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2.
Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A ; 119(32): e2205690119, 2022 Aug 09.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1960628

ABSTRACT

The furin cleavage site (FCS), an unusual feature in the SARS-CoV-2 spike protein, has been spotlighted as a factor key to facilitating infection and pathogenesis by increasing spike processing. Similarly, the QTQTN motif directly upstream of the FCS is also an unusual feature for group 2B coronaviruses (CoVs). The QTQTN deletion has consistently been observed in in vitro cultured virus stocks and some clinical isolates. To determine whether the QTQTN motif is critical to SARS-CoV-2 replication and pathogenesis, we generated a mutant deleting the QTQTN motif (ΔQTQTN). Here, we report that the QTQTN deletion attenuates viral replication in respiratory cells in vitro and attenuates disease in vivo. The deletion results in a shortened, more rigid peptide loop that contains the FCS and is less accessible to host proteases, such as TMPRSS2. Thus, the deletion reduced the efficiency of spike processing and attenuates SARS-CoV-2 infection. Importantly, the QTQTN motif also contains residues that are glycosylated, and disruption of its glycosylation also attenuates virus replication in a TMPRSS2-dependent manner. Together, our results reveal that three aspects of the S1/S2 cleavage site-the FCS, loop length, and glycosylation-are required for efficient SARS-CoV-2 replication and pathogenesis.


Subject(s)
COVID-19 , Furin , Proteolysis , SARS-CoV-2 , Spike Glycoprotein, Coronavirus , Amino Acid Motifs/genetics , Animals , COVID-19/virology , Chlorocebus aethiops , Furin/chemistry , Humans , SARS-CoV-2/genetics , SARS-CoV-2/physiology , Sequence Deletion , Spike Glycoprotein, Coronavirus/chemistry , Spike Glycoprotein, Coronavirus/genetics , Vero Cells , Virus Replication/genetics
3.
Nat Commun ; 13(1): 4337, 2022 07 27.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1960370

ABSTRACT

We report a live-attenuated SARS-CoV-2 vaccine candidate with (i) re-engineered viral transcription regulator sequences and (ii) deleted open-reading-frames (ORF) 3, 6, 7, and 8 (∆3678). The ∆3678 virus replicates about 7,500-fold lower than wild-type SARS-CoV-2 on primary human airway cultures, but restores its replication on interferon-deficient Vero-E6 cells that are approved for vaccine production. The ∆3678 virus is highly attenuated in both hamster and K18-hACE2 mouse models. A single-dose immunization of the ∆3678 virus protects hamsters from wild-type virus challenge and transmission. Among the deleted ORFs in the ∆3678 virus, ORF3a accounts for the most attenuation through antagonizing STAT1 phosphorylation during type-I interferon signaling. We also developed an mNeonGreen reporter ∆3678 virus for high-throughput neutralization and antiviral testing. Altogether, the results suggest that ∆3678 SARS-CoV-2 may serve as a live-attenuated vaccine candidate and a research tool for potential biosafety level-2 use.


Subject(s)
COVID-19 Vaccines , COVID-19 , Animals , Antiviral Agents , COVID-19/prevention & control , Cricetinae , Humans , Interferons , Mice , SARS-CoV-2/genetics , Vaccines, Attenuated , Virus Replication
4.
Viruses ; 14(5)2022 05 13.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1903475

ABSTRACT

Currently, there are no evidence-based treatment options for long COVID-19, and it is known that SARS-CoV-2 can persist in part of the infected patients, especially those with immunosuppression. Since there is a robust secretion of SARS-CoV-2-specific highly-neutralizing IgA antibodies in breast milk, and because this immunoglobulin plays an essential role against respiratory virus infection in mucosa cells, being, in addition, more potent in neutralizing SARS-CoV-2 than IgG, here we report the clinical course of an NFκB-deficient patient chronically infected with the SARS-CoV-2 Gamma variant, who, after a non-full effective treatment with plasma infusion, received breast milk from a vaccinated mother by oral route as treatment for COVID-19. After such treatment, the symptoms improved, and the patient was systematically tested negative for SARS-CoV-2. Thus, we hypothesize that IgA and IgG secreted antibodies present in breast milk could be useful to treat persistent SARS-CoV-2 infection in immunodeficient patients.


