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1.
Viruses ; 15(5)2023 04 26.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-20233711

ABSTRACT

The COVID-19 pandemic caused by SARS-CoV-2 has had a severe impact on people worldwide. The reference genome of the virus has been widely used as a template for designing mRNA vaccines to combat the disease. In this study, we present a computational method aimed at identifying co-existing intra-host strains of the virus from RNA-sequencing data of short reads that were used to assemble the original reference genome. Our method consisted of five key steps: extraction of relevant reads, error correction for the reads, identification of within-host diversity, phylogenetic study, and protein binding affinity analysis. Our study revealed that multiple strains of SARS-CoV-2 can coexist in both the viral sample used to produce the reference sequence and a wastewater sample from California. Additionally, our workflow demonstrated its capability to identify within-host diversity in foot-and-mouth disease virus (FMDV). Through our research, we were able to shed light on the binding affinity and phylogenetic relationships of these strains with the published SARS-CoV-2 reference genome, SARS-CoV, variants of concern (VOC) of SARS-CoV-2, and some closely related coronaviruses. These insights have important implications for future research efforts aimed at identifying within-host diversity, understanding the evolution and spread of these viruses, as well as the development of effective treatments and vaccines against them.


Subject(s)
COVID-19 , SARS-CoV-2 , Animals , Humans , SARS-CoV-2/genetics , Phylogeny , Pandemics , Genome, Viral , Spike Glycoprotein, Coronavirus/genetics
3.
Sci Rep ; 13(1): 8743, 2023 05 30.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-20239097

ABSTRACT

Spike glycoprotein of SARS-CoV-2 variants plays a critical role in infection and transmission through its interaction with human angiotensin converting enzyme 2 (hACE2) receptors. Prior findings using molecular docking and biomolecular studies reported varied findings on the difference in the interactions among the spike variants with the hACE2 receptors. Hence, it is a prerequisite to understand these interactions in a more precise manner. To this end, firstly, we performed ELISA with trimeric spike glycoproteins of SARS-CoV-2 variants including Wuhan Hu-1(Wild), Delta, C.1.2 and Omicron. Further, to study the interactions in a more specific manner by mimicking the natural infection, we developed hACE2 receptors expressing HEK-293T cell line, evaluated their binding efficiencies and competitive binding of spike variants with D614G spike pseudotyped virus. In line with the existing findings, we observed that Omicron had higher binding efficiency compared to Delta in both ELISA and Cellular models. Intriguingly, we found that cellular models could differentiate the subtle differences between the closely related C.1.2 and Delta in their binding to hACE2 receptors. Our study using the cellular model provides a precise method to evaluate the binding interactions between spike sub-lineages to hACE2 receptors.


Subject(s)
COVID-19 , SARS-CoV-2 , Humans , SARS-CoV-2/genetics , Angiotensin-Converting Enzyme 2/genetics , Molecular Docking Simulation , Spike Glycoprotein, Coronavirus/genetics , Protein Binding
4.
Viruses ; 15(5)2023 05 18.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-20238683

ABSTRACT

Of various SARS-CoV-2 variants, some have drawn special concern or interest because of their heightened disease threat. The mutability of individual SARS-CoV-2 genes/proteins presumably varies. The present study quantified gene/protein mutations in 13 major SARS-CoV-2 variants of concern/interest, and analyzed viral protein antigenicity using bioinformatics. The results from 187 carefully perused genome clones showed significantly higher mean percent mutations in the spike, ORF8, nucleocapsid, and NSP6 than in other viral proteins. The ORF8 and spike proteins also tolerated higher maximal percent mutations. The omicron variant presented more percent mutations in the NSP6 and structural proteins, whereas the delta featured more in the ORF7a. Omicron subvariant BA.2 exhibited more mutations in ORF6, and omicron BA.4 had more in NSP1, ORF6, and ORF7b, relative to omicron BA.1. Delta subvariants AY.4 and AY.5 bore more mutations in ORF7b and ORF8 than delta B.1.617.2. Predicted antigen ratios of SARS-CoV-2 proteins significantly vary (range: 38-88%). To overcome SARS-CoV-2 immune evasion, the relatively conserved, potentially immunogenic NSP4, NSP13, NSP14, membrane, and ORF3a viral proteins may serve as more suitable targets for molecular vaccines or therapeutics than the mutation-prone NSP6, spike, ORF8, or nucleocapsid protein. Further investigation into distinct mutations of the variants/subvariants may help understand SARS-CoV-2 pathogenesis.


