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1.
Cell reports ; 2022.
Article in English | EuropePMC | ID: covidwho-1728589

ABSTRACT

Zhang et al. show in vitro cross-species infectivity and neutralization-escape characteristics of 153 SARS-CoV-2 RBD mutants and 11 globally circulating VOC/VOI variants. They reveal an association between enhanced cross-species infection potential and the current cumulative prevalence of mutations, which can inform surveillance and forecasting of SARS-CoV-2 spike mutations.

2.
EuropePMC;
Preprint in English | EuropePMC | ID: ppcovidwho-327136

ABSTRACT

The widespread SARS-CoV-2 in humans results in the continuous emergence of new variants. Recently emerged Omicron variant with multiple spike mutations sharply increases the risk of breakthrough infection or reinfection, highlighting the urgent need for new vaccines with broad-spectrum antigenic coverage. Using inter-lineage chimera and mutation patch strategies, we engineered a recombinant monomeric spike variant (STFK1628x), which showed high immunogenicity and mutually complementary antigenicity to its prototypic form (STFK). In hamsters, a bivalent vaccine comprised of STFK and STFK1628x elicited high titers of broad-spectrum antibodies to neutralize all 14 circulating SARS-CoV-2 variants, including Omicron;and fully protected vaccinees from intranasal SARS-CoV-2 challenges of either the ancestral strain or immune-evasive Beta variant. Strikingly, the vaccination of hamsters with the bivalent vaccine completely blocked the within-cage virus transmission to unvaccinated sentinels, for either the ancestral SARS-CoV-2 or Beta variant. Thus, our study provides new insights and antigen candidates for developing next-generation COVID-19 vaccines.

3.
Preprint in English | bioRxiv | ID: ppbiorxiv-477789

ABSTRACT

The widespread SARS-CoV-2 in humans results in the continuous emergence of new variants. Recently emerged Omicron variant with multiple spike mutations sharply increases the risk of breakthrough infection or reinfection, highlighting the urgent need for new vaccines with broad-spectrum antigenic coverage. Using inter-lineage chimera and mutation patch strategies, we engineered a recombinant monomeric spike variant (STFK1628x), which showed high immunogenicity and mutually complementary antigenicity to its prototypic form (STFK). In hamsters, a bivalent vaccine comprised of STFK and STFK1628x elicited high titers of broad-spectrum antibodies to neutralize all 14 circulating SARS-CoV-2 variants, including Omicron; and fully protected vaccinees from intranasal SARS-CoV-2 challenges of either the ancestral strain or immune-evasive Beta variant. Strikingly, the vaccination of hamsters with the bivalent vaccine completely blocked the within-cage virus transmission to unvaccinated sentinels, for either the ancestral SARS-CoV-2 or Beta variant. Thus, our study provides new insights and antigen candidates for developing next-generation COVID-19 vaccines.

4.
EuropePMC; 2021.
Preprint in English | EuropePMC | ID: ppcovidwho-292884

ABSTRACT

Remarkable progress has been made in developing intramuscular vaccines against severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2);however, they are limited with respect to eliciting local immunity in the respiratory tract, which is the primary infection site for SARS-CoV-2. To overcome the limitations of intramuscular vaccines, we constructed a nasal vaccine candidate based on an influenza vector by inserting a gene encoding the receptor-binding domain (RBD) of the spike protein of SARS-CoV-2, named CA4-dNS1-nCoV-RBD (dNS1-RBD). A preclinical study showed that in hamsters challenged 1 day and 7 days after single-dose vaccination or 6 months after booster vaccination, dNS1-RBD largely mitigated lung pathology, with no loss of body weight, caused by either the prototype-like strain or beta variant of SARS-CoV-2. Lasted data showed that the animals could be well protected against beta variant challenge 9 months after vaccination. Notably, the weight loss and lung pathological changes of hamsters could still be significantly reduced when the hamster was vaccinated 24 h after challenge. Moreover, such cellular immunity is relatively unimpaired for the most concerning SARS-CoV-2 variants. The protective immune mechanism of dNS1-RBD could be attributed to the innate immune response in the nasal epithelium, local RBD-specific T cell response in the lung, and RBD-specific IgA and IgG response. Thus, this study demonstrates that the intranasally delivered dNS1-RBD vaccine candidate may offer an important addition to fight against the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, compensating limitations of current intramuscular vaccines, particularly at the start of an outbreak.

