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1.
Nat Commun ; 13(1): 6905, 2022 Nov 12.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-2118465

ABSTRACT

As the SARS-CoV-2 pandemic evolves, vaccine evaluation needs to include consideration of both durability and cross-reactivity. This report expands on previously reported results from a Phase 1 trial of an AS03-adjuvanted, plant-based coronavirus-like particle (CoVLP) displaying the spike (S) glycoprotein of the ancestral SARS-CoV-2 virus in healthy adults (NCT04450004). Humoral and cellular responses against the ancestral strain were evaluated 6 months post-second dose (D201) as secondary outcomes. Independent of dose, all vaccinated individuals retain binding antibodies, and ~95% retain neutralizing antibodies (NAb). Interferon gamma and interleukin-4 responses remain detectable in ~94% and ~92% of vaccinees respectively. In post-hoc analyses, variant-specific (Alpha, Beta, Delta, Gamma and Omicron) NAb were assessed at D42 and D201. Using a live virus neutralization assay, broad cross-reactivity is detectable against all variants at D42. At D201, cross-reactive antibodies are detectable in almost all participants against Alpha, Gamma and Delta variants (94%) and the Beta variant (83%) and in a smaller proportion against Omicron (44%). Results are similar with the pseudovirion assay. These data suggest that two doses of 3.75 µg CoVLP+AS03 elicit a durable and cross-reactive response that persists for at least 6 months post-vaccination.


Subject(s)
COVID-19 , Vaccines, Virus-Like Particle , Viral Vaccines , Adult , Humans , Antibodies, Neutralizing , Antibodies, Viral , COVID-19/prevention & control , COVID-19 Vaccines , Immunity , SARS-CoV-2 , Spike Glycoprotein, Coronavirus
2.
mSphere ; 7(4): e0024322, 2022 08 31.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1992945

ABSTRACT

The ongoing COVID-19 pandemic has contributed largely to the global vaccine disparity. Development of protein subunit vaccines can help alleviate shortages of COVID-19 vaccines delivered to low-income countries. Here, we evaluated the efficacy of a three-dose virus-like particle (VLP) vaccine composed of hepatitis B surface antigen (HBsAg) decorated with the receptor binding domain (RBD) from the Wuhan or Beta SARS-CoV-2 strain adjuvanted with either aluminum hydroxide (alum) or squalene in water emulsion (SWE). RBD HBsAg vaccines were compared to the standard two doses of Pfizer mRNA vaccine. Alum-adjuvanted vaccines were composed of either HBsAg conjugated with Beta RBD alone (ß RBD HBsAg+Al) or a combination of both Beta RBD HBsAg and Wuhan RBD HBsAg (ß/Wu RBD HBsAg+Al). RBD vaccines adjuvanted with SWE were formulated with Beta RBD HBsAg (ß RBD HBsAg+SWE) or without HBsAg (ß RBD+SWE). Both alum-adjuvanted RBD HBsAg vaccines generated functional RBD IgG against multiple SARS-CoV-2 variants of concern (VOC), decreased viral RNA burden, and lowered inflammation in the lung against Alpha or Beta challenge in K18-hACE2 mice. However, only ß/Wu RBD HBsAg+Al was able to afford 100% survival to mice challenged with Alpha or Beta VOC. Furthermore, mice immunized with ß RBD HBsAg+SWE induced cross-reactive neutralizing antibodies against major VOC of SARS-CoV-2, lowered viral RNA burden in the lung and brain, and protected mice from Alpha or Beta challenge similarly to mice immunized with Pfizer mRNA. However, RBD+SWE immunization failed to protect mice from VOC challenge. Our findings demonstrate that RBD HBsAg VLP vaccines provided similar protection profiles to the approved Pfizer mRNA vaccines used worldwide and may offer protection against SARS-CoV-2 VOC. IMPORTANCE Global COVID-19 vaccine distribution to low-income countries has been a major challenge of the pandemic. To address supply chain issues, RBD virus-like particle (VLP) vaccines that are cost-effective and capable of large-scale production were developed and evaluated for efficacy in preclinical mouse studies. We demonstrated that RBD-VLP vaccines protected K18-hACE2 mice against Alpha or Beta challenge similarly to Pfizer mRNA vaccination. Our findings showed that the VLP platform can be utilized to formulate immunogenic and efficacious COVID-19 vaccines.


Subject(s)
COVID-19 , Vaccines, Virus-Like Particle , Alum Compounds , Animals , Antibodies, Viral , COVID-19/prevention & control , COVID-19 Vaccines , Emulsions , Hepatitis B Surface Antigens/genetics , Humans , Melphalan , Mice , Mice, Inbred BALB C , Pandemics , RNA, Messenger , RNA, Viral , SARS-CoV-2 , Squalene , Vaccines, Synthetic , Water , gamma-Globulins , mRNA Vaccines
3.
Allergy ; 77(8): 2446-2458, 2022 08.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1985601