Subject(s)
COVID-19 , SARS-CoV-2 , Humans , SARS-CoV-2/genetics , Antigens, Viral , Mutation , Spike Glycoprotein, Coronavirus/genetics
5.
Cir Cir ; 91(2): 268-276, 2023.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-20237429

ABSTRACT

Coronavirus (CoV) infections cause respiratory and enteric diseases with clinical manifestations ranging from faint to severe, even lead to death of patients. High connectivity between nations and infectivity of severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2), represent a global health problem as the coronavirus disease 19 (COVID-19). This CoV-2 that cause SARS, which appeared in Wuhan, China, in December 2019 originated COVID-19 and declared as pandemic a few months posterior its appearance. In this review, the genomic and spike protein characteristics of SARS-CoV-2, the role of SARS-CoV-2 in the COVID-19 pathogenesis, cytokine storm, the role of cytotoxic T and B cells against SARS-CoV-2, as well as the vaccines efficacy (taking into account mutations in the spike protein) are described.


Los coronavirus (CoV) causan enfermedades respiratorias y entéricas leves, graves o críticas, pudiendo ocasionar la muerte del paciente. Debido a la alta conectividad entre naciones y a la transmisión, actualmente la COVID-19 representa un verdadero problema de salud pública en todo el mundo. El CoV-2 causante del síndrome respiratorio agudo grave (SARS-CoV-2) apareció a finales de diciembre de 2019 en Wuhan, China, y en marzo de 2020 la COVID-19 fue declarada pandemia. En esta revisión se describen las características del genoma y de la proteína espiga del SARS-CoV-2, su papel en la inmunopatogénesis de la COVID-19, la tormenta de citocinas, la actividad citotóxica inducida por células T y la producción de anticuerpos contra el SARS-CoV-2 mediada por células B, así como la eficacia de algunas vacunas, tomando en cuenta las mutaciones presentes en la proteína espiga.


Subject(s)
COVID-19 , Vaccines , Humans , COVID-19/prevention & control , SARS-CoV-2 , Spike Glycoprotein, Coronavirus/genetics , Spike Glycoprotein, Coronavirus/metabolism
6.
Expert Rev Vaccines ; 22(1): 495-500, 2023.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-20236937

ABSTRACT

INTRODUCTION: The development of a yeast-expressed recombinant protein-based vaccine technology co-developed with LMIC vaccine producers and suitable as a COVID-19 vaccine for global access is described. The proof-of-concept for developing a SARS-CoV-2 spike protein receptor-binding domain (RBD) antigen as a yeast-derived recombinant protein vaccine technology is described. AREAS COVERED: Genetic Engineering: The strategy is presented for the design and genetic modification used during cloning and expression in the yeast system. Process and Assay Development: A summary is presented of how a scalable, reproducible, and robust production process for the recombinant protein COVID-19 vaccine antigen was developed. Formulation and Pre-clinical Strategy: We report on the pre-clinical and formulation strategy used for the proof-of-concept evaluation of the SARS-CoV-2 RBD vaccine antigen. Technology Transfer and Partnerships: The process used for the technology transfer and co-development with LMIC vaccine producers is described. Clinical Development and Delivery: The approach used by LMIC developers to establish the industrial process, clinical development, and deployment is described. EXPERT OPINION: Highlighted is an alternative model for developing new vaccines for emerging infectious diseases of pandemic importance starting with an academic institution directly transferring their technology to LMIC vaccine producers without the involvement of multinational pharma companies.