Subject(s)
COVID-19 , SARS-CoV-2 , Antibodies, Viral , COVID-19/complications , Eating , Female , Humans , Immunoglobulin A , Immunoglobulin G , Milk, Human , NF-kappa B , RNA, Viral , SARS-CoV-2/genetics
5.
PLoS Pathog ; 18(6): e1010627, 2022 06.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1902650

ABSTRACT

While SARS-CoV-2 continues to adapt for human infection and transmission, genetic variation outside of the spike gene remains largely unexplored. This study investigates a highly variable region at residues 203-205 in the SARS-CoV-2 nucleocapsid protein. Recreating a mutation found in the alpha and omicron variants in an early pandemic (WA-1) background, we find that the R203K+G204R mutation is sufficient to enhance replication, fitness, and pathogenesis of SARS-CoV-2. The R203K+G204R mutant corresponds with increased viral RNA and protein both in vitro and in vivo. Importantly, the R203K+G204R mutation increases nucleocapsid phosphorylation and confers resistance to inhibition of the GSK-3 kinase, providing a molecular basis for increased virus replication. Notably, analogous alanine substitutions at positions 203+204 also increase SARS-CoV-2 replication and augment phosphorylation, suggesting that infection is enhanced through ablation of the ancestral 'RG' motif. Overall, these results demonstrate that variant mutations outside spike are key components in SARS-CoV-2's continued adaptation to human infection.


Subject(s)
COVID-19 , SARS-CoV-2 , COVID-19/genetics , Glycogen Synthase Kinase 3 , Humans , Mutation , Nucleocapsid , SARS-CoV-2/genetics , Spike Glycoprotein, Coronavirus/genetics
6.
Cell Rep ; 39(7): 110829, 2022 05 17.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1814236

ABSTRACT

We report that severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2) Delta spike mutation P681R plays a key role in the Alpha-to-Delta variant replacement during the coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) pandemic. Delta SARS-CoV-2 efficiently outcompetes the Alpha variant in human lung epithelial cells and primary human airway tissues. The Delta spike mutation P681R is located at a furin cleavage site that separates the spike 1 (S1) and S2 subunits. Reverting the P681R mutation to wild-type P681 significantly reduces the replication of the Delta variant to a level lower than the Alpha variant. Mechanistically, the Delta P681R mutation enhances the cleavage of the full-length spike to S1 and S2, which could improve cell-surface-mediated virus entry. In contrast, the Alpha spike also has a mutation at the same amino acid (P681H), but the cleavage of the Alpha spike is reduced compared with the Delta spike. Our results suggest P681R as a key mutation in enhancing Delta-variant replication via increased S1/S2 cleavage.


Subject(s)
COVID-19 , SARS-CoV-2 , COVID-19/genetics , Humans , Mutation/genetics , SARS-CoV-2/genetics , Spike Glycoprotein, Coronavirus/chemistry , Spike Glycoprotein, Coronavirus/genetics
7.
NPJ Vaccines ; 7(1): 41, 2022 Apr 08.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1783982

ABSTRACT

BNT162b2-elicited human sera neutralize the currently dominant Delta SARS-CoV-2 variant. Here, we report the ability of 20 human sera, drawn 2 or 4 weeks after two doses of BNT162b2, to neutralize USA-WA1/2020 SARS-CoV-2 bearing variant spikes from Delta plus (Delta-AY.1, Delta-AY.2), Delta-∆144 (Delta with the Y144 deletion of the Alpha variant), Lambda, B.1.1.519, Theta, and Mu lineage viruses. Geometric mean plaque reduction neutralization titers against Delta-AY.1, Delta-AY.2, and Mu viruses are slightly lower than against USA-WA1/2020, but all sera neutralize the variant viruses to titers of ≥80, and neutralization titers against the Delta-∆144, Lambda, B.1.1.519 and Theta variants not significantly reduced relative to those against USA-WA1/2020. The susceptibility of Delta plus, Lambda, B.1.1.519, Theta, Mu, and other variants to neutralization by the sera indicates that antigenic change has not led to virus escape from vaccine-elicited neutralizing antibodies and supports ongoing mass immunization with BNT162b2 to control the variants and to minimize the emergence of new variants.

