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1.
Cell Host Microbe ; 2022 Oct 21.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-2082311

ABSTRACT

The rapid emergence of SARS-CoV-2 variants challenges vaccination strategies. Here, we collected 201 serum samples from persons with a single infection or multiple vaccine exposures, or both. We measured their neutralization titers against 15 natural variants and 7 variants with engineered spike mutations and analyzed antigenic diversity. Antigenic maps of primary infection sera showed that Omicron sublineages BA.2, BA.4/BA.5, and BA.2.12.1 are distinct from BA.1 and more similar to Beta/Gamma/Mu variants. Three mRNA COVID-19 vaccinations increased neutralization of BA.1 more than BA.4/BA.5 or BA.2.12.1. BA.1 post-vaccination infection elicited higher neutralization titers to all variants than three vaccinations alone, although with less neutralization to BA.2.12.1 and BA.4/BA.5. Those with BA.1 infection after two or three vaccinations had similar neutralization titer magnitude and antigenic recognition. Accounting for antigenic differences among variants when interpreting neutralization titers can aid the understanding of complex patterns in humoral immunity that informs the selection of future COVID-19 vaccine strains.

2.
J Virol ; 96(17): e0114022, 2022 09 14.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-2001778

ABSTRACT

The SARS-CoV-2 Omicron variants were first detected in November 2021, and several Omicron lineages (BA.1, BA.2, BA.3, BA.4, and BA.5) have since rapidly emerged. Studies characterizing the mechanisms of Omicron variant infection and sensitivity to neutralizing antibodies induced upon vaccination are ongoing by several groups. In the present study, we used pseudoviruses to show that the transmembrane serine protease 2 (TMPRSS2) enhances infection of BA.1, BA.1.1, BA.2, and BA.3 Omicron variants to a lesser extent than ancestral D614G. We further show that Omicron variants have higher sensitivity to inhibition by soluble angiotensin-converting enzyme 2 (ACE2) and the endosomal inhibitor chloroquine compared to D614G. The Omicron variants also more efficiently used ACE2 receptors from 9 out of 10 animal species tested, and unlike the D614G variant, used mouse ACE2 due to the Q493R and Q498R spike substitutions. Finally, neutralization of the Omicron variants by antibodies induced by three doses of Pfizer/BNT162b2 mRNA vaccine was 7- to 8-fold less potent than the D614G. These results provide insights into the transmissibility and immune evasion capacity of the emerging Omicron variants to curb their ongoing spread. IMPORTANCE The ongoing emergence of SARS-CoV-2 Omicron variants with an extensive number of spike mutations poses a significant public health and zoonotic concern due to enhanced transmission fitness and escape from neutralizing antibodies. We studied three Omicron lineage variants (BA.1, BA.2, and BA.3) and found that transmembrane serine protease 2 has less influence on Omicron entry into cells than on D614G, and Omicron exhibits greater sensitivity to endosomal entry inhibition compared to D614G. In addition, Omicron displays more efficient usage of diverse animal species ACE2 receptors than D614G. Furthermore, due to Q493R/Q498R substitutions in spike, Omicron, but not D614G, can use the mouse ACE2 receptor. Finally, three doses of Pfizer/BNT162b2 mRNA vaccination elicit high neutralization titers against Omicron variants, although the neutralization titers are still 7- to 8-fold lower those that against D614G. These results may give insights into the transmissibility and immune evasion capacity of the emerging Omicron variants to curb their ongoing spread.


Subject(s)
Angiotensin-Converting Enzyme 2 , Antibodies, Neutralizing , COVID-19 , Immune Evasion , SARS-CoV-2 , Virus Internalization , Angiotensin-Converting Enzyme 2/chemistry , Angiotensin-Converting Enzyme 2/genetics , Angiotensin-Converting Enzyme 2/immunology , Angiotensin-Converting Enzyme 2/metabolism , Animals , Antibodies, Neutralizing/immunology , Antibodies, Viral/immunology , BNT162 Vaccine/administration & dosage , BNT162 Vaccine/immunology , COVID-19/immunology , COVID-19/virology , Humans , Immune Evasion/immunology , Mice , SARS-CoV-2/chemistry , SARS-CoV-2/genetics , SARS-CoV-2/immunology , SARS-CoV-2/metabolism , Species Specificity , Spike Glycoprotein, Coronavirus/chemistry , Spike Glycoprotein, Coronavirus/genetics , Spike Glycoprotein, Coronavirus/immunology , Spike Glycoprotein, Coronavirus/metabolism
3.
Nat Biotechnol ; 2022 Jul 21.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1947381