Subject(s)
COVID-19 , Saccharomyces cerevisiae , Humans , COVID-19 Vaccines , COVID-19/prevention & control , SARS-CoV-2/genetics , Spike Glycoprotein, Coronavirus/genetics , Technology , Recombinant Proteins/genetics , Antibodies, Viral , Antibodies, Neutralizing
7.
Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A ; 120(23): e2220948120, 2023 06 06.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-20236312

ABSTRACT

The antiviral benefit of antibodies can be compromised by viral escape especially for rapidly evolving viruses. Therefore, durable, effective antibodies must be both broad and potent to counter newly emerging, diverse strains. Discovery of such antibodies is critically important for SARS-CoV-2 as the global emergence of new variants of concern (VOC) has compromised the efficacy of therapeutic antibodies and vaccines. We describe a collection of broad and potent neutralizing monoclonal antibodies (mAbs) isolated from an individual who experienced a breakthrough infection with the Delta VOC. Four mAbs potently neutralize the Wuhan-Hu-1 vaccine strain, the Delta VOC, and also retain potency against the Omicron VOCs through BA.4/BA.5 in both pseudovirus-based and authentic virus assays. Three mAbs also retain potency to recently circulating VOCs XBB.1.5 and BQ.1.1 and one also potently neutralizes SARS-CoV-1. The potency of these mAbs was greater against Omicron VOCs than all but one of the mAbs that had been approved for therapeutic applications. The mAbs target distinct epitopes on the spike glycoprotein, three in the receptor-binding domain (RBD) and one in an invariant region downstream of the RBD in subdomain 1 (SD1). The escape pathways we defined at single amino acid resolution with deep mutational scanning show they target conserved, functionally constrained regions of the glycoprotein, suggesting escape could incur a fitness cost. Overall, these mAbs are unique in their breadth across VOCs, their epitope specificity, and include a highly potent mAb targeting a rare epitope outside of the RBD in SD1.


Subject(s)
COVID-19 , SARS-CoV-2 , Humans , Breakthrough Infections , Antibodies, Monoclonal , Antibodies, Neutralizing , Epitopes , Spike Glycoprotein, Coronavirus/genetics , Antibodies, Viral
8.
Nat Commun ; 14(1): 3235, 2023 06 03.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-20236152

ABSTRACT

Persistent severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2) infections have been reported in immune-compromised individuals and people undergoing immune-modulatory treatments. Although intrahost evolution has been documented, direct evidence of subsequent transmission and continued stepwise adaptation is lacking. Here we describe sequential persistent SARS-CoV-2 infections in three individuals that led to the emergence, forward transmission, and continued evolution of a new Omicron sublineage, BA.1.23, over an eight-month period. The initially transmitted BA.1.23 variant encoded seven additional amino acid substitutions within the spike protein (E96D, R346T, L455W, K458M, A484V, H681R, A688V), and displayed substantial resistance to neutralization by sera from boosted and/or Omicron BA.1-infected study participants. Subsequent continued BA.1.23 replication resulted in additional substitutions in the spike protein (S254F, N448S, F456L, M458K, F981L, S982L) as well as in five other virus proteins. Our findings demonstrate not only that the Omicron BA.1 lineage can diverge further from its already exceptionally mutated genome but also that patients with persistent infections can transmit these viral variants. Thus, there is, an urgent need to implement strategies to prevent prolonged SARS-CoV-2 replication and to limit the spread of newly emerging, neutralization-resistant variants in vulnerable patients.


Subject(s)
COVID-19 , SARS-CoV-2 , Humans , SARS-CoV-2/genetics , Spike Glycoprotein, Coronavirus/genetics , Acclimatization , Antibodies, Neutralizing , Antibodies, Viral
9.
Viruses ; 15(5)2023 04 25.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-20235598

ABSTRACT

Drug appropriateness is a pillar of modern evidence-based medicine, but the turnaround times of genomic sequencing are not compatible with the urgent need to deliver treatments against microorganisms. Massive worldwide genomic surveillance has created an unprecedented landscape for exploiting viral sequencing for therapeutic purposes. When it comes to therapeutic antiviral antibodies, using IC50 against specific polymorphisms of the target antigen can be calculated in vitro, and a list of mutations leading to drug resistance (immune escape) can be compiled. The author encountered this type of knowledge (available from the Stanford University Coronavirus Antiviral Resistance Database,) in a publicly accessible repository of SARS-CoV-2 sequences. The author used a custom function of the CoV-Spectrum.org web portal to deliver up-to-date, regional prevalence estimates of baseline efficacy for each authorized anti-spike mAb across all co-circulating SARS-CoV-2 sublineages at a given time point. This publicly accessible tool can inform therapeutic choices that would otherwise be blind.