8.
J Mol Diagn ; 24(5): 455-461, 2022 05.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1773516

ABSTRACT

Tracking new and emerging severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2) variants has become increasingly important for public health responses, primarily because of variant-dependent transmission, disease severity, and treatment decisions. This evaluation compared Seegene Technologies Novaplex SARS-CoV-2 Variants I, II, and IV (I,II&IV) assays to detect known SARS-CoV-2 variants using traditional spike gene Sanger sequencing results as the gold standard reference. Both RNA extraction and extraction-free protocols were assessed. A total of 156 samples were included in this study. There was 100% (109/109) overall agreement (95% CI, 96.7%-100%) between the spike gene sequencing and the I,II&IV results using extracted RNA for the variants included in the Novaplex assay menus. The RNA extraction-free method was 91.7% (143/156) as sensitive (95% CI, 86.2%-95.5%) as the traditional RNA extraction method. Using the extraction-free method on samples with higher cycle threshold values (>30) resulted in some mutations not being detected, presumably due to lower nucleic acid concentrations in the original samples. In conclusion, the I,II&IV assays provide an accurate, rapid, and less labor-intensive method for detecting SARS-CoV-2 and identifying known variants of interest and concern. The RNA extraction-free method for samples with cycle threshold of <30 could be cost-effective for surveillance purposes. However, spike gene sequencing retains the advantage of detecting more and new variants.


Subject(s)
COVID-19 , SARS-CoV-2 , COVID-19/diagnosis , Humans , Mutation , RNA , SARS-CoV-2/genetics
9.
Am J Trop Med Hyg ; 2022 Feb 22.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1699759

ABSTRACT

The coronavirus pandemic has imposed extraordinary demands on the public and environmental health workforce, including those who work on vector-borne disease (VBD) prevention and control. In late 2021, we surveyed more than 100 applied public health professionals, academic researchers, and others working on VBDs in the United States. They reported that the supply chain disruptions and limited access to facilities that impeded laboratory work in the early months of the COVID-19 pandemic in 2020 have largely resolved. However, many public health personnel across job types and career stages are still working fewer hours on VBDs than they did before the pandemic. Many reported that they expect it to take several years for VBD specialists to fully reengage with clinicians and the public, reinvigorate their partnerships and professional networks, and recover from interruptions to work productivity and professional development. Despite these challenges, most applied and academic VBD workers remain enthusiastic about their work and eager to advance this important area of infectious disease research and practice.

10.
Nat Commun ; 13(1): 852, 2022 02 09.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1684027

ABSTRACT

The spread of the Omicron SARS-CoV-2 variant underscores the importance of analyzing the cross-protection from previous non-Omicron infection. We have developed a high-throughput neutralization assay for Omicron SARS-CoV-2 by engineering the Omicron spike gene into an mNeonGreen USA-WA1/2020 SARS-CoV-2 (isolated in January 2020). Using this assay, we determine the neutralization titers (defined as the maximal serum dilution that inhibited 50% of infectious virus) of patient sera collected at 1- or 6-months after infection with non-Omicron SARS-CoV-2. From 1- to 6-month post-infection, the neutralization titers against USA-WA1/2020 decrease from 601 to 142 (a 4.2-fold reduction), while the neutralization titers against Omicron-spike SARS-CoV-2 remain low at 38 and 32, respectively. Thus, at 1- and 6-months after non-Omicron SARS-CoV-2 infection, the neutralization titers against Omicron are 15.8- and 4.4-fold lower than those against USA-WA1/2020, respectively. The low cross-neutralization against Omicron from previous non-Omicron infection supports vaccination of formerly infected individuals to mitigate the health impact of the ongoing Omicron surge.


