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1.
Preprint in English | medRxiv | ID: ppmedrxiv-22279589

ABSTRACT

BACKGROUNDThe rising breakthrough infections caused by severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2) variants, especially Omicron and its sub-lineages, have raised an urgent need to develop broad-spectrum vaccines against coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19). We have developed a mosaic-type recombinant vaccine candidate, named NVSI-06-09, having immune potentials against a broad range of SARS-CoV-2 variants. METHODSAn ongoing randomized, double-blind, controlled phase 2 trial was conducted to evaluate the safety and immunogenicity of NVSI-06-09 as a booster dose in subjects aged 18 years and older from the United Arab Emirates (UAE), who had completed two or three doses of BBIBP-CorV vaccinations at least 6 months prior to the enrollment. The participants were randomly assigned with 1:1 to receive a booster dose of NVSI-06-09 or BBIBP-CorV. The primary outcomes were immunogenicity and safety against SARS-CoV-2 Omicron variant, and the exploratory outcome was cross-immunogenicity against other circulating strains. RESULTSA total of 516 participants received booster vaccination. Interim results showed a similar safety profile between NVSI-06-09 and BBIBP-CorV booster groups, with low incidence of adverse reactions of grade 1 or 2. For immunogenicity, by day 14 after the booster vaccination, the fold rises in neutralizing antibody geometric mean titers (GMTs) from baseline level elicited by NVSI-06-09 were remarkably higher than those by BBIBP-CorV against the prototype strain (19.67 vs 4.47-fold), Omicron BA.1.1 (42.35 vs 3.78-fold), BA.2 (25.09 vs 2.91-fold), BA.4 (22.42 vs 2.69-fold), and BA.5 variants (27.06 vs 4.73-fold). Similarly, the neutralizing GMTs boosted by NVSI-06-09 against Beta and Delta variants were also 6.60-fold and 7.17-fold higher than those boosted by BBIBP-CorV. CONCLUSIONSA booster dose of NVSI-06-09 was well-tolerated and elicited broad-spectrum neutralizing responses against SARS-CoV-2 prototype strain and immune-evasive variants, including Omicron and its sub-lineages. The immunogenicity of NVSI-06-09 as a booster vaccine was superior to that of BBIBP-CorV. (Funded by LIBP and BIBP of Sinopharm; ClinicalTrials.gov number, NCT05293548).

2.
Preprint in English | bioRxiv | ID: ppbiorxiv-486173

ABSTRACT

Large-scale populations in the world have been vaccinated with COVID-19 vaccines, however, breakthrough infections of SARS-CoV-2 are still growing rapidly due to the emergence of immune-evasive variants, especially Omicron. It is urgent to develop effective broad-spectrum vaccines to better control the pandemic of these variants. Here, we present a mosaic-type trimeric form of spike receptor-binding domain (mos-tri-RBD) as a broad-spectrum vaccine candidate, which carries the key mutations from Omicron and other circulating variants. Tests in rats showed that the designed mos-tri-RBD, whether used alone or as a booster shot, elicited potent cross-neutralizing antibodies against not only Omicron but also other immune-evasive variants. Neutralizing antibody titers induced by mos-tri-RBD were substantially higher than those elicited by homo-tri-RBD (containing homologous RBDs from prototype strain) or the inactivated vaccine BBIBP-CorV. Our study indicates that mos-tri-RBD is highly immunogenic, which may serve as a broad-spectrum vaccine candidate in combating SARS-CoV-2 variants including Omicron.

3.
Preprint in English | bioRxiv | ID: ppbiorxiv-448958

ABSTRACT

The spike (S) protein receptor-binding domain (RBD) of SARS-CoV-2 is an attractive target for COVID-19 vaccine developments, which naturally exists in a trimeric form. Here, guided by structural and computational analyses, we present a mutation-integrated trimeric form of RBD (mutI tri-RBD) as a broadly protective vaccine candidate, in which three RBDs were individually grafted from three different circulating SARS-CoV-2 strains including the prototype, Beta (B.1.351) and Kappa (B.1.617). The three RBDs were then connected end-to-end and co-assembled to possibly mimic the native trimeric arrangements in the natural S protein trimer. The recombinant expression of the mutI tri-RBD, as well as the homo-tri-RBD where the three RBDs were all truncated from the prototype strain, by mammalian cell exhibited correct folding, strong bio-activities, and high stability. The immunization of both the mutI tri-RBD and homo-tri-RBD plus aluminum adjuvant induced high levels of specific IgG and neutralizing antibodies against the SARS-CoV-2 prototype strain in mice. Notably, regarding to the "immune-escape" Beta (B.1.351) variant, mutI tri-RBD elicited significantly higher neutralizing antibody titers than homo-tri-RBD. Furthermore, due to harboring the immune-resistant mutations as well as the evolutionarily convergent hotspots, the designed mutI tri-RBD also induced strong broadly neutralizing activities against various SARS-CoV-2 variants, especially the variants partially resistant to homo-tri-RBD. Homo-tri-RBD has been approved by the China National Medical Products Administration to enter clinical trial (No. NCT04869592), and the superior broad neutralization performances against SARS-CoV-2 support the mutI tri-RBD as a more promising vaccine candidate for further clinical developments.

4.
Preprint in English | bioRxiv | ID: ppbiorxiv-431566

ABSTRACT

The pandemic of the COVID-19 disease caused by SARS-CoV-2 has led to more than 100 million infections and over 2 million deaths worldwide. The progress in the developments of effective vaccines and neutralizing antibody therapeutics brings hopes to eliminate the threat of COVID-19. However, SARS-CoV-2 continues to mutate, and several new variants have been emerged. Among the various naturally-occurring mutations, the E484K mutation shared by both the 501Y.V2 and 501Y.V3 variants attracted serious concerns, which may potentially enhance the receptor binding affinity and reduce the immune response. In the present study, the molecular mechanism behind the impacts of E484K mutation on the binding affinity of the receptor-binding domain (RBD) with the receptor human angiotensin-converting enzyme 2 (hACE2) was investigated by using the molecular dynamics (MD) simulations combined with the molecular mechanics-generalized Born surface area (MMGBSA) method. Our results indicate that the E484K mutation results in more favorable electrostatic interactions compensating the burial of the charged and polar groups upon the binding of RBD with hACE2, which significantly improves the RBD-hACE2 binding affinity. Besides that, the E484K mutation also causes the conformational rearrangements of the loop region containing the mutant residue, which leads to more tight binding interface of RBD with hACE2 and formation of some new hydrogen bonds. The more tight binding interface and the new hydrogen bonds formation also contribute to the improved binding affinity of RBD to the receptor hACE2. In addition, six neutralizing antibodies and nanobodies complexed with RBD were selected to explore the effects of E484K mutation on the recognition of these antibodies to RBD. The simulation results show that the E484K mutation significantly reduces the binding affinities to RBD for most of the studied neutralizing antibodies, and the decrease in the binding affinities is mainly owing to the unfavorable electrostatic interactions caused by the mutation. Our studies revealed that the E484K mutation may improve the binding affinity between RBD and the receptor hACE2, implying more transmissibility of the E484K-containing variants, and weaken the binding affinities between RBD and the studied neutralizing antibodies, indicating reduced effectiveness of these antibodies. Our results provide valuable information for the effective vaccine development and antibody drugs design.

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