ABSTRACT

The emergence of severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2) variants with potential resistance to existing drugs emphasizes the need for new therapeutic modalities with broad variant activity. Here we show that ensovibep, a trispecific DARPin (designed ankyrin repeat protein) clinical candidate, can engage the three units of the spike protein trimer of SARS-CoV-2 and inhibit ACE2 binding with high potency, as revealed by cryo-electron microscopy analysis. The cooperative binding together with the complementarity of the three DARPin modules enable ensovibep to inhibit frequent SARS-CoV-2 variants, including Omicron sublineages BA.1 and BA.2. In Roborovski dwarf hamsters infected with SARS-CoV-2, ensovibep reduced fatality similarly to a standard-of-care monoclonal antibody (mAb) cocktail. When used as a single agent in viral passaging experiments in vitro, ensovibep reduced the emergence of escape mutations in a similar fashion to the same mAb cocktail. These results support further clinical evaluation of ensovibep as a broad variant alternative to existing targeted therapies for Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19).

4.
Methods Mol Biol ; 2452: 305-314, 2022.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1844273

ABSTRACT

Assays measuring neutralizing antibodies (nAbs) against SARS-CoV-2 are used to evaluate serological responses after SARS-CoV-2 infection and the potency of therapeutic antibodies and preventive vaccines. It is therefore imperative that neutralization assays be sensitive, specific, quantitative, and scalable for high throughput. Pseudoviruses are excellent surrogates for highly pathogenic viruses such as SARS-CoV-2 because they can be safely used to measure nAbs in a biosafety level-2 laboratory. In addition, pseudoviruses allow for easy introduction of mutations to study the effect of amino acid changes in the spike protein. In this chapter, we describe a recently optimized assay for measuring neutralizing antibodies to SARS-CoV-2 that uses a HIV-based lentiviral vector pseudotyped with the spike glycoprotein of SARS-CoV-2 to infect 293T cells stably expressing ACE2 and TMPRSS2.


Subject(s)
COVID-19 , SARS-CoV-2 , Antibodies, Neutralizing , Antibodies, Viral , Humans , Neutralization Tests , SARS-CoV-2/genetics , Spike Glycoprotein, Coronavirus/genetics
5.
PLoS Pathog ; 18(4): e1010468, 2022 04.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1779781

ABSTRACT

An overreactive inflammatory response and coagulopathy are observed in patients with severe form of COVID-19. Since increased levels of D-dimer (DD) are associated with coagulopathy in COVID-19, we explored whether DD contributes to the aberrant cytokine responses. Here we show that treatment of healthy human monocytes with DD induced a dose dependent increase in production of pyrogenic mediator, Prostaglandin E2 (PGE2) and inflammatory cytokines, IL-6 and IL-8. The DD-induced PGE2 and inflammatory cytokines were enhanced significantly by co-treatment with immune complexes (IC) of SARS CoV-2 recombinant S protein or of pseudovirus containing SARS CoV-2 S protein (PVCoV-2) coated with spike-specific chimeric monoclonal antibody (MAb) containing mouse variable and human Fc regions. The production of PGE2 and cytokines in monocytes activated with DD and ICs was sensitive to the inhibitors of ß2 integrin and FcγRIIa, and to the inhibitors of calcium signaling, Mitogen-Activated Protein Kinase (MAPK) pathway, and tyrosine-protein kinase. Importantly, strong increase in PGE2 and in IL-6/IL-8/IL-1ß cytokines was observed in monocytes activated with DD in the presence of IC of PVCoV-2 coated with plasma from hospitalized COVID-19 patients but not from healthy donors. The IC of PVCoV-2 with convalescent plasma induced much lower levels of PGE2 and cytokines compared with plasma from hospitalized COVID-19 patients. PGE2 and IL-6/IL-8 cytokines produced in monocytes activated with plasma-containing IC, correlated well with the levels of spike binding antibodies and not with neutralizing antibody titers. Our study suggests that a combination of high levels of DD and high titers of spike-binding antibodies that can form IC with SARS CoV-2 viral particles might accelerate the inflammatory status of lung infiltrating monocytes leading to increased lung pathology in patients with severe form of COVID-19.