Subject(s)
Antibodies, Viral/immunology , COVID-19/immunology , SARS-CoV-2/immunology , Antibodies, Neutralizing/immunology , COVID-19/blood , COVID-19/virology , Cross Reactions , Humans , Neutralization Tests , Reinfection/blood , Reinfection/immunology , Reinfection/virology , SARS-CoV-2/genetics
11.
PLoS Pathog ; 17(12): e1010162, 2021 12.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1595940

ABSTRACT

The novel coronavirus SARS-CoV-2, the causative agent of COVID-19 disease, has killed over five million people worldwide as of December 2021 with infections rising again due to the emergence of highly transmissible variants. Animal models that faithfully recapitulate human disease are critical for assessing SARS-CoV-2 viral and immune dynamics, for understanding mechanisms of disease, and for testing vaccines and therapeutics. Pigtail macaques (PTM, Macaca nemestrina) demonstrate a rapid and severe disease course when infected with simian immunodeficiency virus (SIV), including the development of severe cardiovascular symptoms that are pertinent to COVID-19 manifestations in humans. We thus proposed this species may likewise exhibit severe COVID-19 disease upon infection with SARS-CoV-2. Here, we extensively studied a cohort of SARS-CoV-2-infected PTM euthanized either 6- or 21-days after respiratory viral challenge. We show that PTM demonstrate largely mild-to-moderate COVID-19 disease. Pulmonary infiltrates were dominated by T cells, including CD4+ T cells that upregulate CD8 and express cytotoxic molecules, as well as virus-targeting T cells that were predominantly CD4+. We also noted increases in inflammatory and coagulation markers in blood, pulmonary pathologic lesions, and the development of neutralizing antibodies. Together, our data demonstrate that SARS-CoV-2 infection of PTM recapitulates important features of COVID-19 and reveals new immune and viral dynamics and thus may serve as a useful animal model for studying pathogenesis and testing vaccines and therapeutics.


Subject(s)
COVID-19 , Disease Models, Animal , Macaca nemestrina , Monkey Diseases/virology , Animals , COVID-19/immunology , COVID-19/pathology , COVID-19/physiopathology , COVID-19/virology , Humans , Immunity, Humoral , Lung/immunology , Lung/virology , Male , Monkey Diseases/immunology , Monkey Diseases/pathology , Monkey Diseases/physiopathology , T-Lymphocytes/immunology
12.
NPJ Vaccines ; 6(1): 139, 2021 Nov 29.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1541209

ABSTRACT

A candidate multigenic SARS-CoV-2 vaccine based on an MVA vector expressing both viral N and S proteins (MVA-S + N) was immunogenic, and induced T-cell responses and binding antibodies to both antigens but in the absence of detectable neutralizing antibodies. Intranasal immunization with the vaccine diminished viral loads and lung inflammation in mice after SARS-CoV-2 challenge, which correlated with the T-cell response induced by the vaccine in the lung, indicating that T-cell immunity is also likely critical for protection against SARS-CoV-2 infection in addition to neutralizing antibodies.

13.
Nature ; 602(7896): 294-299, 2022 02.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1532071

ABSTRACT

The B.1.1.7 variant (also known as Alpha) of SARS-CoV-2, the cause of the COVID-19 pandemic, emerged in the UK in the summer of 2020. The prevalence of this variant increased rapidly owing to an increase in infection and/or transmission efficiency1. The Alpha variant contains 19 nonsynonymous mutations across its viral genome, including 8 substitutions or deletions in the spike protein that interacts with cellular receptors to mediate infection and tropism. Here, using a reverse genetics approach, we show that of the 8 individual spike protein substitutions, only N501Y resulted in consistent fitness gains for replication in the upper airway in a hamster model as well as in primary human airway epithelial cells. The N501Y substitution recapitulated the enhanced viral transmission phenotype of the eight mutations in the Alpha spike protein, suggesting that it is a major determinant of the increased transmission of the Alpha variant. Mechanistically, the N501Y substitution increased the affinity of the viral spike protein for cellular receptors. As suggested by its convergent evolution in Brazil, South Africa and elsewhere2,3, our results indicate that N501Y substitution is an adaptive spike mutation of major concern.