Subject(s)
COVID-19 , Humans , SARS-CoV-2/genetics , Genomics , Antibodies, Monoclonal/therapeutic use , Antibodies, Viral/therapeutic use , Antiviral Agents , Spike Glycoprotein, Coronavirus/genetics , Antibodies, Neutralizing
10.
Int J Mol Sci ; 24(11)2023 May 27.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-20244259

ABSTRACT

This study investigated the biological effects on circulating monocytes after challenge with SARS-CoV-2 recombinant spike protein. Whole blood collected from seven ostensibly healthy healthcare workers was incubated for 15 min with 2 and 20 ng/mL final concentration of recombinant spike protein of Ancestral, Alpha, Delta, and Omicron variants. Samples were analyzed with Sysmex XN and DI-60 analyzers. Cellular complexity (i.e., the presence of granules, vacuoles and other cytoplasmic inclusions) increased in all samples challenged with the recombinant spike protein of the Ancestral, Alpha, and Delta variants, but not in those containing Omicron. The cellular content of nucleic acids was constantly decreased in most samples, achieving statistical significance in those containing 20 ng/mL of Alpha and Delta recombinant spike proteins. The heterogeneity of monocyte volumes significantly increased in all samples, achieving statistical significance in those containing 20 ng/mL of recombinant spike protein of the Ancestral, Alpha and Delta variants. The monocyte morphological abnormalities after spike protein challenge included dysmorphia, granulation, intense vacuolization, platelet phagocytosis, development of aberrant nuclei, and cytoplasmic extrusions. The SARS-CoV-2 spike protein triggers important monocyte morphological abnormalities, more evident in cells challenged with recombinant spike protein of the more clinically severe Alpha and Delta variants.


Subject(s)
COVID-19 , Monocytes , Humans , Spike Glycoprotein, Coronavirus/genetics , SARS-CoV-2
11.
Viruses ; 15(5)2023 05 10.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-20244237

ABSTRACT

Evolutionary and functional studies suggested that the emergence of the Omicron variants can be determined by multiple fitness trade-offs including the immune escape, binding affinity for ACE2, conformational plasticity, protein stability and allosteric modulation. In this study, we systematically characterize conformational dynamics, structural stability and binding affinities of the SARS-CoV-2 Spike Omicron complexes with the host receptor ACE2 for BA.2, BA.2.75, XBB.1 and XBB.1.5 variants. We combined multiscale molecular simulations and dynamic analysis of allosteric interactions together with the ensemble-based mutational scanning of the protein residues and network modeling of epistatic interactions. This multifaceted computational study characterized molecular mechanisms and identified energetic hotspots that can mediate the predicted increased stability and the enhanced binding affinity of the BA.2.75 and XBB.1.5 complexes. The results suggested a mechanism driven by the stability hotspots and a spatially localized group of the Omicron binding affinity centers, while allowing for functionally beneficial neutral Omicron mutations in other binding interface positions. A network-based community model for the analysis of epistatic contributions in the Omicron complexes is proposed revealing the key role of the binding hotspots R498 and Y501 in mediating community-based epistatic couplings with other Omicron sites and allowing for compensatory dynamics and binding energetic changes. The results also showed that mutations in the convergent evolutionary hotspot F486 can modulate not only local interactions but also rewire the global network of local communities in this region allowing the F486P mutation to restore both the stability and binding affinity of the XBB.1.5 variant which may explain the growth advantages over the XBB.1 variant. The results of this study are consistent with a broad range of functional studies rationalizing functional roles of the Omicron mutation sites that form a coordinated network of hotspots enabling a balance of multiple fitness tradeoffs and shaping up a complex functional landscape of virus transmissibility.