ABSTRACT

BACKGROUND: The highly contagious SARS-CoV-2 is mainly transmitted by respiratory droplets and aerosols. Consequently, people are required to wear masks and maintain a social distance to avoid spreading of the virus. Despite the success of the commercially available vaccines, the virus is still uncontained globally. Given the tropism of SARS-CoV-2, a mucosal immune reaction would help to reduce viral shedding and transmission locally. Only seven out of hundreds of ongoing clinical trials are testing the intranasal delivery of a vaccine against COVID-19. METHODS: In the current study, we evaluated the immunogenicity of a traditional vaccine platform based on virus-like particles (VLPs) displaying RBD of SARS-CoV-2 for intranasal administration in a murine model. The candidate vaccine platform, CuMVTT -RBD, has been optimized to incorporate a universal T helper cell epitope derived from tetanus-toxin and is self-adjuvanted with TLR7/8 ligands. RESULTS: CuMVTT -RBD vaccine elicited a strong systemic RBD- and spike-IgG and IgA antibodies of high avidity. Local immune response was assessed, and our results demonstrate a strong mucosal antibody and plasma cell production in lung tissue. Furthermore, the induced systemic antibodies could efficiently recognize and neutralize different variants of concern (VOCs). CONCLUSION: Our data demonstrate that intranasal administration of CuMVTT -RBD induces a protective systemic and local specific antibody response against SARS-CoV-2 and its VOCs.


Subject(s)
COVID-19 Vaccines , COVID-19 , Vaccines, Virus-Like Particle , Administration, Intranasal , Animals , Antibodies, Neutralizing , Antibodies, Viral , COVID-19/prevention & control , COVID-19 Vaccines/immunology , Humans , Mice , SARS-CoV-2 , Spike Glycoprotein, Coronavirus , Vaccines, Virus-Like Particle/immunology
4.
Lancet Infect Dis ; 22(8): 1210-1220, 2022 08.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1972391

ABSTRACT

BACKGROUND: Western (WEEV), eastern (EEEV), and Venezuelan (VEEV) equine encephalitis viruses are mosquito-borne pathogens classified as potential biological warfare agents for which there are currently no approved human vaccines or therapies. We aimed to evaluate the safety, tolerability, and immunogenicity of an investigational trivalent virus-like particle (VLP) vaccine, western, eastern, and Venezuelan equine encephalitis (WEVEE) VLP, composed of WEEV, EEEV, and VEEV VLPs. METHODS: The WEVEE VLP vaccine was evaluated in a phase 1, randomised, open-label, dose-escalation trial at the Hope Clinic of the Emory Vaccine Center at Emory University, Atlanta, GA, USA. Eligible participants were healthy adults aged 18-50 years with no previous vaccination history with an investigational alphavirus vaccine. Participants were assigned to a dose group of 6 µg, 30 µg, or 60 µg vaccine product and were randomly assigned (1:1) to receive the WEVEE VLP vaccine with or without aluminium hydroxide suspension (alum) adjuvant by intramuscular injection at study day 0 and at week 8. The primary outcomes were the safety and tolerability of the vaccine (assessed in all participants who received at least one administration of study product) and the secondary outcome was immune response measured as neutralising titres by plaque reduction neutralisation test (PRNT) 4 weeks after the second vaccination. This trial is registered at ClinicalTrials.gov, NCT03879603. FINDINGS: Between April 2, 2019, and June 13, 2019, 30 trial participants were enrolled (mean age 32 years, range 21-48; 16 [53%] female participants and 14 [47%] male participants). Six groups of five participants each received 6 µg, 30 µg, or 60 µg vaccine doses with or without adjuvant, and all 30 participants completed study follow-up. Vaccinations were safe and well tolerated. The most frequently reported symptoms were mild injection-site pain and tenderness (22 [73%] of 30) and malaise (15 [50%] of 30). Dose-dependent differences in the frequency of pain and tenderness were found between the 6 µg, 30 µg, and 60 µg groups (p=0·0217). No significant differences were observed between dosing groups for any other reactogenicity symptom. Two adverse events (mild elevated blood pressure and moderate asymptomatic neutropenia) were assessed as possibly related to the study product in one trial participant (60 µg dose with alum); both resolved without clinical sequelae. 4 weeks after second vaccine administration, neutralising antibodies were induced in all study groups with the highest response seen against all three vaccine antigens in the 30 µg plus alum group (PRNT80 geometric mean titre for EEEV 60·8, 95% CI 29·9-124·0; for VEEV 111·5, 49·8-249·8; and for WEEV 187·9, 90·0-392·2). Finally, 4 weeks after second vaccine administration, for all doses, the majority of trial participants developed an immune response to all three vaccine components (24 [83%] of 29 for EEEV; 26 [90%] of 29 for VEEV; 27 [93%] of 29 for WEEV; and 22 [76%] of 29 for EEEV, VEEV, and WEEV combined). INTERPRETATION: The favourable safety profile and neutralising antibody responses, along with pressing public health need, support further evaluation of the WEVEE VLP vaccine in advanced-phase clinical trials. FUNDING: The Vaccine Research Center of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, National Institutes of Health funded the clinical trial. The US Department of Defense contributed funding for manufacturing of the study product.