Subject(s)
Amino Acid Substitution , COVID-19/transmission , COVID-19/virology , SARS-CoV-2/pathogenicity , Spike Glycoprotein, Coronavirus/chemistry , Spike Glycoprotein, Coronavirus/metabolism , Angiotensin-Converting Enzyme 2/metabolism , Animals , Binding, Competitive , Bronchi/cytology , Cells, Cultured , Cricetinae , Humans , Male , Mesocricetus , Models, Molecular , Mutation , Protein Binding , SARS-CoV-2/chemistry , SARS-CoV-2/genetics , Spike Glycoprotein, Coronavirus/genetics , Virus Replication
14.
PLoS Biol ; 19(11): e3001284, 2021 11.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1502046

ABSTRACT

The emergence of Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome Coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2) has resulted in a pandemic causing significant damage to public health and the economy. Efforts to understand the mechanisms of Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19) have been hampered by the lack of robust mouse models. To overcome this barrier, we used a reverse genetic system to generate a mouse-adapted strain of SARS-CoV-2. Incorporating key mutations found in SARS-CoV-2 variants, this model recapitulates critical elements of human infection including viral replication in the lung, immune cell infiltration, and significant in vivo disease. Importantly, mouse adaptation of SARS-CoV-2 does not impair replication in human airway cells and maintains antigenicity similar to human SARS-CoV-2 strains. Coupled with the incorporation of mutations found in variants of concern, CMA3p20 offers several advantages over other mouse-adapted SARS-CoV-2 strains. Using this model, we demonstrate that SARS-CoV-2-infected mice are protected from lethal challenge with the original Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome Coronavirus (SARS-CoV), suggesting immunity from heterologous Coronavirus (CoV) strains. Together, the results highlight the use of this mouse model for further study of SARS-CoV-2 infection and disease.


Subject(s)
COVID-19 Vaccines/immunology , COVID-19/prevention & control , SARS-CoV-2/immunology , Animals , COVID-19/pathology , COVID-19 Vaccines/therapeutic use , Cell Line , Disease Models, Animal , Female , Humans , Lung/pathology , Mice , Mice, Inbred BALB C , Reverse Genetics , Serial Passage , Virus Replication
15.
Viruses ; 13(11)2021 10 22.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1481018

ABSTRACT

A SARS-CoV-2 B.1.1.7 variant of concern (VOC) has been associated with increased transmissibility, hospitalization, and mortality. This study aimed to explore the factors associated with B.1.1.7 VOC infection in the context of vaccination. On March 2021, we detected SARS-CoV-2 RNA in nasopharyngeal samples from 14 of 22 individuals vaccinated with a single-dose of ChAdOx1 (outbreak A, n = 26), and 22 of 42 of individuals with two doses of the CoronaVac vaccine (outbreak B, n = 52) for breakthrough infection rates for ChAdOx1 of 63.6% and 52.4% for CoronaVac. The outbreaks were caused by two independent clusters of the B.1.1.7 VOC. The serum of PCR-positive symptomatic SARS-CoV-2-infected individuals had ~1.8-3.4-fold more neutralizing capacity against B.1.1.7 compared to the serum of asymptomatic individuals. These data based on exploratory analysis suggest that the B.1.1.7 variant can infect individuals partially immunized with a single dose of an adenovirus-vectored vaccine or fully immunized with two doses of an inactivated vaccine, although the vaccines were able to reduce the risk of severe disease and death caused by this VOC, even in the elderly.


Subject(s)
COVID-19 Vaccines , COVID-19/immunology , COVID-19/virology , SARS-CoV-2/classification , SARS-CoV-2/genetics , Vaccination , Adenoviridae , Adult , Aged , Aged, 80 and over , Antibodies, Neutralizing/immunology , Brazil/epidemiology , COVID-19/prevention & control , COVID-19 Serological Testing , Cohort Studies , Disease Outbreaks/statistics & numerical data , Female , Genetic Vectors , Humans , Immunoglobulin G/blood , Male , Middle Aged , RNA, Viral , Vaccines, Inactivated , Whole Genome Sequencing , Young Adult
16.
Elife ; 102021 09 28.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1441361