5.
Preprint in English | bioRxiv | ID: ppbiorxiv-468472

ABSTRACT

Remarkable progress has been made in developing intramuscular vaccines against severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2); however, they are limited with respect to eliciting local immunity in the respiratory tract, which is the primary infection site for SARS-CoV-2. To overcome the limitations of intramuscular vaccines, we constructed a nasal vaccine candidate based on an influenza vector by inserting a gene encoding the receptor-binding domain (RBD) of the spike protein of SARS-CoV-2, named CA4-dNS1-nCoV-RBD (dNS1-RBD). A preclinical study showed that in hamsters challenged 1 day and 7 days after single-dose vaccination or 6 months after booster vaccination, dNS1-RBD largely mitigated lung pathology, with no loss of body weight, caused by either the prototype-like strain or beta variant of SARS-CoV-2. Lasted data showed that the animals could be well protected against beta variant challenge 9 months after vaccination. Notably, the weight loss and lung pathological changes of hamsters could still be significantly reduced when the hamster was vaccinated 24 h after challenge. Moreover, such cellular immunity is relatively unimpaired for the most concerning SARS-CoV-2 variants. The protective immune mechanism of dNS1-RBD could be attributed to the innate immune response in the nasal epithelium, local RBD-specific T cell response in the lung, and RBD-specific IgA and IgG response. Thus, this study demonstrates that the intranasally delivered dNS1-RBD vaccine candidate may offer an important addition to fight against the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, compensating limitations of current intramuscular vaccines, particularly at the start of an outbreak.

7.
Preprint in English | bioRxiv | ID: ppbiorxiv-458475

ABSTRACT

The COVID-19 pandemic is a global health disaster. Moreover, emerging mutated virus strains present an even greater challenge for existing vaccines and medications. One possible solution is to design drugs based on the properties of virus epigenome, which are more common among coronaviruses. Here, we reported an FDA-approved drug for myelodysplastic syndrome, azacytidine (5Aza), limited virus infection and protected mice against SARS-CoV-2. We demonstrated that this antiviral effect is related to 5Aza incorporation into viral RNA, which disrupt m5C RNA methylation modification profile. This work suggests that targeting viral epigenomes is a viable therapeutic strategy, potentially opening new pathways for treating COVID-19.

8.
Preprint in English | bioRxiv | ID: ppbiorxiv-439161

ABSTRACT

Although vaccines have been successfully developed and approved against SARS-CoV-2, it is still valuable to perform studies on conserved antigenic sites for preventing possible pandemic-risk of other SARS-like coronavirus in the future and prevalent SARS-CoV-2 variants. By antibodies obtained from convalescent COVID-19 individuals, receptor binding domain (RBD) were identified as immunodominant neutralizing domain that efficiently elicits neutralizing antibody response with on-going affinity mature. Moreover, we succeeded to define a quantitative antigenic map of neutralizing sites within SARS-CoV-2 RBD, and found that sites S2, S3 and S4 (new-found site) are conserved sites and determined as subimmunodominant sites, putatively due to their less accessibility than SARS-CoV-2 unique sites. P10-6G3, P07-4D10 and P05-6H7, respectively targeting S2, S3 and S4, are relatively rare antibodies that also potently neutralizes SARS-CoV, and the last mAbs performing neutralization without blocking S protein binding to receptor. Further, we have tried to design some RBDs to improve the immunogenicity of conserved sites. Our studies, focusing on conserved antigenic sites of SARS-CoV-2 and SARS-CoV, provide insights for promoting development of universal SARS-like coronavirus vaccines therefore enhancing our pandemic preparedness.

9.
Preprint in English | bioRxiv | ID: ppbiorxiv-423552

ABSTRACT

A safe and effective SARS-CoV-2 vaccine is essential to avert the on-going COVID-19 pandemic. Here, we developed a subunit vaccine, which is comprised of CHO-expressed spike ectodomain protein (StriFK) and nitrogen bisphosphonates-modified zinc-aluminum hybrid adjuvant (FH002C). This vaccine candidate rapidly elicited the robust humoral response, Th1/Th2 balanced helper CD4 T cell and CD8 T cell immune response in animal models. In mice, hamsters, and non-human primates, 2-shot and 3-shot immunization of StriFK-FH002C generated 28- to 38-fold and 47- to 269-fold higher neutralizing antibody titers than the human COVID-19 convalescent plasmas, respectively. More importantly, the StriFK-FH002C immunization conferred sterilizing immunity to prevent SARS-CoV-2 infection and transmission, which also protected animals from virus-induced weight loss, COVID-19-like symptoms, and pneumonia in hamsters. Vaccine-induced neutralizing and cell-based receptor-blocking antibody titers correlated well with protective efficacy in hamsters, suggesting vaccine-elicited protection is immune-associated. The StriFK-FH002C provided a promising SARS-CoV-2 vaccine candidate for further clinical evaluation.