Subject(s)
Alphavirus , Encephalitis Virus, Venezuelan Equine , Vaccines, Virus-Like Particle , Adjuvants, Immunologic , Adult , Animals , Antibodies, Neutralizing , Antibodies, Viral , Double-Blind Method , Female , Horses , Humans , Immunogenicity, Vaccine , Male , Middle Aged , Pain , Young Adult
5.
Virol J ; 19(1): 112, 2022 Jun 27.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1905664

ABSTRACT

BACKGROUND: Middle East respiratory syndrome coronavirus (MERS-CoV) causes severe respiratory disease in humans, with a case fatality rate of approximately 35%, thus posing a considerable threat to public health. The lack of approved vaccines or antivirals currently constitutes a barrier in controlling disease outbreaks and spread. METHODS: In this study, using a mammalian expression system, which is advantageous for maintaining correct protein glycosylation patterns, we constructed chimeric MERS-CoV virus-like particles (VLPs) and determined their immunogenicity and protective efficacy in mice. RESULTS: Western blot and cryo-electron microscopy analyses demonstrated that MERS-CoV VLPs were efficiently produced in cells co-transfected with MERS-CoV spike (S), envelope, membrane and murine hepatitis virus nucleocapsid genes. We examined their ability as a vaccine in a human dipeptidyl peptidase 4 knock-in C57BL/6 congenic mouse model. Mice immunized with MERS VLPs produced S-specific antibodies with virus neutralization activity. Furthermore, MERS-CoV VLP immunization provided complete protection against a lethal challenge with mouse-adapted MERS-CoV and improved virus clearance in the lung. CONCLUSIONS: Overall, these data demonstrate that MERS-CoV VLPs have excellent immunogenicity and represent a promising vaccine candidate.


Subject(s)
Coronavirus Infections , Middle East Respiratory Syndrome Coronavirus , Vaccines, Virus-Like Particle , Viral Vaccines , Animals , Antibodies, Neutralizing , Antibodies, Viral , Cryoelectron Microscopy , Mammals , Mice , Mice, Inbred C57BL , Middle East Respiratory Syndrome Coronavirus/genetics , Spike Glycoprotein, Coronavirus/genetics , Vaccines, Virus-Like Particle/genetics , Viral Vaccines/genetics
6.
Signal Transduct Target Ther ; 7(1): 146, 2022 05 03.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1890151

ABSTRACT

With the constantly mutating of SARS-CoV-2 and the emergence of Variants of Concern (VOC), the implementation of vaccination is critically important. Existing SARS-CoV-2 vaccines mainly include inactivated, live attenuated, viral vector, protein subunit, RNA, DNA, and virus-like particle (VLP) vaccines. Viral vector vaccines, protein subunit vaccines, and mRNA vaccines may induce additional cellular or humoral immune regulations, including Th cell responses and germinal center responses, and form relevant memory cells, greatly improving their efficiency. However, some viral vector or mRNA vaccines may be associated with complications like thrombocytopenia and myocarditis, raising concerns about the safety of these COVID-19 vaccines. Here, we systemically assess the safety and efficacy of COVID-19 vaccines, including the possible complications and different effects on pregnant women, the elderly, people with immune diseases and acquired immunodeficiency syndrome (AIDS), transplant recipients, and cancer patients. Based on the current analysis, governments and relevant agencies are recommended to continue to advance the vaccine immunization process. Simultaneously, special attention should be paid to the health status of the vaccines, timely treatment of complications, vaccine development, and ensuring the lives and health of patients. In addition, available measures such as mix-and-match vaccination, developing new vaccines like nanoparticle vaccines, and optimizing immune adjuvant to improve vaccine safety and efficacy could be considered.


Subject(s)
COVID-19 Vaccines , Aged , COVID-19/prevention & control , COVID-19 Vaccines/adverse effects , COVID-19 Vaccines/immunology , COVID-19 Vaccines/therapeutic use , Female , Humans , Pregnancy , Protein Subunits , SARS-CoV-2/genetics , Vaccines, Virus-Like Particle
7.
Vaccine ; 40(30): 4017-4025, 2022 06 26.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1867870

ABSTRACT

Since 2019, severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2) infection resulting in the coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) has afflicted hundreds of millions of people in a worldwide pandemic. Several safe and effective COVID-19 vaccines are now available. However, the rapid emergence of variants and risk of viral escape from vaccine-induced immunity emphasize the need to develop broadly protective vaccines. A recombinant plant-derived virus-like particle vaccine for the ancestral COVID-19 (CoVLP) recently authorized by Canadian Health Authorities and a modified CoVLP.B1351 targeting the B.1.351 variant (both formulated with the adjuvant AS03) were assessed in homologous and heterologous prime-boost regimen in mice. Both strategies induced strong and broadly cross-reactive neutralizing antibody (NAb) responses against several Variants of Concern (VOCs), including B.1.351/Beta, B.1.1.7/Alpha, P.1/Gamma, B.1.617.2/Delta and B.1.1.529/Omicron strains. The neutralizing antibody (NAb) response was robust with both primary vaccination strategies and tended to be higher for almost all VOCs following the heterologous prime-boost regimen.


