Subject(s)
Adjuvants, Immunologic/administration & dosage , Aluminum Hydroxide/administration & dosage , COVID-19/prevention & control , Oligodeoxyribonucleotides/administration & dosage , Spike Glycoprotein, Coronavirus/immunology , Aluminum Hydroxide/immunology , Animals , Antibodies, Neutralizing/metabolism , COVID-19/immunology , COVID-19 Vaccines/administration & dosage , COVID-19 Vaccines/immunology , Cell Line , Cricetinae , Female , Humans , Immunization , Injections, Intramuscular , Oligodeoxyribonucleotides/immunology , SARS-CoV-2/immunology , SARS-CoV-2/physiology , Viral Load/drug effects
8.
Cell Rep ; 33(2): 108254, 2020 10 13.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-812312

ABSTRACT

Development of specific antiviral agents is an urgent unmet need for SARS-coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2) infection. This study focuses on host proteases that proteolytically activate the SARS-CoV-2 spike protein, critical for its fusion after binding to angiotensin-converting enzyme 2 (ACE2), as antiviral targets. We first validate cleavage at a putative furin substrate motif at SARS-CoV-2 spikes by expressing it in VeroE6 cells and find prominent syncytium formation. Cleavage and the syncytium are abolished by treatment with the furin inhibitors decanoyl-RVKR-chloromethylketone (CMK) and naphthofluorescein, but not by the transmembrane protease serine 2 (TMPRSS2) inhibitor camostat. CMK and naphthofluorescein show antiviral effects on SARS-CoV-2-infected cells by decreasing virus production and cytopathic effects. Further analysis reveals that, similar to camostat, CMK blocks virus entry, but it further suppresses cleavage of spikes and the syncytium. Naphthofluorescein acts primarily by suppressing viral RNA transcription. Therefore, furin inhibitors may be promising antiviral agents for prevention and treatment of SARS-CoV-2 infection.


Subject(s)
Amino Acid Chloromethyl Ketones/pharmacology , Antiviral Agents/pharmacology , Fluoresceins/pharmacology , Furin/antagonists & inhibitors , Protease Inhibitors/pharmacology , Spike Glycoprotein, Coronavirus/metabolism , Virus Replication , Animals , Betacoronavirus/drug effects , Betacoronavirus/metabolism , Betacoronavirus/physiology , Chlorocebus aethiops , Humans , Proteolysis , SARS-CoV-2 , Vero Cells
10.
Hum Vaccin Immunother ; 17(3): 654-655, 2021 03 04.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-801647

ABSTRACT

A safe and effective vaccine candidate is urgently needed for the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, caused by SARS-CoV-2. Here we report that recombinant SARS-CoV-2 RBD protein immunization in mice is able to elicit a strong antibody response and potent neutralizing capability as measured using live or pseudotyped SARS-CoV-2 neutralization assays.


Subject(s)
Antibodies, Neutralizing/immunology , Antibodies, Viral/immunology , COVID-19/immunology , Protein Binding/immunology , Protein Domains/immunology , SARS-CoV-2/immunology , Animals , Cell Line , HEK293 Cells , Humans , Mice , Pandemics/prevention & control , Recombinant Proteins/immunology , Spike Glycoprotein, Coronavirus/immunology
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