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2.
Cell Res ; 31(8): 847-860, 2021 08.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1387284

ABSTRACT

Cytokine storm and multi-organ failure are the main causes of SARS-CoV-2-related death. However, the origin of excessive damages caused by SARS-CoV-2 remains largely unknown. Here we show that the SARS-CoV-2 envelope (2-E) protein alone is able to cause acute respiratory distress syndrome (ARDS)-like damages in vitro and in vivo. 2-E proteins were found to form a type of pH-sensitive cation channels in bilayer lipid membranes. As observed in SARS-CoV-2-infected cells, heterologous expression of 2-E channels induced rapid cell death in various susceptible cell types and robust secretion of cytokines and chemokines in macrophages. Intravenous administration of purified 2-E protein into mice caused ARDS-like pathological damages in lung and spleen. A dominant negative mutation lowering 2-E channel activity attenuated cell death and SARS-CoV-2 production. Newly identified channel inhibitors exhibited potent anti-SARS-CoV-2 activity and excellent cell protective activity in vitro and these activities were positively correlated with inhibition of 2-E channel. Importantly, prophylactic and therapeutic administration of the channel inhibitor effectively reduced both the viral load and secretion of inflammation cytokines in lungs of SARS-CoV-2-infected transgenic mice expressing human angiotensin-converting enzyme 2 (hACE-2). Our study supports that 2-E is a promising drug target against SARS-CoV-2.


Subject(s)
Antiviral Agents/metabolism , COVID-19/pathology , Coronavirus Envelope Proteins/metabolism , Respiratory Distress Syndrome/etiology , SARS-CoV-2/metabolism , Angiotensin-Converting Enzyme 2/genetics , Animals , Antiviral Agents/chemistry , Antiviral Agents/therapeutic use , Apoptosis , COVID-19/complications , COVID-19/drug therapy , COVID-19/virology , Coronavirus Envelope Proteins/antagonists & inhibitors , Coronavirus Envelope Proteins/genetics , Cytokines/metabolism , Disease Models, Animal , Half-Life , Humans , Lung/metabolism , Lung/pathology , Mice , Mice, Inbred C57BL , Mice, Transgenic , Mutagenesis, Site-Directed , SARS-CoV-2/isolation & purification , SARS-CoV-2/pathogenicity , Spleen/metabolism , Spleen/pathology , Viral Load , Virulence
3.
Cell Res ; 31(9): 1011-1023, 2021 09.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1315592

ABSTRACT

Severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2) has caused a global crisis, urgently necessitating the development of safe, efficacious, convenient-to-store, and low-cost vaccine options. A major challenge is that the receptor-binding domain (RBD)-only vaccine fails to trigger long-lasting protective immunity if used alone for vaccination. To enhance antigen processing and cross-presentation in draining lymph nodes (DLNs), we developed an interferon (IFN)-armed RBD dimerized by an immunoglobulin fragment (I-R-F). I-R-F efficiently directs immunity against RBD to DLNs. A low dose of I-R-F induces not only high titers of long-lasting neutralizing antibodies (NAbs) but also more comprehensive T cell responses than RBD. Notably, I-R-F provides comprehensive protection in the form of a one-dose vaccine without an adjuvant. Our study shows that the pan-epitope modified human I-R-F (I-P-R-F) vaccine provides rapid and complete protection throughout the upper and lower respiratory tracts against a high-dose SARS-CoV-2 challenge in rhesus macaques. Based on these promising results, we have initiated a randomized, placebo-controlled, phase I/II trial of the human I-P-R-F vaccine (V-01) in 180 healthy adults, and the vaccine appears safe and elicits strong antiviral immune responses. Due to its potency and safety, this engineered vaccine may become a next-generation vaccine candidate in the global effort to overcome COVID-19.


