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1.
EuropePMC; 2022.
Preprint in English | EuropePMC | ID: ppcovidwho-335701

ABSTRACT

Combining optimized spike (S) protein-encoding mRNA vaccines to target multiple SARS-CoV-2 variants could improve COVID-19 control. We compared monovalent and bivalent mRNA vaccines encoding B.1.351 (Beta) and/or B.1.617.2 (Delta) SARS-CoV-2 S-protein, primarily in a transgenic mouse model and a Wistar rat model. The low-dose bivalent mRNA vaccine contained half the mRNA of each respective monovalent vaccine, but induced comparable neutralizing antibody titres, enrichment of lung-resident memory CD8 + T cells, specific CD4 + and CD8 + responses, and fully protected transgenic mice from SARS-CoV-2 lethality. The bivalent mRNA vaccine significantly reduced viral replication in both Beta- and Delta-challenged mice. Sera from bivalent mRNA vaccine immunized Wistar rats also contained neutralizing antibodies against the B.1.1.529 (Omicron BA.1) variant. These data suggest that low-dose and fit-for-purpose multivalent mRNA vaccines encoding distinct S-proteins is a feasible approach for increasing the potency of vaccines against emerging and co-circulating SARS-CoV-2 variants.

2.
EuropePMC; 2022.
Preprint in English | EuropePMC | ID: ppcovidwho-335222

ABSTRACT

Variant of concern (VOC) Omicron-BA1 has achieved global predominance in early 2022. Therefore, surveillance and comprehensive characterization of Omicron-BA.1 in advanced primary cell culture systems and multiple animal models is urgently needed. Here, we characterized Omicron-BA.1 and recombinant Omicron-BA.1 spike gene mutants in comparison with VOC Delta in well-differentiated primary human nasal and bronchial epithelial cells in vitro, followed by in vivo fitness characterization in naïve hamsters, ferrets and hACE2-expressing mice, and in immunized hACE2-mice. We demonstrate a spike-mediated enhancement of early replication of Omicron-BA.1 in nasal epithelial cultures, but limited replication in bronchial epithelial cultures. In Syrian hamsters, Delta showed dominance over Omicron-BA.1 and in ferrets, Omicron-BA.1 infection was abortive. In mice expressing the authentic hACE2-receptor, Delta and a Delta spike clone also showed dominance over Omicron-BA.1 and an Omicron-BA.1 spike clone, respectively. Interestingly, in naïve K18-hACE2 mice, we observed Delta spike-mediated increased replication and pathogenicity and Omicron-BA.1 spike-mediated reduced replication and pathogenicity, suggesting that the spike gene is a major determinant of both Delta and Omicron-BA.1 replication and pathogenicity. Finally, the Omicron-BA.1 spike clone was less well controlled by mRNA-vaccination in K18-hACE2-mice and became more competitive compared to the progenitor and Delta spike clones, suggesting that spike gene-mediated immune evasion is another important factor that led to Omicron-BA.1 dominance.

3.
Nature ; 602(7896): 307-313, 2022 02.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1585832

ABSTRACT

Emerging variants of concern (VOCs) are driving the COVID-19 pandemic1,2. Experimental assessments of replication and transmission of major VOCs and progenitors are needed to understand the mechanisms of replication and transmission of VOCs3. Here we show that the spike protein (S) from Alpha (also known as B.1.1.7) and Beta (B.1.351) VOCs had a greater affinity towards the human angiotensin-converting enzyme 2 (ACE2) receptor than that of the progenitor variant S(D614G) in vitro. Progenitor variant virus expressing S(D614G) (wt-S614G) and the Alpha variant showed similar replication kinetics in human nasal airway epithelial cultures, whereas the Beta variant was outcompeted by both. In vivo, competition experiments showed a clear fitness advantage of Alpha over wt-S614G in ferrets and two mouse models-the substitutions in S were major drivers of the fitness advantage. In hamsters, which support high viral replication levels, Alpha and wt-S614G showed similar fitness. By contrast, Beta was outcompeted by Alpha and wt-S614G in hamsters and in mice expressing human ACE2. Our study highlights the importance of using multiple models to characterize fitness of VOCs and demonstrates that Alpha is adapted for replication in the upper respiratory tract and shows enhanced transmission in vivo in restrictive models, whereas Beta does not overcome Alpha or wt-S614G in naive animals.