Subject(s)
COVID-19 , Vaccines, Virus-Like Particle , Animals , Antibodies, Neutralizing , Antibodies, Viral , COVID-19/prevention & control , COVID-19 Vaccines , Canada , Humans , Mice , SARS-CoV-2/genetics , Spike Glycoprotein, Coronavirus/genetics , Vaccines, Virus-Like Particle/genetics
8.
Front Immunol ; 13: 837443, 2022.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1742219

ABSTRACT

An ideal protective vaccine against SARS-CoV-2 should not only be effective in preventing disease, but also in preventing virus transmission. It should also be well accepted by the population and have a simple logistic chain. To fulfill these criteria, we developed a thermostable, orally administered vaccine that can induce a robust mucosal neutralizing immune response. We used our platform based on retrovirus-derived enveloped virus-like particles (eVLPs) harnessed with variable surface proteins (VSPs) from the intestinal parasite Giardia lamblia, affording them resistance to degradation and the triggering of robust mucosal cellular and antibody immune responses after oral administration. We made eVLPs expressing various forms of the SARS-CoV-2 Spike protein (S), with or without membrane protein (M) expression. We found that prime-boost administration of VSP-decorated eVLPs expressing a pre-fusion stabilized form of S and M triggers robust mucosal responses against SARS-CoV-2 in mice and hamsters, which translate into complete protection from a viral challenge. Moreover, they dramatically boosted the IgA mucosal response of intramuscularly injected vaccines. We conclude that our thermostable orally administered eVLP vaccine could be a valuable addition to the current arsenal against SARS-CoV-2, in a stand-alone prime-boost vaccination strategy or as a boost for existing vaccines.


Subject(s)
COVID-19 Vaccines/immunology , COVID-19/immunology , Coronavirus M Proteins/immunology , Giardia lamblia/immunology , Intestinal Mucosa/immunology , SARS-CoV-2/physiology , Spike Glycoprotein, Coronavirus/immunology , Animals , Antigens, Protozoan/immunology , Cricetinae , Humans , Immunity , Immunization, Secondary , Immunoglobulin A/metabolism , Male , Mice , Mice, Inbred BALB C , Temperature , Vaccine Potency , Vaccines, Virus-Like Particle
9.
PLoS One ; 17(3): e0263671, 2022.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1742001

ABSTRACT

Novel therapeutic strategies are needed to control the SARS-CoV-2 (severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2) pandemic. Here, we present a protocol to anchor the SARS-CoV-2 spike (S-)protein in the cytoplasmic membranes of erythrocyte liposomes. A surfactant was used to stabilize the S-protein's structure in the aqueous environment before insertion and to facilitate reconstitution of the S-proteins in the erythrocyte membranes. The insertion process was studied using coarse grained Molecular Dynamics (MD) simulations. Liposome formation and S-protein anchoring was studied by dynamic light scattering (DLS), ELV-protein co-sedimentation assays, fluorescent microcopy and cryo-TEM. The Erythro-VLPs (erythrocyte based virus like particles) have a well defined size of ∼200 nm and an average protein density on the outer membrane of up to ∼300 proteins/µm2. The correct insertion and functional conformation of the S-proteins was verified by dose-dependent binding to ACE-2 (angiotensin converting enzyme 2) in biolayer interferometry (BLI) assays. Seroconversion was observed in a pilot mouse trial after 14 days when administered intravenously, based on enzyme-linked immunosorbent assays (ELISA). This red blood cell based platform can open novel possibilities for therapeutics for the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) including variants, and other viruses in the future.


Subject(s)
COVID-19 Vaccines , COVID-19 , Erythrocyte Membrane , Molecular Dynamics Simulation , SARS-CoV-2/immunology , Spike Glycoprotein, Coronavirus , Vaccines, Virus-Like Particle , Animals , COVID-19/immunology , COVID-19/prevention & control , COVID-19 Vaccines/chemistry , COVID-19 Vaccines/immunology , COVID-19 Vaccines/pharmacology , Erythrocyte Membrane/chemistry , Erythrocyte Membrane/immunology , Female , Liposomes , Mice , Pilot Projects , Protein Domains , Spike Glycoprotein, Coronavirus/chemistry , Spike Glycoprotein, Coronavirus/immunology , Spike Glycoprotein, Coronavirus/pharmacology , Vaccines, Virus-Like Particle/chemistry , Vaccines, Virus-Like Particle/immunology , Vaccines, Virus-Like Particle/pharmacology
10.
J Microbiol ; 60(3): 335-346, 2022 Mar.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1653796

ABSTRACT

The global spread of coronavirus disease 2019 caused by severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2) infection has provoked an urgent need for prophylactic measures. Several innovative vaccine platforms have been introduced and billions of vaccine doses have been administered worldwide. To enable the creation of safer and more effective vaccines, additional platforms are under development. These include the use of nanoparticle (NP) and virus-like particle (VLP) technology. NP vaccines utilize self-assembling scaffold structures designed to load the entire spike protein or receptor-binding domain of SARS-CoV-2 in a trimeric configuration. In contrast, VLP vaccines are genetically modified recombinant viruses that are considered safe, as they are generally replication-defective. Furthermore, VLPs have indigenous immunogenic potential due to their microbial origin. Importantly, NP and VLP vaccines have shown stronger immunogenicity with greater protection by mimicking the physicochemical characteristics of SARS-CoV-2. The study of NP- and VLP-based coronavirus vaccines will help ensure the development of rapid-response technology against SARS-CoV-2 variants and future coronavirus pandemics.