Subject(s)
COVID-19 Vaccines/immunology , COVID-19/immunology , Immunogenicity, Vaccine/immunology , Protein Binding/immunology , Protein Domains/immunology , SARS-CoV-2/immunology , Adolescent , Adult , Animals , Antibodies, Neutralizing/immunology , Antibodies, Viral/immunology , Antiviral Agents/immunology , Cell Line , Chlorocebus aethiops , Double-Blind Method , Female , HEK293 Cells , Humans , Interferons/immunology , Macaca mulatta , Mice , Mice, Inbred BALB C , Mice, Inbred C57BL , Middle Aged , Vaccination/methods , Vero Cells , Young Adult
4.
Innovation (N Y) ; 2(3): 100140, 2021 Aug 28.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1275768

ABSTRACT

A safe and effective vaccine is critical to combat the COVID-19 pandemic. Here, we developed a trimeric SARS-CoV-2 receptor-binding domain (RBD) subunit vaccine candidate that simulates the natural structure of the spike (S) trimer glycoprotein. Immunization with the RBD trimer-induced robust humoral and cellular immune responses, and a high level of neutralizing antibodies was maintained for at least 4.5 months. Moreover, the antibodies that were produced in response to the vaccine effectively cross-neutralized the SARS-CoV-2 501Y.V2 variant (B.1.351). Of note, when the vaccine-induced antibodies dropped to a sufficiently low level, only one boost quickly activated the anamnestic immune response, conferring full protection against a SARS-CoV-2 challenge in rhesus macaques without typical histopathological changes in the lung tissues. These results demonstrated that the SARS-CoV-2 RBD trimer vaccine candidate is highly immunogenic and safe, providing long-lasting, broad, and significant immunity protection in nonhuman primates, thereby offering an optimal vaccination strategy against COVID-19.

5.
Cell Res ; 31(8): 847-860, 2021 08.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1265947

ABSTRACT

Cytokine storm and multi-organ failure are the main causes of SARS-CoV-2-related death. However, the origin of excessive damages caused by SARS-CoV-2 remains largely unknown. Here we show that the SARS-CoV-2 envelope (2-E) protein alone is able to cause acute respiratory distress syndrome (ARDS)-like damages in vitro and in vivo. 2-E proteins were found to form a type of pH-sensitive cation channels in bilayer lipid membranes. As observed in SARS-CoV-2-infected cells, heterologous expression of 2-E channels induced rapid cell death in various susceptible cell types and robust secretion of cytokines and chemokines in macrophages. Intravenous administration of purified 2-E protein into mice caused ARDS-like pathological damages in lung and spleen. A dominant negative mutation lowering 2-E channel activity attenuated cell death and SARS-CoV-2 production. Newly identified channel inhibitors exhibited potent anti-SARS-CoV-2 activity and excellent cell protective activity in vitro and these activities were positively correlated with inhibition of 2-E channel. Importantly, prophylactic and therapeutic administration of the channel inhibitor effectively reduced both the viral load and secretion of inflammation cytokines in lungs of SARS-CoV-2-infected transgenic mice expressing human angiotensin-converting enzyme 2 (hACE-2). Our study supports that 2-E is a promising drug target against SARS-CoV-2.


Subject(s)
Antiviral Agents/metabolism , COVID-19/pathology , Coronavirus Envelope Proteins/metabolism , Respiratory Distress Syndrome/etiology , SARS-CoV-2/metabolism , Angiotensin-Converting Enzyme 2/genetics , Animals , Antiviral Agents/chemistry , Antiviral Agents/therapeutic use , Apoptosis , COVID-19/complications , COVID-19/drug therapy , COVID-19/virology , Coronavirus Envelope Proteins/antagonists & inhibitors , Coronavirus Envelope Proteins/genetics , Cytokines/metabolism , Disease Models, Animal , Half-Life , Humans , Lung/metabolism , Lung/pathology , Mice , Mice, Inbred C57BL , Mice, Transgenic , Mutagenesis, Site-Directed , SARS-CoV-2/isolation & purification , SARS-CoV-2/pathogenicity , Spleen/metabolism , Spleen/pathology , Viral Load , Virulence
6.
Zool Res ; 42(2): 161-169, 2021 Mar 18.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1070034