Subject(s)
Angiotensin-Converting Enzyme 2 , COVID-19 , Humans , Angiotensin-Converting Enzyme 2/genetics , SARS-CoV-2/genetics , Protein Stability , Mutation , Spike Glycoprotein, Coronavirus/genetics , Protein Binding
12.
PLoS One ; 18(5): e0286373, 2023.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-20243377

ABSTRACT

Intra-host diversity studies are used to characterise the mutational heterogeneity of SARS-CoV-2 infections in order to understand the impact of virus-host adaptations. This study investigated the frequency and diversity of the spike (S) protein mutations within SARS-CoV-2 infected South African individuals. The study included SARS-CoV-2 respiratory samples, from individuals of all ages, received at the National Health Laboratory Service at Charlotte Maxeke Johannesburg Academic hospital, Gauteng, South Africa, from June 2020 to May 2022. Single nucleotide polymorphism (SNP) assays and whole genome sequencing were performed on a random selection of SARS-CoV-2 positive samples. The allele frequency (AF) was determined using TaqMan Genotyper software for SNP PCR analysis and galaxy.eu for analysis of FASTQ reads from sequencing. The SNP assays identified 5.3% (50/948) of Delta cases with heterogeneity at delY144 (4%; 2/50), E484Q (6%; 3/50), N501Y (2%; 1/50) and P681H (88%; 44/50), however only heterogeneity for E484Q and delY144 were confirmed by sequencing. From sequencing we identified 9% (210/2381) of cases with Beta, Delta, Omicron BA.1, BA.2.15, and BA.4 lineages that had heterogeneity in the S protein. Heterogeneity was primarily identified at positions 19 (1.4%) with T19IR (AF 0.2-0.7), 371 (92.3%) with S371FP (AF 0.1-1.0), and 484 (1.9%) with E484AK (0.2-0.7), E484AQ (AF 0.4-0.5) and E484KQ (AF 0.1-0.4). Mutations at heterozygous amino acid positions 19, 371 and 484 are known antibody escape mutations, however the impact of the combination of multiple substitutions identified at the same position is unknown. Therefore, we hypothesise that intra-host SARS-CoV-2 quasispecies with heterogeneity in the S protein facilitate competitive advantage of variants that can completely/partially evade host's natural and vaccine-induced immune responses.


Subject(s)
COVID-19 , SARS-CoV-2 , Humans , SARS-CoV-2/genetics , South Africa/epidemiology , COVID-19/epidemiology , Spike Glycoprotein, Coronavirus/genetics
13.
Viruses ; 15(5)2023 05 09.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-20243342

ABSTRACT

The COVID-19 pandemic resulted from the global spread of the severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2). Since its first appearance in 2019, new SARS-CoV-2 variants of concern (VOCs) have emerged frequently, changing the infection's dynamic. SARS-CoV-2 infects cells via two distinct entry routes; receptor-mediated endocytosis or membrane fusion, depending on the absence or presence of transmembrane serine protease 2 (TMPRSS2), respectively. In laboratory conditions, the Omicron SARS-CoV-2 strain inefficiently infects cells predominantly via endocytosis and is phenotypically characterized by decreased syncytia formation compared to the earlier Delta variant. Thus, it is important to characterize Omicron's unique mutations and their phenotypic manifestations. Here, by utilizing SARS-CoV-2 pseudovirions, we report that the specific Omicron Spike F375 residue decreases infectivity, and its conversion to the Delta S375 sequence significantly increases Omicron infectivity. Further, we identified that residue Y655 decreases Omicron's TMPRSS2 dependency and entry via membrane fusion. The Y655H, K764N, K856N and K969N Omicron revertant mutations, bearing the Delta variant sequence, increased the cytopathic effect of cell-cell fusion, suggesting these Omicron-specific residues reduced the severity of SARS-CoV-2. This study of the correlation of the mutational profile with the phenotypic outcome should sensitize our alertness towards emerging VOCs.