Subject(s)
COVID-19 , Nanoparticles , Vaccines, Virus-Like Particle , Antibodies, Neutralizing , Antibodies, Viral , COVID-19/prevention & control , COVID-19 Vaccines , Humans , SARS-CoV-2
11.
Cell Rep Med ; 3(2): 100528, 2022 02 15.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1649494

ABSTRACT

The severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2) pandemic has caused an ongoing global health crisis. Here, we present as a vaccine candidate synthetic SARS-CoV-2 spike (S) glycoprotein-coated lipid vesicles that resemble virus-like particles. Soluble S glycoprotein trimer stabilization by formaldehyde cross-linking introduces two major inter-protomer cross-links that keep all receptor-binding domains in the "down" conformation. Immunization of cynomolgus macaques with S coated onto lipid vesicles (S-LVs) induces high antibody titers with potent neutralizing activity against the vaccine strain, Alpha, Beta, and Gamma variants as well as T helper (Th)1 CD4+-biased T cell responses. Although anti-receptor-binding domain (RBD)-specific antibody responses are initially predominant, the third immunization boosts significant non-RBD antibody titers. Challenging vaccinated animals with SARS-CoV-2 shows a complete protection through sterilizing immunity, which correlates with the presence of nasopharyngeal anti-S immunoglobulin G (IgG) and IgA titers. Thus, the S-LV approach is an efficient and safe vaccine candidate based on a proven classical approach for further development and clinical testing.


Subject(s)
COVID-19 Vaccines/administration & dosage , COVID-19/prevention & control , SARS-CoV-2/immunology , Spike Glycoprotein, Coronavirus/immunology , Vaccination/methods , Vaccines, Virus-Like Particle/administration & dosage , Animals , Antibodies, Neutralizing/immunology , Antibodies, Viral/immunology , COVID-19/epidemiology , COVID-19/immunology , COVID-19/virology , COVID-19 Vaccines/immunology , Chlorocebus aethiops , Disease Models, Animal , HEK293 Cells , Humans , Immunoglobulin A/immunology , Immunoglobulin G/immunology , Liposomes , Macaca fascicularis , Male , Pandemics/prevention & control , Th1 Cells/immunology , Treatment Outcome , Vaccines, Virus-Like Particle/immunology , Vero Cells
12.
Sci Rep ; 12(1): 1005, 2022 01 19.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1635617

ABSTRACT

The pandemic of Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome Coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2) has caused a public health emergency, and research on the development of various types of vaccines is rapidly progressing at an unprecedented development speed internationally. Some vaccines have already been approved for emergency use and are being supplied to people around the world, but there are still many ongoing efforts to create new vaccines. Virus-like particles (VLPs) enable the construction of promising platforms in the field of vaccine development. Here, we demonstrate that non-infectious SARS-CoV-2 VLPs can be successfully assembled by co-expressing three important viral proteins membrane (M), envelop (E) and nucleocapsid (N) in plants. Plant-derived VLPs were purified by sedimentation through a sucrose cushion. The shape and size of plant-derived VLPs are similar to native SARS-CoV-2 VLPs without spike. Although the assembled VLPs do not have S protein spikes, they could be developed as formulations that can improve the immunogenicity of vaccines including S antigens, and further could be used as platforms that can carry S antigens of concern for various mutations.


Subject(s)
COVID-19 Vaccines/immunology , COVID-19/immunology , Coronavirus M Proteins/immunology , Coronavirus Nucleocapsid Proteins/immunology , SARS-CoV-2/immunology , Vaccines, Virus-Like Particle/immunology , Viroporin Proteins/immunology , COVID-19/prevention & control , COVID-19/virology , COVID-19 Vaccines/administration & dosage , Coronavirus M Proteins/genetics , Coronavirus M Proteins/metabolism , Coronavirus Nucleocapsid Proteins/genetics , Coronavirus Nucleocapsid Proteins/metabolism , Humans , Tobacco/immunology , Tobacco/metabolism , Tobacco/virology , Vaccines, Virus-Like Particle/genetics , Vaccines, Virus-Like Particle/metabolism , Viroporin Proteins/genetics , Viroporin Proteins/metabolism
13.
Int J Biol Macromol ; 200: 487-497, 2022 Mar 01.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1634879

ABSTRACT

Virus-like particles (VLPs) are nano-scale particles that are morphologically similar to a live virus but which lack a genetic component. Since the pandemic spread of COVID-19, much focus has been placed on coronavirus (CoV)-related VLPs. CoVs contain four structural proteins, though the minimum requirement for VLP formation differs among virus species. CoV VLPs are commonly produced in mammalian and insect cell systems, sometimes in the form of chimeric VLPs that enable surface display of CoV epitopes. VLPs are an ideal model for virological research and have been applied as vaccines and diagnostic reagents to aid in clinical disease control. This review summarizes and updates the research progress on the characteristics of VLPs from different known CoVs, mainly focusing on assembly, in vitro expression systems for VLP generation, VLP chimerism, protein-based nanoparticles and their applications in basic research and clinical settings, which may aid in development of novel VLP vaccines against emerging coronavirus diseases such as SARS-CoV-2.


