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1.
Life Sci Alliance ; 4(4)2021 04.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1389962

ABSTRACT

A critical question in understanding the immunity to SARS-COV-2 is whether recovered patients are protected against re-challenge and transmission upon second exposure. We developed a Syrian hamster model in which intranasal inoculation of just 100 TCID50 virus caused viral pneumonia. Aged hamsters developed more severe disease and even succumbed to SARS-CoV-2 infection, representing the first lethal model using genetically unmodified laboratory animals. After initial viral clearance, the hamsters were re-challenged with 105 TCID50 SARS-CoV-2 and displayed more than 4 log reduction in median viral loads in both nasal washes and lungs in comparison to primary infections. Most importantly, re-challenged hamsters were unable to transmit virus to naïve hamsters, and this was accompanied by the presence of neutralizing antibodies. Altogether, these results show that SARS-CoV-2 infection induces protective immunity that not only prevents re-exposure but also limits transmission in hamsters. These findings may help guide public health policies and vaccine development and aid evaluation of effective vaccines against SARS-CoV-2.


Subject(s)
COVID-19/immunology , COVID-19/transmission , Immunity , Reinfection/immunology , Reinfection/transmission , SARS-CoV-2/immunology , Age Factors , Animals , Antibodies, Neutralizing/immunology , Antibodies, Viral/immunology , COVID-19/virology , Chlorocebus aethiops , Cricetinae , Disease Models, Animal , Female , HEK293 Cells , Humans , Male , RNA, Viral/genetics , Reinfection/virology , SARS-CoV-2/genetics , Transfection , Vero Cells , Viral Load
2.
Nat Commun ; 12(1): 2790, 2021 05 13.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1387341

ABSTRACT

SARS-CoV-2 is of zoonotic origin and contains a PRRA polybasic cleavage motif which is considered critical for efficient infection and transmission in humans. We previously reported on a panel of attenuated SARS-CoV-2 variants with deletions at the S1/S2 junction of the spike protein. Here, we characterize pathogenicity, immunogenicity, and protective ability of a further cell-adapted SARS-CoV-2 variant, Ca-DelMut, in in vitro and in vivo systems. Ca-DelMut replicates more efficiently than wild type or parental virus in Vero E6 cells, but causes no apparent disease in hamsters, despite replicating in respiratory tissues. Unlike wild type virus, Ca-DelMut causes no obvious pathological changes and does not induce elevation of proinflammatory cytokines, but still triggers a strong neutralizing antibody and T cell response in hamsters and mice. Ca-DelMut immunized hamsters challenged with wild type SARS-CoV-2 are fully protected, with little sign of virus replication in the upper or lower respiratory tract, demonstrating sterilizing immunity.


Subject(s)
COVID-19/diagnosis , Mutation , SARS-CoV-2/genetics , Spike Glycoprotein, Coronavirus/genetics , Virus Replication/genetics , Animals , COVID-19/immunology , COVID-19/virology , Cell Line, Tumor , Chlorocebus aethiops , Cricetinae , Cytokines/immunology , Cytokines/metabolism , Female , Host-Pathogen Interactions , Humans , Male , Mesocricetus , Mice, Inbred BALB C , SARS-CoV-2/immunology , SARS-CoV-2/pathogenicity , T-Lymphocytes/immunology , T-Lymphocytes/metabolism , Vero Cells , Virulence/genetics , Virulence/immunology
3.
Clin Infect Dis ; 73(2): e503-e512, 2021 07 15.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1315661

ABSTRACT

BACKGROUND: Coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) is primarily an acute respiratory tract infection. Distinctively, a substantial proportion of COVID-19 patients develop olfactory dysfunction. Especially in young patients, loss of smell can be the first or only symptom. The roles of inflammatory obstruction of the olfactory clefts, inflammatory cytokines affecting olfactory neuronal function, destruction of olfactory neurons or their supporting cells, and direct invasion of olfactory bulbs in causing olfactory dysfunction are uncertain. METHODS: We investigated the location for the pathogenesis of severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2) from the olfactory epithelium (OE) to the olfactory bulb in golden Syrian hamsters. RESULTS: After intranasal inoculation with SARS-CoV-2, inflammatory cell infiltration and proinflammatory cytokine/chemokine responses were detected in the nasal turbinate tissues. The responses peaked between 2 and 4 days postinfection, with the highest viral load detected at day 2 postinfection. In addition to the pseudo-columnar ciliated respiratory epithelial cells, SARS-CoV-2 viral antigens were also detected in the mature olfactory sensory neurons labeled by olfactory marker protein, in the less mature olfactory neurons labeled by neuron-specific class III ß-tubulin at the more basal position, and in the sustentacular cells, resulting in apoptosis and severe destruction of the OE. During the entire course of infection, SARS-CoV-2 viral antigens were not detected in the olfactory bulb. CONCLUSIONS: In addition to acute inflammation at the OE, infection of mature and immature olfactory neurons and the supporting sustentacular cells by SARS-CoV-2 may contribute to the unique olfactory dysfunction related to COVID-19, which is not reported with SARS-CoV-2.