Subject(s)
COVID-19/transmission , COVID-19/virology , Mutation , SARS-CoV-2/classification , SARS-CoV-2/physiology , Virus Replication , Amino Acid Substitution , Angiotensin-Converting Enzyme 2/genetics , Angiotensin-Converting Enzyme 2/metabolism , Animals , Animals, Laboratory/virology , COVID-19/veterinary , Cricetinae , Disease Models, Animal , Epithelial Cells/virology , Female , Ferrets/virology , Humans , Male , Mesocricetus/virology , Mice , Mice, Transgenic , SARS-CoV-2/genetics , SARS-CoV-2/growth & development , Spike Glycoprotein, Coronavirus/genetics , Spike Glycoprotein, Coronavirus/metabolism , Virulence/genetics
4.
Nat Commun ; 12(1): 4048, 2021 06 30.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1290662

ABSTRACT

The ongoing SARS-CoV-2 pandemic necessitates the fast development of vaccines. Recently, viral mutants termed variants of concern (VOC) which may escape host immunity have emerged. The efficacy of spike encoding mRNA vaccines (CVnCoV and CV2CoV) against the ancestral strain and the VOC B.1.351 was tested in a K18-hACE2 transgenic mouse model. Naive mice and mice immunized with a formalin-inactivated SARS-CoV-2 preparation were used as controls. mRNA-immunized mice develop elevated SARS-CoV-2 RBD-specific antibody and neutralization titers which are readily detectable, but significantly reduced against VOC B.1.351. The mRNA vaccines fully protect from disease and mortality caused by either viral strain. SARS-CoV-2 remains undetected in swabs, lung, or brain in these groups. Despite lower neutralizing antibody titers compared to the ancestral strain BavPat1, CVnCoV and CV2CoV show complete disease protection against the novel VOC B.1.351 in our studies.


Subject(s)
Antibodies, Neutralizing/blood , Antibodies, Viral/blood , COVID-19 Vaccines/immunology , COVID-19/prevention & control , SARS-CoV-2/immunology , Spike Glycoprotein, Coronavirus/immunology , Angiotensin-Converting Enzyme 2/genetics , Angiotensin-Converting Enzyme 2/immunology , Animals , Cell Line , Chlorocebus aethiops , Genome, Viral/genetics , Humans , Mice , Mice, Transgenic , SARS-CoV-2/genetics , Vero Cells
5.
Adv Virus Res ; 110: 59-102, 2021.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1172111

ABSTRACT

Within only one year after the first detection of severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus-2 (SARS-CoV-2), nearly 100 million infections were reported in the human population globally, with more than two million fatal cases. While SARS-CoV-2 most likely originated from a natural wildlife reservoir, neither the immediate viral precursor nor the reservoir or intermediate hosts have been identified conclusively. Due to its zoonotic origin, SARS-CoV-2 may also be relevant to animals. Thus, to evaluate the host range of the virus and to assess the risk to act as potential animal reservoir, a large number of different animal species were experimentally infected with SARS-CoV-2 or monitored in the field in the last months. In this review, we provide an update on studies describing permissive and resistant animal species. Using a scoring system based on viral genome detection subsequent to SARS-CoV-2 inoculation, seroconversion, the development of clinical signs and transmission to conspecifics or humans, the susceptibility of diverse animal species was classified on a semi-quantitative scale. While major livestock species such as pigs, cattle and poultry are mostly resistant, companion animals appear moderately susceptible, while several model animal species used in research, including several Cricetidae species and non-human primates, are highly susceptible to SARS-CoV-2 infection. By natural infections, it became obvious that American minks (Neovison vison) in fur farms, e.g., in the Netherlands and Denmark are highly susceptible resulting in local epidemics in these animals.


Subject(s)
COVID-19/veterinary , SARS-CoV-2/physiology , Animals , Animals, Wild/virology , COVID-19/diagnosis , COVID-19/transmission , COVID-19/virology , Disease Reservoirs/veterinary , Disease Reservoirs/virology , Disease Susceptibility/diagnosis , Disease Susceptibility/veterinary , Disease Susceptibility/virology , Host Specificity , Livestock/virology , Models, Animal , Pets/virology , SARS-CoV-2/isolation & purification
6.
Emerg Infect Dis ; 27(4): 1193-1195, 2021 04.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1146550

ABSTRACT

After experimental inoculation, severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 infection was confirmed in bank voles by seroconversion within 8 days and detection of viral RNA in nasal tissue for up to 21 days. However, transmission to contact animals was not detected. Thus, bank voles are unlikely to establish effective transmission cycles in nature.


Subject(s)
Arvicolinae , COVID-19 , Disease Transmission, Infectious , Rodent Diseases , Seroconversion , Virus Shedding , Animals , Antibodies, Viral , COVID-19/immunology , COVID-19/transmission , COVID-19/virology , COVID-19 Serological Testing , Disease Models, Animal , Disease Susceptibility , Nasal Mucosa/virology , Rodent Diseases/immunology , Rodent Diseases/transmission , Rodent Diseases/virology
7.
Nature ; 592(7852): 122-127, 2021 04.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1104508

ABSTRACT

During the evolution of SARS-CoV-2 in humans, a D614G substitution in the spike glycoprotein (S) has emerged; virus containing this substitution has become the predominant circulating variant in the COVID-19 pandemic1. However, whether the increasing prevalence of this variant reflects a fitness advantage that improves replication and/or transmission in humans or is merely due to founder effects remains unknown. Here we use isogenic SARS-CoV-2 variants to demonstrate that the variant that contains S(D614G) has enhanced binding to the human cell-surface receptor angiotensin-converting enzyme 2 (ACE2), increased replication in primary human bronchial and nasal airway epithelial cultures as well as in a human ACE2 knock-in mouse model, and markedly increased replication and transmissibility in hamster and ferret models of SARS-CoV-2 infection. Our data show that the D614G substitution in S results in subtle increases in binding and replication in vitro, and provides a real competitive advantage in vivo-particularly during the transmission bottleneck. Our data therefore provide an explanation for the global predominance of the variant that contains S(D614G) among the SARS-CoV-2 viruses that are currently circulating.