Subject(s)
Coronavirus/genetics , Coronavirus/immunology , Vaccines, Virus-Like Particle/biosynthesis , Vaccines, Virus-Like Particle/genetics , Animals , Chimerism , Epitopes , Humans , SARS-CoV-2/immunology , Vaccines, Virus-Like Particle/therapeutic use , Viral Proteins , Virus Assembly
14.
Cell Mol Immunol ; 19(2): 222-233, 2022 02.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1607212

ABSTRACT

Although antivirals are important tools to control severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2) infection, effective vaccines are essential to control the current coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) pandemic. Plant-derived virus-like particle (VLP) vaccine candidates have previously demonstrated immunogenicity and efficacy against influenza. Here, we report the immunogenicity and protection induced in rhesus macaques by intramuscular injections of a VLP bearing a SARS-CoV-2 spike protein (CoVLP) vaccine candidate formulated with or without Adjuvant System 03 (AS03) or cytidine-phospho-guanosine (CpG) 1018. Although a single dose of the unadjuvanted CoVLP vaccine candidate stimulated humoral and cell-mediated immune responses, booster immunization (at 28 days after priming) and adjuvant administration significantly improved both responses, with higher immunogenicity and protection provided by the AS03-adjuvanted CoVLP. Fifteen micrograms of CoVLP adjuvanted with AS03 induced a polyfunctional interleukin-2 (IL-2)-driven response and IL-4 expression in CD4 T cells. Animals were challenged by multiple routes (i.e., intratracheal, intranasal, and ocular) with a total viral dose of 106 plaque-forming units of SARS-CoV-2. Lower viral replication in nasal swabs and bronchoalveolar lavage fluid (BALF) as well as fewer SARS-CoV-2-infected cells and immune cell infiltrates in the lungs concomitant with reduced levels of proinflammatory cytokines and chemotactic factors in the BALF were observed in animals immunized with the CoVLP adjuvanted with AS03. No clinical, pathologic, or virologic evidence of vaccine-associated enhanced disease was observed in vaccinated animals. The CoVLP adjuvanted with AS03 was therefore selected for vaccine development and clinical trials.


Subject(s)
Adjuvants, Immunologic/adverse effects , COVID-19 Vaccines/adverse effects , COVID-19/immunology , COVID-19/prevention & control , Immunogenicity, Vaccine/immunology , Pandemics/prevention & control , Polysorbates/adverse effects , SARS-CoV-2/immunology , Squalene/adverse effects , Tobacco/metabolism , Vaccination/methods , Vaccines, Virus-Like Particle/adverse effects , alpha-Tocopherol/adverse effects , Adjuvants, Immunologic/administration & dosage , Animals , Antibodies, Neutralizing/blood , Antibodies, Neutralizing/immunology , Antibodies, Viral/blood , Antibodies, Viral/immunology , COVID-19/epidemiology , COVID-19/virology , COVID-19 Vaccines/administration & dosage , Disease Models, Animal , Drug Combinations , Drug Compounding/methods , Immunity, Humoral , Macaca mulatta , Male , Polysorbates/administration & dosage , Recombinant Proteins/immunology , Recombinant Proteins/metabolism , Spike Glycoprotein, Coronavirus/immunology , Spike Glycoprotein, Coronavirus/metabolism , Squalene/administration & dosage , Treatment Outcome , Vaccines, Virus-Like Particle/administration & dosage , alpha-Tocopherol/administration & dosage
15.
Biotechnol Lett ; 44(1): 45-57, 2022 Jan.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1536319

ABSTRACT

After its emergence in late 2019 SARS-CoV-2 was declared a pandemic by the World Health Organization on 11 March 2020 and has claimed more than 2.8 million lives. There has been a massive global effort to develop vaccines against SARS-CoV-2 and the rapid and low cost production of large quantities of vaccine is urgently needed to ensure adequate supply to both developed and developing countries. Virus-like particles (VLPs) are composed of viral antigens that self-assemble into structures that mimic the structure of native viruses but lack the viral genome. Thus they are not only a safer alternative to attenuated or inactivated vaccines but are also able to induce potent cellular and humoral immune responses and can be manufactured recombinantly in expression systems that do not require viral replication. VLPs have successfully been produced in bacteria, yeast, insect and mammalian cell cultures, each production platform with its own advantages and limitations. Plants offer a number of advantages in one production platform, including proper eukaryotic protein modification and assembly, increased safety, low cost, high scalability as well as rapid production speed, a critical factor needed to control outbreaks of potential pandemics. Plant-based VLP-based viral vaccines currently in clinical trials include, amongst others, Hepatitis B virus, Influenza virus and SARS-CoV-2 vaccines. Here we discuss the importance of plants as a next generation expression system for the fast, scalable and low cost production of VLP-based vaccines.


