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1.
Arch Toxicol ; 96(8): 2329-2339, 2022 08.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1930384

ABSTRACT

BriLife®, a vector-based vaccine that utilizes the recombinant vesicular stomatitis virus (VSV) platform to express and present the spike antigen of SARS-CoV-2, is undergoing testing in a phase 2 clinical trial in Israel. A nonclinical repeated-dose (GLP) toxicity study in New Zealand white rabbits was performed to evaluate the potential toxicity, local tolerance, immunogenicity and biodistribution of the vaccine. rVSV-ΔG-SARS-CoV-2-S (or vehicle) was administered intramuscularly to two groups of animals (106, 107 PFU/animal, n = 10/sex/group) on three occasions, at 2-week intervals, followed by a 3-week recovery period. Systemic clinical signs, local reactions, body weight, body temperature, food consumption, ophthalmology, urinalysis, clinical pathology, C-reactive protein, viremia and antibody levels were monitored. Gross pathology was performed, followed by organs/tissues collection for biodistribution and histopathological evaluation. Treatment-related changes were restricted to multifocal minimal myofiber necrosis at the injection sites, and increased lymphocytic cellularity in the iliac and mesenteric lymph nodes and in the spleen. These changes were considered related to the inflammatory reaction elicited, and correlated with a trend for recovery. Detection of rVSV-ΔG-SARS-CoV-2-S vaccine RNA was noted in the regional iliac lymph node in animals assigned to the high-dose group, at both termination time points. A significant increase in binding and neutralizing antibody titers was observed following vaccination at both vaccine doses. In view of the findings, it was concluded that the rVSV-ΔG-SARS-CoV-2-S vaccine is safe. These results supported the initiation of clinical trials.


Subject(s)
COVID-19 Vaccines , COVID-19 , Animals , Antibodies, Neutralizing , Antibodies, Viral , COVID-19/prevention & control , COVID-19 Vaccines/adverse effects , Rabbits , SARS-CoV-2 , Tissue Distribution
2.
EuropePMC; 2020.
Preprint in English | EuropePMC | ID: ppcovidwho-320971

ABSTRACT

This study describes the development of a novel assay for SARS-CoV-2 identification using LC-MS/MS analysis. A multi-step procedure for the rational down-selection of a set of markers has leaded to the discovery of six SARS-CoV-2 specific and sensitive markers, enabling the reliable identification of the virus. A rapid and simple assay was developed, successfully applied to clinical nasopharyngeal samples. The assay may potentially serve as a complementary approach for SARS-CoV-2 identification.

3.
Arch Toxicol ; 96(3): 859-875, 2022 03.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1634984

ABSTRACT

rVSV-ΔG-SARS-CoV-2-S is a clinical stage (Phase 2) replication competent recombinant vaccine against SARS-CoV-2. To evaluate the safety profile of the vaccine, a series of non-clinical safety, immunogenicity and efficacy studies were conducted in four animal species, using multiple doses (up to 108 Plaque Forming Units/animal) and dosing regimens. There were no treatment-related mortalities or any noticeable clinical signs in any of the studies. Compared to unvaccinated controls, hematology and biochemistry parameters were unremarkable and no adverse histopathological findings. There was no detectable viral shedding in urine, nor viral RNA detected in whole blood or serum samples seven days post vaccination. The rVSV-ΔG-SARS-CoV-2-S vaccination gave rise to neutralizing antibodies, cellular immune responses, and increased lymphocytic cellularity in the spleen germinal centers and regional lymph nodes. No evidence for neurovirulence was found in C57BL/6 immune competent mice or in highly sensitive type I interferon knock-out mice. Vaccine virus replication and distribution in K18-human Angiotensin-converting enzyme 2-transgenic mice showed a gradual clearance from the vaccination site with no vaccine virus recovered from the lungs. The nonclinical data suggest that the rVSV-ΔG-SARS-CoV-2-S vaccine is safe and immunogenic. These results supported the initiation of clinical trials, currently in Phase 2.