Subject(s)
COVID-19 , Olfactory Receptor Neurons , Animals , Cricetinae , Humans , Mesocricetus , Olfactory Mucosa , SARS-CoV-2
4.
Clin Infect Dis ; 73(2): e437-e444, 2021 07 15.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1315658

ABSTRACT

BACKGROUND: Severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2) contains the furin cleavage Proline-Arginine-Arginine-Alanine (PRRA) motif in the S1/S2 region, which enhances viral pathogenicity but is absent in closely related bat and pangolin coronaviruses. Whether bat-like coronaviral variants without PRRA (∆PRRA) can establish natural infections in humans is unknown. METHODS: Here, we developed a duplex digital polymerase chain reaction assay to examine ∆PRRA variants in Vero-E6-propagated isolates, human organoids, experimentally infected hamsters, and coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) patients. RESULTS: We found that SARS-CoV-2, as currently transmitting in humans, contained a quasispecies of wild-type, ∆PRRA variants and variants that have mutations upstream of the PRRA motif. Moreover, the ∆PRRA variants were readily detected despite being at a low intra-host frequency in transmitted founder viruses in hamsters and in COVID-19 patients, including in acute cases and a family cluster, with a prevalence rate of 52.9%. CONCLUSIONS: Our findings demonstrate that bat-like SARS-CoV-2ΔPRRA not only naturally exists but remains transmissible in COVID-19 patients, which has significant implications regarding the zoonotic origin and natural evolution of SARS-CoV-2.


Subject(s)
COVID-19 , Chiroptera , Alanine , Animals , Arginine , Humans , Proline , SARS-CoV-2 , Spike Glycoprotein, Coronavirus/genetics
5.
Methods Mol Biol ; 2099: 137-159, 2020.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1292550

ABSTRACT

Since 2012, monthly cases of Middle East respiratory syndrome coronavirus (MERS-CoV) continue to cause severe respiratory disease that is fatal in ~35% of diagnosed individuals. The ongoing threat to global public health and the need for novel therapeutic countermeasures have driven the development of animal models that can reproducibly replicate the pathology associated with MERS-CoV in human infections. The inability of MERS-CoV to replicate in the respiratory tracts of mice, hamsters, and ferrets stymied initial attempts to generate small animal models. Identification of human dipeptidyl peptidase IV (hDPP4) as the receptor for MERS-CoV infection opened the door for genetic engineering of mice. Precise molecular engineering of mouse DPP4 (mDPP4) with clustered regularly interspaced short palindromic repeats (CRISPR)/Cas9 technology maintained inherent expression profiles, and limited MERS-CoV susceptibility to tissues that naturally express mDPP4, notably the lower respiratory tract wherein MERS-CoV elicits severe pulmonary pathology. Here, we describe the generation of the 288-330+/+ MERS-CoV mouse model in which mice were made susceptible to MERS-CoV by modifying two amino acids on mDPP4 (A288 and T330), and the use of adaptive evolution to generate novel MERS-CoV isolates that cause fatal respiratory disease. The 288-330+/+ mice are currently being used to evaluate novel drug, antibody, and vaccine therapeutic countermeasures for MERS-CoV. The chapter starts with a historical perspective on the emergence of MERS-CoV and animal models evaluated for MERS-CoV pathogenesis, and then outlines the development of the 288-330+/+ mouse model, assays for assessing a MERS-CoV pulmonary infection in a mouse model, and describes some of the challenges associated with using genetically engineered mice.