Subject(s)
COVID-19 Vaccines/biosynthesis , Plants, Genetically Modified/metabolism , SARS-CoV-2/immunology , Vaccines, Virus-Like Particle/biosynthesis , Antigens, Viral/genetics , Antigens, Viral/metabolism , COVID-19 Vaccines/economics , COVID-19 Vaccines/genetics , Gene Expression , Plants, Genetically Modified/genetics , Recombinant Proteins/genetics , Recombinant Proteins/metabolism , Vaccines, Virus-Like Particle/economics , Vaccines, Virus-Like Particle/genetics , Viral Vaccines/biosynthesis , Viral Vaccines/genetics
16.
Reprod Toxicol ; 107: 69-80, 2022 01.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1531737

ABSTRACT

Severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2) infection resulting in the coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) has afflicted tens of millions of people in a worldwide pandemic. A recently developed recombinant Plant-Derived Virus-Like Particle Vaccine candidate for COVID-19 (CoVLP) formulated with AS03 has been shown to be well-tolerated and highly immunogenic in healthy adults. Since the target population for the vaccine includes women of childbearing potential, the objective of the study was to evaluate any untoward prenatal and postnatal effects of AS03-adjuvanted CoVLP administered intramuscularly to Sprague-Dawley female rats before cohabitation for mating (22 and 8 days prior) and during gestation (Gestation Days [GD] 6 and 19). The embryo-fetal development (EFD) cohort was subjected to cesarean on GD 21 and the pre/post-natal (PPN) cohort was allowed to naturally deliver. Effects of AS03-adjuvanted CoVLP was evaluated on pregnant rats, embryo-fetal development (EFD), during parturition, lactation and the development of the F1 offspring up to weaning Vaccination with AS03-adjuvanted CoVLP induced an antibody response in F0 females and anti-SARS-CoV-2 spike-specific maternal antibodies were detected in the offspring at the end of the gestation and lactation periods. Overall, there was no evidence of untoward effects of AS03-adjuvanted CoVLP on the fertility or reproductive performance of the vaccinated F0 females. There was no evidence of untoward effects on embryo-fetal development (including teratogenicity), or early (pre-weaning) development of the F1 offspring. These results support the acceptable safety profile of the AS03-adjuvanted CoVLP vaccine for administration to women of childbearing potential.


Subject(s)
COVID-19 Vaccines , COVID-19/prevention & control , Embryonic Development/drug effects , Fertility/drug effects , Fetal Development/drug effects , Polysorbates/administration & dosage , Squalene/administration & dosage , Vaccines, Virus-Like Particle/administration & dosage , alpha-Tocopherol/administration & dosage , Animals , Animals, Newborn , Antibodies, Viral/blood , Drug Combinations , Female , Immunoglobulin G/blood , Maternal-Fetal Exchange , Pregnancy , Rats, Sprague-Dawley , Recombinant Proteins/immunology , SARS-CoV-2/immunology , Spike Glycoprotein, Coronavirus/genetics , Spike Glycoprotein, Coronavirus/immunology , Tobacco/genetics
17.
Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A ; 118(43)2021 10 26.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1481965

ABSTRACT

Self-amplifying RNA replicons are promising platforms for vaccine generation. Their defects in one or more essential functions for viral replication, particle assembly, or dissemination make them highly safe as vaccines. We previously showed that the deletion of the envelope (E) gene from the Middle East respiratory syndrome coronavirus (MERS-CoV) produces a replication-competent propagation-defective RNA replicon (MERS-CoV-ΔE). Evaluation of this replicon in mice expressing human dipeptidyl peptidase 4, the virus receptor, showed that the single deletion of the E gene generated an attenuated mutant. The combined deletion of the E gene with accessory open reading frames (ORFs) 3, 4a, 4b, and 5 resulted in a highly attenuated propagation-defective RNA replicon (MERS-CoV-Δ[3,4a,4b,5,E]). This RNA replicon induced sterilizing immunity in mice after challenge with a lethal dose of a virulent MERS-CoV, as no histopathological damage or infectious virus was detected in the lungs of challenged mice. The four mutants lacking the E gene were genetically stable, did not recombine with the E gene provided in trans during their passage in cell culture, and showed a propagation-defective phenotype in vivo. In addition, immunization with MERS-CoV-Δ[3,4a,4b,5,E] induced significant levels of neutralizing antibodies, indicating that MERS-CoV RNA replicons are highly safe and promising vaccine candidates.


Subject(s)
Coronavirus Infections/prevention & control , Middle East Respiratory Syndrome Coronavirus/genetics , Middle East Respiratory Syndrome Coronavirus/immunology , RNA, Viral/administration & dosage , Replicon , Viral Vaccines/administration & dosage , Animals , Antibodies, Neutralizing/biosynthesis , Antibodies, Viral/biosynthesis , Coronavirus Infections/genetics , Coronavirus Infections/immunology , Coronavirus Infections/virology , Defective Viruses/genetics , Defective Viruses/immunology , Female , Gene Deletion , Genes, env , Humans , Mice , Mice, Inbred C57BL , Mice, Transgenic , Middle East Respiratory Syndrome Coronavirus/pathogenicity , RNA, Viral/genetics , RNA, Viral/immunology , Vaccines, DNA , Vaccines, Virus-Like Particle/administration & dosage , Vaccines, Virus-Like Particle/genetics , Vaccines, Virus-Like Particle/immunology , Viral Vaccines/genetics , Viral Vaccines/immunology , Virulence/genetics , Virulence/immunology
18.
Curr Opin Biotechnol ; 73: 346-354, 2022 02.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1487673

ABSTRACT

Virus-like particles (VLPs) can play important roles in prevention and therapy for infectious diseases and cancer. Here we describe recent advances in rational construction of VLP assemblies, as well as new approaches to enhance long-lasting antibody and CD8+ T cell responses. DNA origami and computational protein design identified optimal spacing of antigens. Chemical biology advances enabled simple and irreversible VLP decoration with protein or polysaccharide antigens. Mosaic VLPs co-displayed antigens to generate cross-reactive antibodies against different influenza strains and coronaviruses. The mode of action of adjuvants inside VLPs was established through knock-outs and repackaging of innate immune stimuli. VLPs themselves showed their power as adjuvants in cancer models. Finally, landmark clinical results were obtained against malaria and the SARS-CoV-2 pandemic.