Subject(s)
COVID-19 Vaccines/toxicity , Animals , Antibodies, Neutralizing/blood , Antibodies, Viral/blood , COVID-19 Vaccines/immunology , Cricetinae , Female , Membrane Glycoproteins/genetics , Mesocricetus , Mice , Mice, Inbred C57BL , Rabbits , Swine , Vaccination , Vaccines, Synthetic/toxicity , Viral Envelope Proteins/genetics
4.
Antibodies (Basel) ; 10(4)2021 Nov 08.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1512074

ABSTRACT

The use of passively-administered neutralizing antibodies is a promising approach for the prevention and treatment of SARS-CoV-2 infection. Antibody-mediated protection may involve immune system recruitment through Fc-dependent activation of effector cells and the complement system. However, the role of Fc-mediated functions in the efficacious in-vivo neutralization of SARS-CoV-2 is not yet clear, and it is of high importance to delineate the role this process plays in antibody-mediated protection. Toward this aim, we have chosen two highly potent SARS-CoV-2 neutralizing human monoclonal antibodies, MD65 and BLN1 that target distinct domains of the spike (RBD and NTD, respectively). The Fc of these antibodies was engineered to include the triple mutation N297G/S298G/T299A that eliminates glycosylation and the binding to FcγR and to the complement system activator C1q. As expected, the virus neutralization activity (in-vitro) of the engineered antibodies was retained. To study the role of Fc-mediated functions, the protective activity of these antibodies was tested against lethal SARS-CoV-2 infection of K18-hACE2 transgenic mice, when treatment was initiated either before or two days post-exposure. Antibody treatment with both Fc-variants similarly rescued the mice from death reduced viral load and prevented signs of morbidity. Taken together, this work provides important insight regarding the contribution of Fc-effector functions in MD65 and BLN1 antibody-mediated protection, which should aid in the future design of effective antibody-based therapies.

5.
Front Bioeng Biotechnol ; 9: 737627, 2021.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1477802

ABSTRACT

The COVID-19 pandemic initiated a worldwide race toward the development of treatments and vaccines. Small animal models included the Syrian golden hamster and the K18-hACE2 mice infected with SARS-CoV-2 to display a disease state with some aspects of human COVID-19. A group activity of animals in their home cage continuously monitored by the HCMS100 (Home cage Monitoring System 100) was used as a sensitive marker of disease, successfully detecting morbidity symptoms of SARS-CoV-2 infection in hamsters and in K18-hACE2 mice. COVID-19 convalescent hamsters rechallenged with SARS-CoV-2 exhibited minor reduction in group activity compared to naive hamsters. To evaluate the rVSV-ΔG-spike vaccination efficacy against SARS-CoV-2, we used the HCMS100 to monitor the group activity of hamsters in their home cage. A single-dose rVSV-ΔG-spike vaccination of the immunized group showed a faster recovery than the nonimmunized infected hamsters, substantiating the efficacy of rVSV-ΔG-spike vaccine. HCMS100 offers nonintrusive, hands-free monitoring of a number of home cages of hamsters or mice modeling COVID-19.

6.
Cell Rep ; 36(10): 109679, 2021 09 07.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1363916

ABSTRACT

A wide range of severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2) neutralizing monoclonal antibodies (mAbs) have been reported, most of which target the spike glycoprotein. Therapeutic implementation of these antibodies has been challenged by emerging SARS-CoV-2 variants harboring mutated spike versions. Consequently, re-assessment of previously identified mAbs is of high priority. Four previously selected mAbs targeting non-overlapping epitopes are now evaluated for binding potency to mutated RBD versions, reported to mediate escape from antibody neutralization. In vitro neutralization potencies of these mAbs, and two NTD-specific mAbs, are evaluated against two frequent SARS-CoV-2 variants of concern, the B.1.1.7 Alpha and the B.1.351 Beta. Furthermore, we demonstrate therapeutic potential of three selected mAbs by treatment of K18-human angiotensin-converting enzyme 2 (hACE2) transgenic mice 2 days post-infection with each virus variant. Thus, despite the accumulation of spike mutations, the highly potent MD65 and BL6 mAbs retain their ability to bind the prevalent viral mutants, effectively protecting against B.1.1.7 and B.1.351 variants.