Subject(s)
COVID-19 , SARS-CoV-2 , Humans , SARS-CoV-2/genetics , Pandemics , Mutation , Spike Glycoprotein, Coronavirus/genetics , Serine Endopeptidases/genetics
14.
Nat Commun ; 14(1): 3393, 2023 Jun 09.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-20243266

ABSTRACT

Detection of secretory antibodies in the airway is highly desirable when evaluating mucosal protection by vaccines against a respiratory virus, such as the severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2). We show that intranasal delivery of an attenuated SARS-CoV-2 (Nsp1-K164A/H165A) induces both mucosal and systemic IgA and IgG in male Syrian hamsters. Interestingly, either direct intranasal immunization or airborne transmission-mediated delivery of Nsp1-K164A/H165A in Syrian hamsters offers protection against heterologous challenge with variants of concern (VOCs) including Delta, Omicron BA.1, BA.2.12.1 and BA.5. Vaccinated animals show significant reduction in both tissue viral loads and lung inflammation. Similarly attenuated viruses bearing BA.1 and BA.5 spike boost variant-specific neutralizing antibodies in male mice that were first vaccinated with modified vaccinia virus Ankara vectors (MVA) expressing full-length WA1/2020 Spike protein. Together, these results demonstrate that our attenuated virus may be a promising nasal vaccine candidate for boosting mucosal immunity against future SARS-CoV-2 VOCs.


Subject(s)
COVID-19 , Male , Cricetinae , Animals , Mice , COVID-19/prevention & control , Mesocricetus , Respiratory Aerosols and Droplets , SARS-CoV-2 , Antibodies, Neutralizing , Spike Glycoprotein, Coronavirus/genetics , Antibodies, Viral
16.
Viruses ; 15(5)2023 04 25.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-20234853

ABSTRACT

The benefits of SARS-CoV-2 spike mRNA vaccines are well known, including a significant decline in COVID-19 morbidity and a decrease in the mortality rate of SARS-CoV-2 infected persons. However, pharmacovigilance studies have revealed the existence of rare cases of cardiovascular complications after mass vaccination using such formulations. Cases of high blood pressure have also been reported but were rarely documented under perfectly controlled medical supervision. The press release of these warning signals triggered a huge debate over COVID-19 vaccines' safety. Thereby, our attention was quickly focused on issues involving the risk of myocarditis, acute coronary syndrome, hypertension and thrombosis. Rare cases of undesirable post-vaccine pathophysiological phenomena should question us, especially when they occur in young subjects. They are more likely to occur with inappropriate use of mRNA vaccine (e.g., at the time when the immune response is already very active during a low-noise infection in the process of healing), leading to angiotensin II (Ang II) induced inflammation triggering tissue damage. Such harmful effects observed after the COVID-19 vaccine evoke a possible molecular mimicry of the viral spike transiently dysregulating angiotensin converting enzyme 2 (ACE2) function. Although the benefit/risk ratio of SARS-CoV-2 spike mRNA vaccine is very favorable, it seems reasonable to suggest medical surveillance to patients with a history of cardiovascular diseases who receive the COVID-19 vaccine.


Subject(s)
Blood Coagulation Disorders , COVID-19 , Hypertension , Humans , COVID-19/prevention & control , COVID-19 Vaccines/adverse effects , SARS-CoV-2/metabolism , Angiotensin-Converting Enzyme 2/genetics , Renin-Angiotensin System/physiology , Peptidyl-Dipeptidase A/metabolism , Molecular Mimicry , Spike Glycoprotein, Coronavirus/genetics , Spike Glycoprotein, Coronavirus/metabolism
17.
Viruses ; 15(5)2023 05 10.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-20234631

ABSTRACT

The ongoing emergence of SARS-CoV-2 virus variants remains a source of concern because it is accompanied by the potential for increased virulence as well as evasion of immunity. Here we show that, although having an almost identical spike gene sequence as another Omicron variant (BA.5.2.1), a BA.4 isolate lacked all the typical disease characteristics of other isolates seen in the Golden Syrian hamster model despite replicating almost as effectively. Animals infected with BA.4 had similar viral shedding profiles to those seen with BA.5.2.1 (up to day 6 post-infection), but they all failed to lose weight or present with any other significant clinical signs. We hypothesize that this lack of detectable signs of disease during infection with BA.4 was due to a small (nine nucleotide) deletion (∆686-694) in the viral genome (ORF1ab) responsible for the production of non-structural protein 1, which resulted in the loss of three amino acids (aa 141-143).