Subject(s)
COVID-19 , Communicable Diseases , Neoplasms , Vaccines, Virus-Like Particle , Adjuvants, Immunologic , Humans , SARS-CoV-2
19.
Curr Top Med Chem ; 21(14): 1235-1250, 2021 Oct 05.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1441869

ABSTRACT

BACKGROUND: Virus-like Particles (VLPs) are non-genetic multimeric nanoparticles synthesized through in vitro or in vivo self-assembly of one or more viral structural proteins. Immunogenicity and safety of VLPs make them ideal candidates for vaccine development and efficient nanocarriers for foreign antigens or adjuvants to activate the immune system. AIMS: The present study aimed to design and synthesize a chimeric VLP vaccine of the phage Qbeta (Qß) coat protein presenting the universal epitope of the coronavirus. METHODS: The RNA phage Qß coat protein was designed and synthesized, denoted as Qbeta. The CoV epitope, a universal epitope of coronavirus, was inserted into the C-terminal of Qbeta using genetic recombination, designated as Qbeta-CoV. The N-terminal of Qbeta-CoV was successively inserted into the TEV restriction site using mCherry red fluorescent label and modified affinity purified histidine label 6xHE, which was denoted as HE-Qbeta-CoV. Isopropyl ß-D-1-thiogalactopyranoside (IPTG) assessment revealed the expression of Qbeta, Qbeta-CoV, and HE-Qbeta-CoV in the BL21 (DE3) cells. The fusion protein was purified by salting out using ammonium sulfate and affinity chromatography. The morphology of particles was observed using electron microscopy. The female BALB/C mice were immunized intraperitoneally with the Qbeta-CoV and HE-Qbeta-- CoV chimeric VLPs vaccines and their sera were collected for the detection of antibody level and antibody titer using ELISA. The serum is used for the neutralization test of the three viruses of MHV, PEDV, and PDCoV. RESULTS: The results revealed that the fusion proteins Qbeta, Qbeta-CoV, and HE-Qbeta-CoV could all obtain successful expression. Particles with high purity were obtained after purification; the chimeric particles of Qbeta-CoV and HE-Qbeta-CoV were found to be similar to Qbeta particles in morphology and formed chimeric VLPs. In addition, two chimeric VLP vaccines induced specific antibody responses in mice and the antibodies showed certain neutralizing activity. CONCLUSION: The successful construction of the chimeric VLPs of the phage Qß coat protein presenting the universal epitope of coronavirus provides a vaccine form with potential clinical applications for the treatment of coronavirus disease.


Subject(s)
Antibodies, Neutralizing/immunology , Capsid Proteins/immunology , Coronavirus/immunology , Vaccines, Virus-Like Particle/immunology , Animals , Antigens, Viral/genetics , Antigens, Viral/immunology , Enzyme-Linked Immunosorbent Assay , Female , Mice, Inbred BALB C , Microscopy, Electron, Scanning , Phylogeny , Recombinant Fusion Proteins/genetics , Recombinant Fusion Proteins/isolation & purification , Recombinant Fusion Proteins/metabolism , Vaccines, Virus-Like Particle/genetics , Viral Proteins/genetics
20.
Allergy ; 77(1): 258-270, 2022 01.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1406541

ABSTRACT

BACKGROUND: Vaccines that incorporate multiple SARS-CoV-2 antigens can further broaden the breadth of virus-specific cellular and humoral immunity. This study describes the development and immunogenicity of SARS-CoV-2 VLP vaccine that incorporates the four structural proteins of SARS-CoV-2. METHODS: VLPs were generated in transiently transfected HEK293 cells, purified by multimodal chromatography, and characterized by tunable-resistive pulse sensing, AFM, SEM, and TEM. Immunoblotting studies verified the protein identities of VLPs. Cellular and humoral immune responses of immunized animals demonstrated the immune potency of the formulated VLP vaccine. RESULTS: Transiently transfected HEK293 cells reproducibly generated vesicular VLPs that were similar in size to and expressing all four structural proteins of SARS-CoV-2. Alum adsorbed, K3-CpG ODN-adjuvanted VLPs elicited high titer anti-S, anti-RBD, anti-N IgG, triggered multifunctional Th1-biased T-cell responses, reduced virus load, and prevented lung pathology upon live virus challenge in vaccinated animals. CONCLUSION: These data suggest that VLPs expressing all four structural protein antigens of SARS-CoV-2 are immunogenic and can protect animals from developing COVID-19 infection following vaccination.


Subject(s)
COVID-19 , Vaccines, Virus-Like Particle , Animals , Antibodies, Neutralizing , Antibodies, Viral , COVID-19 Vaccines , HEK293 Cells , Humans , SARS-CoV-2
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