Subject(s)
COVID-19 , Monocytes , Animals , Antigen-Antibody Complex , COVID-19/therapy , Cytokines/metabolism , Dinoprostone/metabolism , Fibrin Fibrinogen Degradation Products , Humans , Immunization, Passive , Immunologic Factors/metabolism , Interleukin-6/metabolism , Interleukin-8/metabolism , Mice , Spike Glycoprotein, Coronavirus/metabolism
6.
Sci Transl Med ; 14(645): eabn8543, 2022 05 18.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1774930

ABSTRACT

The rapid spread of the highly contagious Omicron variant of severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2) along with its high number of mutations in the spike gene has raised alarms about the effectiveness of current medical countermeasures. To address this concern, we measured the neutralization of the Omicron BA.1 variant pseudovirus by postvaccination serum samples after two and three immunizations with the Pfizer/BioNTech162b2 SARS-CoV-2 mRNA (Pfizer/BNT162b2) vaccine, convalescent serum samples from unvaccinated individuals infected by different variants, and clinical-stage therapeutic antibodies. We found that titers against the Omicron variant were low or undetectable after two immunizations and in many convalescent serum samples, regardless of the infecting variant. A booster vaccination increased titers more than 30-fold against Omicron to values comparable to those seen against the D614G variant after two immunizations. Neither age nor sex was associated with the differences in postvaccination antibody responses. We also evaluated 18 clinical-stage therapeutic antibody products and an antibody mimetic protein product obtained directly from the manufacturers. Five monoclonal antibodies, the antibody mimetic protein, three antibody cocktails, and two polyclonal antibody preparations retained measurable neutralization activity against Omicron with a varying degree of potency. Of these, only three retained potencies comparable to the D614G variant. Two therapeutic antibody cocktails in the tested panel that are authorized for emergency use in the United States did not neutralize Omicron. These findings underscore the potential benefit of mRNA vaccine boosters for protection against Omicron and the need for rapid development of antibody therapeutics that maintain potency against emerging variants.


Subject(s)
COVID-19 , SARS-CoV-2 , Antibodies, Neutralizing , Antibodies, Viral , BNT162 Vaccine , COVID-19/therapy , COVID-19 Vaccines , Humans , Immunization, Passive , Vaccination , Vaccines, Synthetic , mRNA Vaccines
7.
Emerg Infect Dis ; 28(4): 828-832, 2022 Apr.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1771000

ABSTRACT

Severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2) antibodies decay but persist 6 months postvaccination; lower levels of neutralizing titers persist against Delta than wild-type virus. Of 227 vaccinated healthcare workers tested, only 2 experienced outpatient symptomatic breakthrough infections, despite 59/227 exhibiting serologic evidence of SARS-CoV-2 infection, defined as presence of nucleocapsid protein antibodies.


Subject(s)
COVID-19 , Antibodies, Viral , Antibody Formation , COVID-19/epidemiology , COVID-19/prevention & control , COVID-19 Vaccines , Health Personnel , Humans , SARS-CoV-2 , Vaccination
8.
J Virol ; 96(1): e0111021, 2022 01 12.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1621992

ABSTRACT

Mutations in the spike protein of severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2) variants can compromise the effectiveness of therapeutic antibodies. Most clinical-stage therapeutic antibodies target the spike receptor binding domain (RBD), but variants often have multiple mutations in several spike regions. To help predict antibody potency against emerging variants, we evaluated 25 clinical-stage therapeutic antibodies for neutralization activity against 60 pseudoviruses bearing spikes with single or multiple substitutions in several spike domains, including the full set of substitutions in B.1.1.7 (alpha), B.1.351 (beta), P.1 (gamma), B.1.429 (epsilon), B.1.526 (iota), A.23.1, and R.1 variants. We found that 14 of 15 single antibodies were vulnerable to at least one RBD substitution, but most combination and polyclonal therapeutic antibodies remained potent. Key substitutions in variants with multiple spike substitutions predicted resistance, but the degree of resistance could be modified in unpredictable ways by other spike substitutions that may reside outside the RBD. These findings highlight the importance of assessing antibody potency in the context of all substitutions in a variant and show that epistatic interactions in spike can modify virus susceptibility to therapeutic antibodies. IMPORTANCE Therapeutic antibodies are effective in preventing severe disease from SARS-CoV-2 infection (COVID-19), but their effectiveness may be reduced by virus variants with mutations affecting the spike protein. To help predict resistance to therapeutic antibodies in emerging variants, we profiled resistance patterns of 25 antibody products in late stages of clinical development against a large panel of variants that include single and multiple substitutions found in the spike protein. We found that the presence of a key substitution in variants with multiple spike substitutions can predict resistance against a variant but that other substitutions can affect the degree of resistance in unpredictable ways. These findings highlight complex interactions among substitutions in the spike protein affecting virus neutralization and, potentially, virus entry into cells.