Subject(s)
Coronavirus Infections/virology , Dipeptidyl Peptidase 4/genetics , Disease Models, Animal , Mice/genetics , Middle East Respiratory Syndrome Coronavirus/physiology , Respiratory Distress Syndrome/virology , Animals , CRISPR-Cas Systems , Coronavirus Infections/pathology , Dipeptidyl Peptidase 4/metabolism , Disease Susceptibility , Female , Genetic Engineering , Humans , Lung/virology , Male , Mice, Inbred C57BL , Respiratory Distress Syndrome/pathology
6.
mSphere ; : e0050721, 2021 Jun 16.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1270880

ABSTRACT

Epidemiological studies have revealed the emergence of multiple severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2) variants of concern (VOC), including the lineage B.1.1.7 that is rapidly replacing old variants. The B.1.1.7 variant has been linked to increased morbidity rates, transmissibility, and potentially mortality. To assess viral fitness in vivo and to address whether the B.1.1.7 variant is capable of immune escape, we conducted infection and reinfection studies in naive and convalescent Syrian hamsters (>10 months old). Nasal wash samples from hamsters infected by a B.1.1.7 variant exhibited slightly higher viral RNA levels but lower infectious titers than those from B.1 (G614) variant-infected hamsters, and the two variants induced comparable lung pathologies in hamsters. Despite a sporadic and transient low-level infection in the nasal cavity, convalescent hamsters that had recovered from a previous USA-WA1 isolate (D614) infection displayed no observable clinical signs or lung pathology following B.1.1.7 rechallenge. Altogether, our study did not find that the B.1.1.7 variant significantly differs from the B.1 variant in pathogenicity in Syrian hamsters and that a heterologous natural infection-induced immunity confers protection against a secondary challenge by the B1.1.7 variant. IMPORTANCE The rapid emergence of several variants of concern of SARS-CoV-2 calls for evaluations of viral fitness and pathogenicity in animal models in order to understand the mechanism of enhanced transmission and the possible increases in morbidity and mortality rates. Here, we demonstrated that immunity naturally acquired through a prior infection with the first-wave variant does confer nearly complete protection against the B.1.1.7 variant in Syrian hamsters upon reexposure. Strikingly, although the B.1.1.7 variant appears to replicate to a higher level in the nose than the ancestral B.1 variant, it does not induce more severe lung pathology in hamsters.

7.
Clin Infect Dis ; 72(12): e978-e992, 2021 06 15.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1269557

ABSTRACT

BACKGROUND: Clinical outcomes of the interaction between the co-circulating pandemic severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2) and seasonal influenza viruses are unknown. METHODS: We established a golden Syrian hamster model coinfected by SARS-CoV-2 and mouse-adapted A(H1N1)pdm09 simultaneously or sequentially. The weight loss, clinical scores, histopathological changes, viral load and titer, and serum neutralizing antibody titer were compared with hamsters challenged by either virus. RESULTS: Coinfected hamsters had more weight loss, more severe lung inflammatory damage, and tissue cytokine/chemokine expression. Lung viral load, infectious virus titers, and virus antigen expression suggested that hamsters were generally more susceptible to SARS-CoV-2 than to A(H1N1)pdm09. Sequential coinfection with A(H1N1)pdm09 one day prior to SARS-CoV-2 exposure resulted in a lower lung SARS-CoV-2 titer and viral load than with SARS-CoV-2 monoinfection, but a higher lung A(H1N1)pdm09 viral load. Coinfection also increased intestinal inflammation with more SARS-CoV-2 nucleoprotein expression in enterocytes. Simultaneous coinfection was associated with delay in resolution of lung damage, lower serum SARS-CoV-2 neutralizing antibody, and longer SARS-CoV-2 shedding in oral swabs compared to that of SARS-CoV-2 monoinfection. CONCLUSIONS: Simultaneous or sequential coinfection by SARS-CoV-2 and A(H1N1)pdm09 caused more severe disease than monoinfection by either virus in hamsters. Prior A(H1N1)pdm09 infection lowered SARS-CoV-2 pulmonary viral loads but enhanced lung damage. Whole-population influenza vaccination for prevention of coinfection, and multiplex molecular diagnostics for both viruses to achieve early initiation of antiviral treatment for improvement of clinical outcome should be considered.