Subject(s)
Antibodies, Monoclonal/immunology , Antibodies, Neutralizing/immunology , SARS-CoV-2/immunology , Animals , Antibodies, Monoclonal/administration & dosage , Antibodies, Monoclonal/chemistry , Antibodies, Neutralizing/administration & dosage , Antibodies, Neutralizing/chemistry , Antibody Affinity , COVID-19/therapy , COVID-19/virology , Epitopes/genetics , Epitopes/immunology , Humans , Immunization, Passive , Mice , Mice, Transgenic , Models, Molecular , Neutralization Tests , Protein Domains , Spike Glycoprotein, Coronavirus/chemistry , Spike Glycoprotein, Coronavirus/genetics , Spike Glycoprotein, Coronavirus/immunology , Treatment Outcome
7.
JCI Insight ; 6(12)2021 06 22.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1223641

ABSTRACT

Mice are normally unaffected by SARS coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2) infection since the virus does not bind effectively to the murine version of the angiotensin-converting enzyme 2 (ACE2) receptor molecule. Here, we report that induced mild pulmonary morbidities rendered SARS-CoV-2-refractive CD-1 mice susceptible to this virus. Specifically, SARS-CoV-2 infection after application of low doses of the acute lung injury stimulants bleomycin or ricin caused severe disease in CD-1 mice, manifested by sustained body weight loss and mortality rates greater than 50%. Further studies revealed markedly higher levels of viral RNA in the lungs, heart, and serum of low-dose ricin-pretreated mice compared with non-pretreated mice. Furthermore, lung extracts prepared 2-3 days after viral infection contained subgenomic mRNA and virus particles capable of replication only when derived from the pretreated mice. The deleterious effects of SARS-CoV-2 infection were effectively alleviated by passive transfer of polyclonal or monoclonal antibodies generated against the SARS-CoV-2 receptor binding domain (RBD). Thus, viral cell entry in the sensitized mice seems to depend on viral RBD binding, albeit by a mechanism other than the canonical ACE2-mediated uptake route. This unique mode of viral entry, observed over a mildly injured tissue background, may contribute to the exacerbation of coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) pathologies in patients with preexisting morbidities.


Subject(s)
Bleomycin/toxicity , COVID-19/pathology , Lung Injury , Ricin/toxicity , Animals , Chlorocebus aethiops , Comorbidity , Disease Models, Animal , Female , Lung Injury/chemically induced , Lung Injury/virology , Mice , Vero Cells , Virus Attachment , Virus Internalization/drug effects
8.
iScience ; 24(5): 102479, 2021 May 21.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1202318

ABSTRACT

Neutralizing antibodies represent a valuable therapeutic approach to countermeasure the current COVID-19 pandemic. Emergence of SARS-CoV-2 variants emphasizes the notion that antibody treatments need to rely on highly neutralizing monoclonal antibodies (mAbs), targeting several distinct epitopes for circumventing therapy escape mutants. Previously, we reported efficient human therapeutic mAbs recognizing epitopes on the spike receptor-binding domain (RBD) of SARS-CoV-2. Here we report the isolation, characterization, and recombinant production of 12 neutralizing human mAbs, targeting three distinct epitopes on the spike N-terminal domain of the virus. Neutralization mechanism of these antibodies involves receptors other than the canonical hACE2 on target cells, relying both on amino acid and N-glycan epitope recognition, suggesting alternative viral cellular portals. Two selected mAbs demonstrated full protection of K18-hACE2 transgenic mice when administered at low doses and late post-exposure, demonstrating the high potential of the mAbs for therapy of SARS-CoV-2 infection.

9.
ACS Omega ; 6(5): 3525-3534, 2021 Feb 09.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1083828

ABSTRACT

SARS-CoV-2, the etiologic agent of the COVID-19 pandemic, emerged as the cause of a global crisis. Rapid and reliable clinical diagnosis is essential for effectively controlling transmission. The gold standard assay for SARS-CoV-2 identification is the highly sensitive real-time quantitative polymerase chain reaction (RT-qPCR); however, this assay depends on specialized reagents and may suffer from false results. Thus, additional assays based on different approaches could be beneficial. Here, we present a novel method for SARS-CoV-2 identification based on mass spectrometry. The approach we implemented combines a multistep procedure for the rational down-selection of a set of reliable markers out of all optional in silico derived tryptic peptides in viral proteins, followed by monitoring of peptides derived from tryptic digests of purified proteins, cell-cultured SARS-CoV-2, and nasopharyngeal (NP) swab matrix spiked with the virus. The marker selection was based on specificity to SARS-CoV-2 and on analytical parameters including sensitivity, linearity, and reproducibility. The final assay is based on six unique and specific peptide markers for SARS-CoV-2 identification. The simple and rapid (2.5 h) protocol we developed consists of virus heat inactivation and denaturation, tryptic digestion, and identification of the selected markers by liquid chromatography coupled to high-resolution mass spectrometry (LC-MS/MS). The developed assay enabled the identification of 104 PFU/mL SARS-CoV-2 spiked into buffer. Finally, the assay was successfully applied to 16 clinical samples diagnosed by RT-qPCR, achieving 94% concordance with the current gold standard assay. To conclude, the novel MS-based assay described here is specific, rapid, simple, and is believed to provide a complementary assay to the RT-qPCR method.

