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Front Immunol ; 12: 710263, 2021.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1315952


The unprecedented global demand for SARS-CoV-2 vaccines has demonstrated the need for highly effective vaccine candidates that are thermostable and amenable to large-scale manufacturing. Nanoparticle immunogens presenting the receptor-binding domain (RBD) of the SARS-CoV-2 Spike protein (S) in repetitive arrays are being advanced as second-generation vaccine candidates, as they feature robust manufacturing characteristics and have shown promising immunogenicity in preclinical models. Here, we used previously reported deep mutational scanning (DMS) data to guide the design of stabilized variants of the RBD. The selected mutations fill a cavity in the RBD that has been identified as a linoleic acid binding pocket. Screening of several designs led to the selection of two lead candidates that expressed at higher yields than the wild-type RBD. These stabilized RBDs possess enhanced thermal stability and resistance to aggregation, particularly when incorporated into an icosahedral nanoparticle immunogen that maintained its integrity and antigenicity for 28 days at 35-40°C, while corresponding immunogens displaying the wild-type RBD experienced aggregation and loss of antigenicity. The stabilized immunogens preserved the potent immunogenicity of the original nanoparticle immunogen, which is currently being evaluated in a Phase I/II clinical trial. Our findings may improve the scalability and stability of RBD-based coronavirus vaccines in any format and more generally highlight the utility of comprehensive DMS data in guiding vaccine design.

COVID-19 Vaccines/administration & dosage , COVID-19/prevention & control , Immunization Schedule , Immunogenicity, Vaccine , Mutation , Protein Domains/genetics , Protein Domains/immunology , SARS-CoV-2/immunology , Spike Glycoprotein, Coronavirus/immunology , Animals , Antibodies, Neutralizing/blood , Antibodies, Neutralizing/immunology , Antibodies, Viral/blood , Antibodies, Viral/immunology , COVID-19/blood , COVID-19/virology , COVID-19 Vaccines/immunology , Chlorocebus aethiops , Female , HEK293 Cells , Humans , Linoleic Acids , Mice , Mice, Inbred BALB C , Nanoparticles/chemistry , Spike Glycoprotein, Coronavirus/chemistry , Treatment Outcome , Vero Cells
Sci Rep ; 11(1): 10824, 2021 05 24.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1242049


COVID-19 pneumonia has specific features and outcomes that suggests a unique immunopathogenesis. Severe forms of COVID-19 appear to be more frequent in obese patients, but an association with metabolic disorders is not established. Here, we focused on lipoprotein metabolism in patients hospitalized for severe pneumonia, depending on COVID-19 status. Thirty-four non-COVID-19 and 27 COVID-19 patients with severe pneumonia were enrolled. Most of them required intensive care. Plasma lipid levels, lipoprotein metabolism, and clinical and biological (including plasma cytokines) features were assessed. Despite similar initial metabolic comorbidities and respiratory severity, COVID-19 patients displayed a lower acute phase response but higher plasmatic concentrations of non-esterified fatty acids (NEFAs). NEFA profiling was characterised by higher level of polyunsaturated NEFAs (mainly linoleic and arachidonic acids) in COVID-19 patients. Multivariable analysis showed that among severe pneumonia, COVID-19-associated pneumonia was associated with higher NEFAs, lower apolipoprotein E and lower high-density lipoprotein cholesterol concentrations, independently of body mass index, sequential organ failure (SOFA) score, and C-reactive protein levels. NEFAs and PUFAs concentrations were negatively correlated with the number of ventilator-free days. Among hospitalized patients with severe pneumonia, COVID-19 is independently associated with higher NEFAs (mainly linoleic and arachidonic acids) and lower apolipoprotein E and HDL concentrations. These features might act as mediators in COVID-19 pathogenesis and emerge as new therapeutic targets. Further investigations are required to define the role of NEFAs in the pathogenesis and the dysregulated immune response associated with COVID-19.Trial registration: NCT04435223.

COVID-19/pathology , Fatty Acids, Nonesterified/blood , Aged , Apolipoproteins E/blood , Arachidonic Acids/blood , COVID-19/blood , COVID-19/virology , Cholesterol, HDL/blood , Cytokines/blood , Female , Humans , Linoleic Acids/blood , Male , Middle Aged , Principal Component Analysis , SARS-CoV-2/isolation & purification , Severity of Illness Index