ABSTRACT

High-throughput genomics of SARS-CoV-2 is essential to characterize virus evolution and to identify adaptations that affect pathogenicity or transmission. While single-nucleotide variations (SNVs) are commonly considered as driving virus adaption, RNA recombination events that delete or insert nucleic acid sequences are also critical. Whole genome targeting sequencing of SARS-CoV-2 is typically achieved using pairs of primers to generate cDNA amplicons suitable for next-generation sequencing (NGS). However, paired-primer approaches impose constraints on where primers can be designed, how many amplicons are synthesized and requires multiple PCR reactions with non-overlapping primer pools. This imparts sensitivity to underlying SNVs and fails to resolve RNA recombination junctions that are not flanked by primer pairs. To address these limitations, we have designed an approach called 'Tiled-ClickSeq', which uses hundreds of tiled-primers spaced evenly along the virus genome in a single reverse-transcription reaction. The other end of the cDNA amplicon is generated by azido-nucleotides that stochastically terminate cDNA synthesis, removing the need for a paired-primer. A sequencing adaptor containing a Unique Molecular Identifier (UMI) is appended to the cDNA fragment using click-chemistry and a PCR reaction generates a final NGS library. Tiled-ClickSeq provides complete genome coverage, including the 5'UTR, at high depth and specificity to the virus on both Illumina and Nanopore NGS platforms. Here, we analyze multiple SARS-CoV-2 isolates and clinical samples to simultaneously characterize minority variants, sub-genomic mRNAs (sgmRNAs), structural variants (SVs) and D-RNAs. Tiled-ClickSeq therefore provides a convenient and robust platform for SARS-CoV-2 genomics that captures the full range of RNA species in a single, simple assay.


Subject(s)
Base Sequence , Coronavirus/genetics , Genome, Viral , RNA , SARS-CoV-2/genetics , COVID-19/virology , DNA, Complementary , Gene Library , Genomics , High-Throughput Nucleotide Sequencing , Humans , Nanopores , Polymerase Chain Reaction , RNA, Messenger , RNA, Viral/genetics , Recombination, Genetic , Whole Genome Sequencing
17.
Cell Host Microbe ; 29(4): 508-515, 2021 04 14.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1309187

ABSTRACT

More than a year after its emergence, COVID-19, the disease caused by SARS-CoV-2, continues to plague the world and dominate our daily lives. Even with the development of effective vaccines, this coronavirus pandemic continues to cause a fervor with the identification of major new variants hailing from the United Kingdom, South Africa, Brazil, and California. Coupled with worries over a distinct mink strain that has caused human infections and potential for further mutations, SARS-CoV-2 variants bring concerns for increased spread and escape from both vaccine and natural infection immunity. Here, we outline factors driving SARS-CoV-2 variant evolution, explore the potential impact of specific mutations, examine the risk of further mutations, and consider the experimental studies needed to understand the threat these variants pose. In this review, Plante et al. examine SARS-CoV-2 variants including B.1.1.7 (UK), B.1.351 (RSA), P.1 (Brazil), and B.1.429 (California). They focus on what factors contribute to variant emergence, mutations in and outside the spike protein, and studies needed to understand the impact of variants on infection, transmission, and vaccine efficacy.


Subject(s)
Mutation , SARS-CoV-2/genetics , Spike Glycoprotein, Coronavirus/genetics , Humans , SARS-CoV-2/immunology , Spike Glycoprotein, Coronavirus/chemistry , Spike Glycoprotein, Coronavirus/immunology
19.
Nature ; 596(7871): 273-275, 2021 08.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1263498

ABSTRACT

Severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2) is continuing to evolve around the world, generating new variants that are of concern on the basis of their potential for altered transmissibility, pathogenicity, and coverage by vaccines and therapeutic agents1-5. Here we show that serum samples taken from twenty human volunteers, two or four weeks after their second dose of the BNT162b2 vaccine, neutralize engineered SARS-CoV-2 with a USA-WA1/2020 genetic background (a virus strain isolated in January 2020) and spike glycoproteins from the recently identified B.1.617.1, B.1.617.2, B.1.618 (all of which were first identified in India) or B.1.525 (first identified in Nigeria) lineages. Geometric mean plaque reduction neutralization titres against the variant viruses-particularly the B.1.617.1 variant-seemed to be lower than the titre against the USA-WA1/2020 virus, but all sera tested neutralized the variant viruses at titres of at least 1:40. The susceptibility of the variant strains to neutralization elicited by the BNT162b2 vaccine supports mass immunization as a central strategy to end the coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) pandemic globally.