Subject(s)
COVID-19 , Coinfection , Influenza A Virus, H1N1 Subtype , Influenza, Human , Animals , Cricetinae , Disease Models, Animal , Humans , Mesocricetus , Mice , SARS-CoV-2
8.
EBioMedicine ; 68: 103390, 2021 Jun.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1267655

ABSTRACT

BACKGROUND: Coronavirus Disease 2019 (Covid-19) continues to challenge the limits of our knowledge and our healthcare system. Here we sought to define the host immune response, a.k.a, the "cytokine storm" that has been implicated in fatal COVID-19 using an AI-based approach. METHOD: Over 45,000 transcriptomic datasets of viral pandemics were analyzed to extract a 166-gene signature using ACE2 as a 'seed' gene; ACE2 was rationalized because it encodes the receptor that facilitates the entry of SARS-CoV-2 (the virus that causes COVID-19) into host cells. An AI-based approach was used to explore the utility of the signature in navigating the uncharted territory of Covid-19, setting therapeutic goals, and finding therapeutic solutions. FINDINGS: The 166-gene signature was surprisingly conserved across all viral pandemics, including COVID-19, and a subset of 20-genes classified disease severity, inspiring the nomenclatures ViP and severe-ViP signatures, respectively. The ViP signatures pinpointed a paradoxical phenomenon wherein lung epithelial and myeloid cells mount an IL15 cytokine storm, and epithelial and NK cell senescence and apoptosis determine severity/fatality. Precise therapeutic goals could be formulated; these goals were met in high-dose SARS-CoV-2-challenged hamsters using either neutralizing antibodies that abrogate SARS-CoV-2•ACE2 engagement or a directly acting antiviral agent, EIDD-2801. IL15/IL15RA were elevated in the lungs of patients with fatal disease, and plasma levels of the cytokine prognosticated disease severity. INTERPRETATION: The ViP signatures provide a quantitative and qualitative framework for titrating the immune response in viral pandemics and may serve as a powerful unbiased tool to rapidly assess disease severity and vet candidate drugs. FUNDING: This work was supported by the National Institutes for Health (NIH) [grants CA151673 and GM138385 (to DS) and AI141630 (to P.G), DK107585-05S1 (SD) and AI155696 (to P.G, D.S and S.D), U19-AI142742 (to S. C, CCHI: Cooperative Centers for Human Immunology)]; Research Grants Program Office (RGPO) from the University of California Office of the President (UCOP) (R00RG2628 & R00RG2642 to P.G, D.S and S.D); the UC San Diego Sanford Stem Cell Clinical Center (to P.G, D.S and S.D); LJI Institutional Funds (to S.C); the VA San Diego Healthcare System Institutional funds (to L.C.A). GDK was supported through The American Association of Immunologists Intersect Fellowship Program for Computational Scientists and Immunologists. ONE SENTENCE SUMMARY: The host immune response in COVID-19.


Subject(s)
Angiotensin-Converting Enzyme 2/genetics , Antiviral Agents/administration & dosage , COVID-19/genetics , Gene Expression Profiling/methods , Interleukin-15/genetics , Receptors, Interleukin-15/genetics , Virus Diseases/genetics , Animals , Antibodies, Neutralizing/administration & dosage , Antibodies, Neutralizing/pharmacology , Antiviral Agents/pharmacology , Artificial Intelligence , Autopsy , COVID-19/drug therapy , COVID-19/immunology , Cricetinae , Cytidine/administration & dosage , Cytidine/analogs & derivatives , Cytidine/pharmacology , Databases, Genetic , Disease Models, Animal , Gene Regulatory Networks/drug effects , Genetic Markers/drug effects , Humans , Hydroxylamines/administration & dosage , Hydroxylamines/pharmacology , Interleukin-15/blood , Lung/immunology , Mesocricetus , Pandemics , Receptors, Interleukin-15/blood , Virus Diseases/immunology
9.
FASEB J ; 35(7): e21713, 2021 07.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1262245