Subject(s)
Antibodies, Monoclonal/immunology , SARS-CoV-2/immunology , Spike Glycoprotein, Coronavirus/immunology , Amino Acid Substitution , Antibodies, Neutralizing/immunology , Mutation , Protein Binding , Protein Domains , SARS-CoV-2/genetics , Spike Glycoprotein, Coronavirus/chemistry , Spike Glycoprotein, Coronavirus/genetics
9.
Viruses ; 13(12)2021 12 11.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1572661

ABSTRACT

The SARS-CoV-2 B.1.617 lineage variants, Kappa (B.1.617.1) and Delta (B.1.617.2, AY) emerged during the second wave of infections in India, but the Delta variants have become dominant worldwide and continue to evolve. Here, we compared B.1.617 variants for neutralization resistance by convalescent sera, mRNA vaccine-elicited sera, and therapeutic neutralizing antibodies using a pseudovirus neutralization assay. B.1.617.1, B.1.617.2, and AY.1 pseudoviruses showed a modest 1.5- to 4.4-fold reduction in neutralization by convalescent sera and vaccine-elicited sera. In comparison, similar modest reductions were also observed for C.37, P.1, R.1, and B.1.526 pseudoviruses, but 7- and 16-fold reductions for vaccine-elicited and convalescent sera, respectively, were seen for B.1.351 pseudoviruses. Among twenty-three therapeutic antibodies tested, four antibodies showed either complete or partial loss of neutralization against B.1.617.2 pseudoviruses and six antibodies showed either complete or partial loss of neutralization against B.1.617.1 and AY.1 pseudoviruses. Our results indicate that the current mRNA-based vaccines will likely remain effective in protecting against B.1.617 variants. Finally, the P681R substitution confers efficient cleavage of B.1.617 variants' spike proteins and the spike of Delta variants exhibited greater sensitivity to soluble ACE2 neutralization, as well as fusogenic activity, which may contribute to enhanced spread of Delta variants.


Subject(s)
Antibodies, Neutralizing/immunology , SARS-CoV-2/immunology , Spike Glycoprotein, Coronavirus/metabolism , Angiotensin-Converting Enzyme 2/metabolism , Antibodies, Viral/immunology , Antigenic Variation , COVID-19/immunology , COVID-19/virology , COVID-19 Vaccines/immunology , Cell Fusion , Furin/metabolism , Humans , Protein Binding , Spike Glycoprotein, Coronavirus/genetics , Spike Glycoprotein, Coronavirus/immunology
10.
PLoS One ; 16(3): e0248348, 2021.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1388906

ABSTRACT

Pseudoviruses are useful surrogates for highly pathogenic viruses because of their safety, genetic stability, and scalability for screening assays. Many different pseudovirus platforms exist, each with different advantages and limitations. Here we report our efforts to optimize and characterize an HIV-based lentiviral pseudovirus assay for screening neutralizing antibodies for SARS-CoV-2 using a stable 293T cell line expressing human angiotensin converting enzyme 2 (ACE2) and transmembrane serine protease 2 (TMPRSS2). We assessed different target cells, established conditions that generate readouts over at least a two-log range, and confirmed consistent neutralization titers over a range of pseudovirus input. Using reference sera and plasma panels, we evaluated assay precision and showed that our neutralization titers correlate well with results reported in other assays. Overall, our lentiviral assay is relatively simple, scalable, and suitable for a variety of SARS-CoV-2 entry and neutralization screening assays.


Subject(s)
COVID-19/metabolism , Lentivirus/metabolism , Neutralization Tests/methods , Angiotensin-Converting Enzyme 2/genetics , Angiotensin-Converting Enzyme 2/immunology , Antibodies, Neutralizing/immunology , Antibodies, Viral/immunology , Drug Evaluation, Preclinical/methods , HEK293 Cells , Humans , SARS-CoV-2/metabolism , SARS-CoV-2/pathogenicity , Spike Glycoprotein, Coronavirus/genetics
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