Subject(s)
COVID-19/transmission , COVID-19/virology , Mutation , SARS-CoV-2/genetics , SARS-CoV-2/physiology , Spike Glycoprotein, Coronavirus/genetics , Virus Replication/genetics , Angiotensin-Converting Enzyme 2/genetics , Angiotensin-Converting Enzyme 2/metabolism , Animals , Bronchi/cytology , Bronchi/virology , COVID-19/epidemiology , Cell Line , Cells, Cultured , Cricetinae , Disease Models, Animal , Epithelial Cells/virology , Female , Ferrets/virology , Founder Effect , Gene Knock-In Techniques , Genetic Fitness , Humans , Male , Mesocricetus , Mice , Nasal Mucosa/cytology , Nasal Mucosa/virology , Protein Binding , RNA, Viral/analysis , Receptors, Coronavirus/metabolism , SARS-CoV-2/metabolism , SARS-CoV-2/pathogenicity
8.
Transbound Emerg Dis ; 68(4): 1779-1785, 2021 Jul.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-944802

ABSTRACT

Severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2) has caused a pandemic with millions of infected humans and hundreds of thousands of fatalities. As the novel disease - referred to as COVID-19 - unfolded, occasional anthropozoonotic infections of animals by owners or caretakers were reported in dogs, felid species and farmed mink. Further species were shown to be susceptible under experimental conditions. The extent of natural infections of animals, however, is still largely unknown. Serological methods will be useful tools for tracing SARS-CoV-2 infections in animals once test systems are evaluated for use in different species. Here, we developed an indirect multi-species ELISA based on the receptor-binding domain (RBD) of SARS-CoV-2. The newly established ELISA was evaluated using 59 sera of infected or vaccinated animals, including ferrets, raccoon dogs, hamsters, rabbits, chickens, cattle and a cat, and a total of 220 antibody-negative sera of the same animal species. Overall, a diagnostic specificity of 100.0% and sensitivity of 98.31% were achieved, and the functionality with every species included in this study could be demonstrated. Hence, a versatile and reliable ELISA protocol was established that enables high-throughput antibody detection in a broad range of animal species, which may be used for outbreak investigations, to assess the seroprevalence in susceptible species or to screen for reservoir or intermediate hosts.


Subject(s)
COVID-19 , Cat Diseases , Cattle Diseases , Rodent Diseases , Animals , Antibodies, Viral , COVID-19/veterinary , Cat Diseases/virology , Cats , Cattle , Cattle Diseases/virology , Chickens , Enzyme-Linked Immunosorbent Assay/veterinary , Ferrets , Humans , Mice , Rabbits , Rodent Diseases/virology , SARS-CoV-2 , Seroepidemiologic Studies
9.
bioRxiv ; 2020 Oct 27.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-915978

ABSTRACT

During the evolution of SARS-CoV-2 in humans a D614G substitution in the spike (S) protein emerged and became the predominant circulating variant (S-614G) of the COVID-19 pandemic 1 . However, whether the increasing prevalence of the S-614G variant represents a fitness advantage that improves replication and/or transmission in humans or is merely due to founder effects remains elusive. Here, we generated isogenic SARS-CoV-2 variants and demonstrate that the S-614G variant has (i) enhanced binding to human ACE2, (ii) increased replication in primary human bronchial and nasal airway epithelial cultures as well as in a novel human ACE2 knock-in mouse model, and (iii) markedly increased replication and transmissibility in hamster and ferret models of SARS-CoV-2 infection. Collectively, our data show that while the S-614G substitution results in subtle increases in binding and replication in vitro , it provides a real competitive advantage in vivo , particularly during the transmission bottle neck, providing an explanation for the global predominance of S-614G variant among the SARS-CoV-2 viruses currently circulating.

10.
Emerg Infect Dis ; 26(12): 2979-2981, 2020 Dec.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-842514

ABSTRACT

We inoculated 6 cattle with severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 and kept them together with 3 uninoculated cattle. We observed viral replication and specific seroreactivity in 2 inoculated animals, despite high levels of preexisting antibody titers against a bovine betacoronavirus. The in-contact animals did not become infected.


Subject(s)
COVID-19/transmission , SARS-CoV-2/genetics , Animals , Cattle/virology , Pandemics , Reverse Transcriptase Polymerase Chain Reaction , Viral Zoonoses/transmission , Virus Replication
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