ABSTRACT

Syrian golden hamsters (Mesocricetus auratus) infected by severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2) manifests lung pathology. In this study, efforts were made to check the infectivity of a local SARS-CoV-2 isolate in a self-limiting and non-lethal hamster model and evaluate the differential expression of lung proteins during acute infection and convalescence. The findings of this study confirm the infectivity of this isolate in vivo. Analysis of clinical parameters and tissue samples show the pathophysiological manifestation of SARS-CoV-2 infection similar to that reported earlier in COVID-19 patients and hamsters infected with other isolates. However, diffuse alveolar damage (DAD), a common histopathological feature of human COVID-19 was only occasionally noticed. The lung-associated pathological changes were very prominent on the 4th day post-infection (dpi), mostly resolved by 14 dpi. Here, we carried out the quantitative proteomic analysis of the lung tissues from SARS-CoV-2-infected hamsters on day 4 and day 14 post-infection. This resulted in the identification of 1585 proteins of which 68 proteins were significantly altered between both the infected groups. Pathway analysis revealed complement and coagulation cascade, platelet activation, ferroptosis, and focal adhesion as the top enriched pathways. In addition, we also identified altered expression of two pulmonary surfactant-associated proteins (Sftpd and Sftpb), known for their protective role in lung function. Together, these findings will aid in understanding the mechanism(s) involved in SARS-CoV-2 pathogenesis and progression of the disease.


Subject(s)
COVID-19/metabolism , COVID-19/pathology , Host-Pathogen Interactions , Lung/metabolism , Lung/virology , Proteomics , SARS-CoV-2/pathogenicity , Animals , COVID-19/virology , Cricetinae , Disease Models, Animal , Female , Lung/pathology , Male , Proteome/analysis , Proteome/biosynthesis , Reproducibility of Results , Viral Load
10.
Microorganisms ; 9(5)2021 May 12.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1227045

ABSTRACT

The 2019 novel coronavirus, SARS-CoV-2, first reported in December 2019, has infected over 102 million people around the world as of February 2021 and thus calls for rapid development of safe and effective interventions, namely vaccines. In our study, we evaluated a DNA vaccine against SARS-CoV-2 in the Syrian hamster model. Hamsters were vaccinated with a DNA-plasmid encoding the SARS-CoV-2 full length spike open reading frame (ORF) to induce host cells to produce spike protein and protective immune responses before exposure to infectious virus. We tested this vaccine candidate by both intranasal (IN) and intramuscular (IM) routes of administration and complexing with and without an in vivo delivery reagent. Hamsters receiving prime-boost-boost IM-only vaccinations recovered body weight quicker, had decreased lung viral loads, and increased SARS-CoV-2-specific antibody titers compared to control vaccinated animals but, surprisingly, lung pathology was as severe as sham vaccinated controls. The IM/IN combination group showed no efficacy in reducing lung virus titers or pathology. With increasing public health need for rapid and effective interventions, our data demonstrate that in some vaccine contexts, significant antibody responses and decreased viral loads may not be sufficient to prevent lung pathology.

11.
Int J Pharm ; 603: 120701, 2021 Jun 15.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1225261

ABSTRACT

In this work, we have developed and tested a dry powder form of niclosamide made by thin-film freezing (TFF) and administered it by inhalation to rats and hamsters to gather data about its toxicology and pharmacokinetics. Niclosamide, a poorly water-soluble drug, is an interesting drug candidate because it was approved over 60 years ago for use as an anthelmintic medication, but recent studies demonstrated its potential as a broad-spectrum antiviral with pharmacological effect against SARS-CoV-2 infection. TFF was used to develop a niclosamide inhalation powder composition that exhibited acceptable aerosol performance with a fine particle fraction (FPF) of 86.0% and a mass median aerodynamic diameter (MMAD) and geometric standard deviation (GSD) of 1.11 µm and 2.84, respectively. This formulation not only proved to be safe after an acute three-day, multi-dose tolerability and exposure study in rats as evidenced by histopathology analysis, and also was able to achieve lung concentrations above the required IC90 levels for at least 24 h after a single administration in a Syrian hamster model. To conclude, we successfully developed a niclosamide dry powder inhalation that overcomes niclosamide's limitation of poor oral bioavailability by targeting the drug directly to the primary site of infection, the lungs.