10.
Preprint in English | bioRxiv | ID: ppbiorxiv-215236

ABSTRACT

The ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, caused by SARS-CoV-2 infection, has resulted in hundreds of thousands of deaths. Cellular entry of SARS-CoV-2, which is mediated by the viral spike protein and host ACE2 receptor, is an essential target for the development of vaccines, therapeutic antibodies, and drugs. Using a mammalian cell expression system, we generated a recombinant fluorescent protein (Gamillus)-fused SARS-CoV-2 spike trimer (STG) to probe the viral entry process. In ACE2-expressing cells, we found that the STG probe has excellent performance in the live-cell visualization of receptor binding, cellular uptake, and intracellular trafficking of SARS-CoV-2 under virus-free conditions. The new system allows quantitative analyses of the inhibition potentials and detailed influence of COVID-19-convalescent human plasmas, neutralizing antibodies and compounds, providing a versatile tool for high-throughput screening and phenotypic characterization of SARS-CoV-2 entry inhibitors. This approach may also be adapted to develop a viral entry visualization system for other viruses.

11.
Preprint in English | bioRxiv | ID: ppbiorxiv-026948

ABSTRACT

The global pandemic of Coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) is a disaster for human society. A convenient and reliable in vitro neutralization assay is very important for the development of neutralizing antibodies, vaccines and other inhibitors. In this study, G protein-deficient vesicular stomatitis virus (VSVdG) bearing full-length and truncated spike (S) protein of SARS-CoV-2 were evaluated. The virus packaging efficiency of VSV-SARS-CoV-2-Sdel18 (S with C-terminal 18 amino acid truncation) is much higher than VSV-SARS-CoV-2-S. A neutralization assay for antibody screening and serum neutralizing titer quantification was established based on VSV-SARS-CoV-2-Sdel18 pseudovirus and human angiotensin-converting enzyme 2 (ACE2) overexpressed BHK21 cell (BHK21-hACE2). The experimental results can be obtained by automatically counting EGFP positive cell number at 12 hours after infection, making the assay convenient and high-throughput. The serum neutralizing titer of COVID-19 convalescent patients measured by VSV-SARS-CoV-2-Sdel18 pseudovirus assay has a good correlation with live SARS-CoV-2 assay. Seven neutralizing monoclonal antibodies targeting receptor binding domain (RBD) of SARS-CoV-2-S were obtained. This efficient and reliable pseudovirus assay model could facilitate the development of new drugs and vaccines.

12.
Preprint in English | medRxiv | ID: ppmedrxiv-20030189

ABSTRACT

BackgroundThe novel coronavirus SARS-CoV-2 is a newly emerging virus. The antibody response in infected patient remains largely unknown, and the clinical values of antibody testing have not been fully demonstrated. MethodsA total of 173 patients with confirmed SARS-CoV-2 infection were enrolled. Their serial plasma samples (n = 535) collected during the hospitalization period were tested for total antibodies (Ab), IgM and IgG against SARS-CoV-2 using immunoassays. The dynamics of antibodies with the progress and severity of disease was analyzed. ResultsAmong 173 patients, the seroconversion rate for Ab, IgM and IgG was 93.1% (161/173), 82.7% (143/173) and 64.7% (112/173), respectively. Twelve patients who had not seroconverted were those only blood samples at the early stage of illness were collected. The seroconversion sequentially appeared for Ab, IgM and then IgG, with a median time of 11, 12 and 14 days, respectively. The presence of antibodies was < 40% among patients in the first 7 days of illness, and then rapidly increased to 100.0%, 94.3% and 79.8% for Ab, IgM and IgG respectively since day 15 after onset. In contrast, the positive rate of RNA decreased from 66.7% (58/87) in samples collected before day 7 to 45.5% (25/55) during days 15 to 39. Combining RNA and antibody detections significantly improved the sensitivity of pathogenic diagnosis for COVID-19 patients (p < 0.001), even in early phase of 1-week since onset (p = 0.007). Moreover, a higher titer of Ab was independently associated with a worse clinical classification (p = 0.006). ConclusionsThe antibody detection offers vital clinical information during the course of SARS-CoV-2 infection. The findings provide strong empirical support for the routine application of serological testing in the diagnosis and management of COVID-19 patients.

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