Subject(s)
Antibodies, Neutralizing/immunology , Antibodies, Viral/immunology , COVID-19 Vaccines/immunology , COVID-19/immunology , COVID-19/virology , Neutralization Tests , SARS-CoV-2/immunology , Animals , Antibodies, Neutralizing/blood , Antibodies, Viral/blood , COVID-19/prevention & control , COVID-19 Vaccines/genetics , Chlorocebus aethiops , Humans , SARS-CoV-2/genetics , Spike Glycoprotein, Coronavirus/chemistry , Spike Glycoprotein, Coronavirus/genetics , Spike Glycoprotein, Coronavirus/immunology , Vaccines, Synthetic/genetics , Vero Cells
20.
mSphere ; 6(3): e0017021, 2021 06 30.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1255525

ABSTRACT

Neutralizing antibodies are key determinants of protection from future infection, yet well-validated high-throughput assays for measuring titers of SARS-CoV-2-neutralizing antibodies are not generally available. Here, we describe the development and validation of IMMUNO-COV v2.0, a scalable surrogate virus assay, which titrates antibodies that block infection of Vero-ACE2 cells by a luciferase-encoding vesicular stomatitis virus displaying SARS-CoV-2 spike glycoproteins (VSV-SARS2-Fluc). Antibody titers, calculated using a standard curve consisting of stepped concentrations of SARS-CoV-2 spike monoclonal antibody, correlated closely (P < 0.0001) with titers obtained from a gold standard 50% plaque-reduction neutralization test (PRNT50%) performed using a clinical isolate of SARS-CoV-2. IMMUNO-COV v2.0 was comprehensively validated using data acquired from 242 assay runs performed over 7 days by five analysts, utilizing two separate virus lots, and 176 blood samples. Assay performance was acceptable for clinical use in human serum and plasma based on parameters including linearity, dynamic range, limit of blank and limit of detection, dilutional linearity and parallelism, precision, clinical agreement, matrix equivalence, clinical specificity and sensitivity, and robustness. Sufficient VSV-SARS2-Fluc virus reagent has been banked to test 5 million clinical samples. Notably, a significant drop in IMMUNO-COV v2.0 neutralizing antibody titers was observed over a 6-month period in people recovered from SARS-CoV-2 infection. Together, our results demonstrate the feasibility and utility of IMMUNO-COV v2.0 for measuring SARS-CoV-2-neutralizing antibodies in vaccinated individuals and those recovering from natural infections. Such monitoring can be used to better understand what levels of neutralizing antibodies are required for protection from SARS-CoV-2 and what booster dosing schedules are needed to sustain vaccine-induced immunity. IMPORTANCE Since its emergence at the end of 2019, SARS-CoV-2, the causative agent of COVID-19, has caused over 100 million infections and 2.4 million deaths worldwide. Recently, countries have begun administering approved COVID-19 vaccines, which elicit strong immune responses and prevent disease in most vaccinated individuals. A key component of the protective immune response is the production of neutralizing antibodies capable of preventing future SARS-CoV-2 infection. Yet, fundamental questions remain regarding the longevity of neutralizing antibody responses following infection or vaccination and the level of neutralizing antibodies required to confer protection. Our work is significant as it describes the development and validation of a scalable clinical assay that measures SARS-CoV-2-neutraling antibody titers. We have critical virus reagent to test over 5 million samples, making our assay well suited for widespread monitoring of SARS-CoV-2-neutralizing antibodies, which can in turn be used to inform vaccine dosing schedules and answer fundamental questions regarding SARS-CoV-2 immunity.


Subject(s)
Antibodies, Neutralizing/blood , Antibodies, Viral/blood , High-Throughput Screening Assays/methods , Animals , Chlorocebus aethiops , Humans , Limit of Detection , Neutralization Tests/methods , Severity of Illness Index , Vero Cells
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