10.
Nat Commun ; 12(1): 944, 2021 02 11.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1078588

ABSTRACT

The coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) pandemic, caused by the severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2), exhibits high levels of mortality and morbidity and has dramatic consequences on human life, sociality and global economy. Neutralizing antibodies constitute a highly promising approach for treating and preventing infection by this novel pathogen. In the present study, we characterize and further evaluate the recently identified human monoclonal MD65 antibody for its ability to provide protection against a lethal SARS-CoV-2 infection of K18-hACE2 transgenic mice. Eighty percent of the untreated mice succumbed 6-9 days post-infection, while administration of the MD65 antibody as late as 3 days after exposure rescued all infected animals. In addition, the efficiency of the treatment is supported by prevention of morbidity and ablation of the load of infective virions in the lungs of treated animals. The data demonstrate the therapeutic value of human monoclonal antibodies as a life-saving treatment for severe COVID-19 infection.


Subject(s)
Antibodies, Monoclonal/administration & dosage , Antibodies, Neutralizing/administration & dosage , Antibodies, Viral/administration & dosage , COVID-19/immunology , Animals , Antibodies, Monoclonal/genetics , Antibodies, Monoclonal/immunology , Antibodies, Neutralizing/genetics , Antibodies, Neutralizing/immunology , Antibodies, Viral/genetics , Antibodies, Viral/immunology , COVID-19/drug therapy , Chlorocebus aethiops , Female , Immunoglobulin G/administration & dosage , Immunoglobulin G/genetics , Immunoglobulin G/immunology , Lung/pathology , Lung/virology , Male , Mice, Inbred C57BL , Mice, Transgenic , SARS-CoV-2/classification , SARS-CoV-2/physiology , Seroconversion , Vero Cells , Viral Load
11.
Nat Commun ; 11(1): 6402, 2020 12 16.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-983658

ABSTRACT

The COVID-19 pandemic caused by SARS-CoV-2 imposes an urgent need for rapid development of an efficient and cost-effective vaccine, suitable for mass immunization. Here, we show the development of a replication competent recombinant VSV-∆G-spike vaccine, in which the glycoprotein of VSV is replaced by the spike protein of SARS-CoV-2. In-vitro characterization of this vaccine indicates the expression and presentation of the spike protein on the viral membrane with antigenic similarity to SARS-CoV-2. A golden Syrian hamster in-vivo model for COVID-19 is implemented. We show that a single-dose vaccination results in a rapid and potent induction of SARS-CoV-2 neutralizing antibodies. Importantly, vaccination protects hamsters against SARS-CoV-2 challenge, as demonstrated by the abrogation of body weight loss, and  alleviation of the extensive tissue damage and viral loads in lungs and nasal turbinates. Taken together, we suggest the recombinant VSV-∆G-spike as a safe, efficacious and protective vaccine against SARS-CoV-2.


Subject(s)
COVID-19 Vaccines/immunology , COVID-19/immunology , COVID-19/prevention & control , SARS-CoV-2/immunology , Spike Glycoprotein, Coronavirus/immunology , Vaccines, Synthetic/immunology , Vesicular stomatitis Indiana virus/immunology , Animals , Antibodies, Viral/immunology , Antigens, Viral/immunology , Body Weight , COVID-19/virology , Cell Line , Cricetinae , Disease Models, Animal , Dose-Response Relationship, Immunologic , Genome, Viral , Lung/pathology , Lung/virology , Mice, Inbred C57BL , Mutation/genetics , SARS-CoV-2/genetics , Spike Glycoprotein, Coronavirus/genetics , Spike Glycoprotein, Coronavirus/ultrastructure , Vaccination , Viral Load
12.
Clin Microbiol Infect ; 26(12): 1658-1662, 2020 Dec.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-753742