Subject(s)
COVID-19 , Animals , Cricetinae , SARS-CoV-2/genetics , Mesocricetus , Amino Acids , Spike Glycoprotein, Coronavirus/genetics
18.
Commun Biol ; 6(1): 556, 2023 05 24.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-20231278

ABSTRACT

Since the emergence of the Omicron variants at the end of 2021, they quickly became the dominant variants globally. The Omicron variants may be more easily transmitted compared to the earlier Wuhan and the other variants. In this study, we aimed to elucidate mechanisms of the altered infectivity associated with the Omicron variants. We systemically evaluated mutations located in the S2 sequence of spike and identified mutations that are responsible for altered viral fusion. We demonstrated that mutations near the S1/S2 cleavage site decrease S1/S2 cleavage, resulting in reduced fusogenicity. Mutations in the HR1 and other S2 sequences also affect cell-cell fusion. Based on nuclear magnetic resonance (NMR) studies and in silico modeling, these mutations affect fusogenicity possibly at multiple steps of the viral fusion. Our findings reveal that the Omicron variants have accumulated mutations that contribute to reduced syncytial formation and hence an attenuated pathogenicity.


Subject(s)
COVID-19 , Humans , COVID-19/genetics , SARS-CoV-2/genetics , Spike Glycoprotein, Coronavirus/genetics , Mutation , Phenotype
19.
Vaccine ; 41(32): 4743-4751, 2023 07 19.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-20231210

ABSTRACT

Targeting the site of infection is a promising strategy for improving vaccine effectivity. To date, licensed COVID-19 vaccines have been administered intramuscularly despite the fact that SARS-CoV-2 is a respiratory virus. Here, we aim to induce local protective mucosal immune responses with an inhaled subunit vaccine candidate, ISR52, based on the SARS-CoV-2 Spike S1 protein. When tested in a lethal challenge hACE2 transgenic SARS-CoV-2 mouse model, intranasal and intratracheal administration of ISR52 provided superior protection against severe infection, compared to the subcutaneous injection of the vaccine. Interestingly for a protein-based vaccine, inhaled ISR52 elicited both CD4 and CD8 T-cell Spike-specific responses that were maintained for at least 6 months in wild-type mice. Induced IgG and IgA responses cross-reacting with several SARS- CoV-2 variants of concern were detected in the lung and in serum and protected animals displayed neutralizing antibodies. Based on our results, we are developing ISR52 as a dry powder formulation for inhalation, that does not require cold-chain distribution or the use of needle administration, for evaluation in a Phase I/II clinical trial.


Subject(s)
COVID-19 Vaccines , COVID-19 , Animals , Humans , Mice , SARS-CoV-2 , COVID-19/prevention & control , Antibodies, Neutralizing , Mice, Transgenic , Spike Glycoprotein, Coronavirus/genetics , Antibodies, Viral
20.
Front Immunol ; 13: 952650, 2022.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-2326989

ABSTRACT

Given pandemic risks of zoonotic SARS-CoV-2 variants and other SARS-like coronaviruses in the future, it is valuable to perform studies on conserved antigenic sites to design universal SARS-like coronavirus vaccines. By using antibodies obtained from convalescent COVID-19 patients, we succeeded in functional comparison of conserved antigenic sites at multiple aspects with each other, and even with SARS-CoV-2 unique antigenic sites, which promotes the cognition of process of humoral immune response to the conserved antigenic sites. The conserved antigenic sites between SARS-CoV-2 and SARS-CoV can effectively induce affinity maturation of cross-binding antibodies, finally resulting in broadly neutralizing antibodies against multiple variants of concern, which provides an important basis for universal vaccine design, however they are subdominant, putatively due to their lower accessibility relative to SARS-CoV-2 unique antigenic sites. Furthermore, we preliminarily design RBDs to improve the immunogenicity of these conserved antigenic sites. Our study focusing on conserved antigenic sites provides insights for promoting the development of universal SARS-like coronavirus vaccines, thereby enhancing our pandemic preparedness.


Subject(s)
COVID-19 , SARS-CoV-2 , Antibodies, Viral , Broadly Neutralizing Antibodies , COVID-19/prevention & control , COVID-19 Vaccines , Humans , Spike Glycoprotein, Coronavirus/genetics
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