ABSTRACT

Severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2) and coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) continue to impact countries worldwide. At present, inadequate diagnosis and unreliable evaluation systems hinder the implementation and development of effective prevention and treatment strategies. Here, we conducted a horizontal and longitudinal study comparing the detection rates of SARS-CoV-2 nucleic acid in different types of samples collected from COVID-19 patients and SARS-CoV-2-infected monkeys. We also detected anti-SARS-CoV-2 antibodies in the above clinical and animal model samples to identify a reliable approach for the accurate diagnosis of SARS-CoV-2 infection. Results showed that, regardless of clinical symptoms, the highest detection levels of viral nucleic acid were found in sputum and tracheal brush samples, resulting in a high and stable diagnosis rate. Anti-SARS-CoV-2 immunoglobulin M (IgM) and G (IgG) antibodies were not detected in 6.90% of COVID-19 patients. Furthermore, integration of nucleic acid detection results from the various sample types did not improve the diagnosis rate. Moreover, dynamic changes in SARS-CoV-2 viral load were more obvious in sputum and tracheal brushes than in nasal and throat swabs. Thus, SARS-CoV-2 nucleic acid detection in sputum and tracheal brushes was the least affected by infection route, disease progression, and individual differences. Therefore, SARS-CoV-2 nucleic acid detection using lower respiratory tract samples alone is reliable for COVID-19 diagnosis and study.


Subject(s)
COVID-19 Testing/veterinary , COVID-19/diagnosis , SARS-CoV-2/genetics , Animals , Antibodies, Viral , Disease Models, Animal , Haplorhini , Humans , Longitudinal Studies , Pharynx/virology , Predictive Value of Tests , SARS-CoV-2/immunology , Specimen Handling , Sputum/virology
7.
Zool Res ; 41(5): 517-526, 2020 Sep 18.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-671953

ABSTRACT

The coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) pandemic continues to pose a global threat to the human population. Identifying animal species susceptible to infection with the SARS-CoV-2/ HCoV-19 pathogen is essential for controlling the outbreak and for testing valid prophylactics or therapeutics based on animal model studies. Here, different aged Chinese tree shrews (adult group, 1 year old; old group, 5-6 years old), which are close relatives to primates, were infected with SARS-CoV-2. X-ray, viral shedding, laboratory, and histological analyses were performed on different days post-inoculation (dpi). Results showed that Chinese tree shrews could be infected by SARS-CoV-2. Lung infiltrates were visible in X-ray radiographs in most infected animals. Viral RNA was consistently detected in lung tissues from infected animals at 3, 5, and 7 dpi, along with alterations in related parameters from routine blood tests and serum biochemistry, including increased levels of aspartate aminotransferase (AST) and blood urea nitrogen (BUN). Histological analysis of lung tissues from animals at 3 dpi (adult group) and 7 dpi (old group) showed thickened alveolar septa and interstitial hemorrhage. Several differences were found between the two different aged groups in regard to viral shedding peak. Our results indicate that Chinese tree shrews have the potential to be used as animal models for SARS-CoV-2 infection.


Subject(s)
Betacoronavirus/growth & development , Coronavirus Infections/diagnosis , Disease Models, Animal , Lung/pathology , Pneumonia, Viral/diagnosis , Tupaiidae/physiology , Age Factors , Animals , Betacoronavirus/physiology , COVID-19 , Coronavirus Infections/transmission , Coronavirus Infections/virology , Female , Humans , Lung/virology , Male , Pandemics , Pneumonia, Viral/transmission , Pneumonia, Viral/virology , SARS-CoV-2 , Tupaiidae/virology , Virus Shedding/physiology
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