ABSTRACT

OBJECTIVES: Environmental surfaces have been suggested as likely contributors in the transmission of COVID-19. This study assessed the infectivity of severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2) contaminating surfaces and objects in two hospital isolation units and a quarantine hotel. METHODS: SARS-CoV-2 virus stability and infectivity on non-porous surfaces was tested under controlled laboratory conditions. Surface and air sampling were conducted at two COVID-19 isolation units and in a quarantine hotel. Viral RNA was detected by RT-PCR and infectivity was assessed by VERO E6 CPE test. RESULTS: In laboratory-controlled conditions, SARS-CoV-2 gradually lost its infectivity completely by day 4 at ambient temperature, and the decay rate of viral viability on surfaces directly correlated with increase in temperature. Viral RNA was detected in 29/55 surface samples (52.7%) and 16/42 surface samples (38%) from the surroundings of symptomatic COVID-19 patients in isolation units of two hospitals and in a quarantine hotel for asymptomatic and very mild COVID-19 patients. None of the surface and air samples from the three sites (0/97) were found to contain infectious titres of SARS-Cov-2 on tissue culture assay. CONCLUSIONS: Despite prolonged viability of SARS-CoV-2 under laboratory-controlled conditions, uncultivable viral contamination of inanimate surfaces might suggest low feasibility for indirect fomite transmission.


Subject(s)
COVID-19/transmission , Fomites/virology , Hospitals, Isolation/statistics & numerical data , Housing/statistics & numerical data , Microbial Viability , SARS-CoV-2/isolation & purification , COVID-19/virology , Humans , RNA, Viral/isolation & purification , Surface Properties , Temperature
13.
Nat Commun ; 11(1): 4303, 2020 08 27.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-733523

ABSTRACT

The novel highly transmissible human coronavirus SARS-CoV-2 is the causative agent of the COVID-19 pandemic. Thus far, there is no approved therapeutic drug specifically targeting this emerging virus. Here we report the isolation and characterization of a panel of human neutralizing monoclonal antibodies targeting the SARS-CoV-2 receptor binding domain (RBD). These antibodies were selected from a phage display library constructed using peripheral circulatory lymphocytes collected from patients at the acute phase of the disease. These neutralizing antibodies are shown to recognize distinct epitopes on the viral spike RBD. A subset of the antibodies exert their inhibitory activity by abrogating binding of the RBD to the human ACE2 receptor. The human monoclonal antibodies described here represent a promising basis for the design of efficient combined post-exposure therapy for SARS-CoV-2 infection.


Subject(s)
Antibodies, Monoclonal/immunology , Antibodies, Neutralizing/immunology , Betacoronavirus/immunology , Spike Glycoprotein, Coronavirus/immunology , Angiotensin-Converting Enzyme 2 , Animals , Antibodies, Monoclonal/metabolism , Antibodies, Neutralizing/metabolism , Antibodies, Viral/immunology , Antibodies, Viral/metabolism , Betacoronavirus/metabolism , Chlorocebus aethiops , Epitope Mapping , Epitopes , Humans , Peptide Library , Peptidyl-Dipeptidase A/metabolism , Protein Binding , Protein Interaction Domains and Motifs , SARS-CoV-2 , Spike Glycoprotein, Coronavirus/chemistry , Spike Glycoprotein, Coronavirus/metabolism , Vero Cells
14.
Int J Infect Dis ; 99: 352-354, 2020 Oct.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-703985

ABSTRACT

The genetic identification of severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2) is based on viral RNA extraction prior to RT-qPCR assay. However, recent studies have supported the elimination of the extraction step. This study was performed to assess the necessity for the RNA extraction, by comparing the efficacy of RT-qPCR in several direct approaches versus the gold standard RNA extraction, in the detection of SARS-CoV-2 in laboratory samples, as well as in clinical oro-nasopharyngeal SARS-CoV-2 swabs. The findings showed an advantage for the extraction procedure; however a direct no-buffer approach might be an alternative, since it identified more than 60% of positive clinical specimens.


Subject(s)
Betacoronavirus/genetics , Coronavirus Infections/diagnosis , Pneumonia, Viral/diagnosis , RNA, Viral/isolation & purification , Real-Time Polymerase Chain Reaction/methods , Animals , COVID-19 , Chlorocebus aethiops , Feasibility Studies , Humans , Nasal Cavity/virology , Pandemics , RNA, Viral/genetics , SARS-CoV-2 , Vero Cells
15.
Microbiol Resour Announc ; 9(28)2020 Jul 09.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-638622

ABSTRACT

We announce the genome sequences of two strains of severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2) isolated in Israel, one imported by a traveler who returned from Japan and the second strain collected from a patient infected by a traveler returning from Italy. The sequences obtained are valuable as early manifestations for future follow-up of the local spread of the virus in Israel.

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