Subject(s)
COVID-19 , Niclosamide , Administration, Inhalation , Aerosols , Animals , Cricetinae , Dry Powder Inhalers , Freezing , Humans , Particle Size , Powders , Rats , SARS-CoV-2
12.
Sci Transl Med ; 13(596)2021 06 02.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1214961

ABSTRACT

Whereas recent investigations have revealed viral, inflammatory, and vascular factors involved in severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2) lung pathogenesis, the pathophysiology of neurological disorders in coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) remains poorly understood. Olfactory and taste dysfunction are common in COVID-19, especially in mildly symptomatic patients. Here, we conducted a virologic, molecular, and cellular study of the olfactory neuroepithelium of seven patients with COVID-19 presenting with acute loss of smell. We report evidence that the olfactory neuroepithelium is a major site of SARS-CoV2 infection with multiple cell types, including olfactory sensory neurons, support cells, and immune cells, becoming infected. SARS-CoV-2 replication in the olfactory neuroepithelium was associated with local inflammation. Furthermore, we showed that SARS-CoV-2 induced acute anosmia and ageusia in golden Syrian hamsters, lasting as long as the virus remained in the olfactory epithelium and the olfactory bulb. Last, olfactory mucosa sampling from patients showing long-term persistence of COVID-19-associated anosmia revealed the presence of virus transcripts and of SARS-CoV-2-infected cells, together with protracted inflammation. SARS-CoV-2 persistence and associated inflammation in the olfactory neuroepithelium may account for prolonged or relapsing symptoms of COVID-19, such as loss of smell, which should be considered for optimal medical management of this disease.


Subject(s)
Anosmia/virology , Brain/virology , COVID-19 , Olfactory Mucosa/pathology , Animals , COVID-19/pathology , Cricetinae , Humans , Inflammation , Olfactory Mucosa/virology , RNA, Viral , SARS-CoV-2
13.
Sci Rep ; 11(1): 8761, 2021 04 22.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1199318

ABSTRACT

The COVID-19 pandemic presents an unprecedented challenge to global public health. Rapid development and deployment of safe and effective vaccines are imperative to control the pandemic. In the current study, we applied our adjuvanted stable prefusion SARS-CoV-2 spike (S-2P)-based vaccine, MVC-COV1901, to hamster models to demonstrate immunogenicity and protection from virus challenge. Golden Syrian hamsters immunized intramuscularly with two injections of 1 µg or 5 µg of S-2P adjuvanted with CpG 1018 and aluminum hydroxide (alum) were challenged intranasally with SARS-CoV-2. Prior to virus challenge, the vaccine induced high levels of neutralizing antibodies with 10,000-fold higher IgG level and an average of 50-fold higher pseudovirus neutralizing titers in either dose groups than vehicle or adjuvant control groups. Six days after infection, vaccinated hamsters did not display any weight loss associated with infection and had significantly reduced lung pathology and most importantly, lung viral load levels were reduced to lower than detection limit compared to unvaccinated animals. Vaccination with either 1 µg or 5 µg of adjuvanted S-2P produced comparable immunogenicity and protection from infection. This study builds upon our previous results to support the clinical development of MVC-COV1901 as a safe, highly immunogenic, and protective COVID-19 vaccine.


Subject(s)
Adjuvants, Immunologic/administration & dosage , Aluminum Hydroxide/administration & dosage , COVID-19/prevention & control , Oligodeoxyribonucleotides/administration & dosage , Spike Glycoprotein, Coronavirus/immunology , Aluminum Hydroxide/immunology , Animals , Antibodies, Neutralizing/metabolism , COVID-19/immunology , COVID-19 Vaccines/administration & dosage , COVID-19 Vaccines/immunology , Cell Line , Cricetinae , Female , Humans , Immunization , Injections, Intramuscular , Oligodeoxyribonucleotides/immunology , SARS-CoV-2/immunology , SARS-CoV-2/physiology , Viral Load/drug effects
14.
NPJ Vaccines ; 6(1): 61, 2021 Apr 19.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1193587

ABSTRACT

Emergency use authorization of COVID vaccines has brought hope to mitigate pandemic of coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19). However, there remains a need for additional effective vaccines to meet the global demand and address the potential new viral variants. mRNA technologies offer an expeditious path alternative to traditional vaccine approaches. Here we describe the efforts to utilize an mRNA platform for rational design and evaluations of mRNA vaccine candidates based on the spike (S) glycoprotein of SARS-CoV-2. Several mRNA constructs of S-protein, including wild type, a pre-fusion stabilized mutant (2P), a furin cleavage-site mutant (GSAS) and a double mutant form (2P/GSAS), as well as others, were tested in animal models for their capacity to elicit neutralizing antibodies (nAbs). The lead 2P/GSAS candidate was further assessed in dose-ranging studies in mice and Cynomolgus macaques, and for efficacy in a Syrian golden hamster model. The selected 2P/GSAS vaccine formulation, designated MRT5500, elicited potent nAbs as measured in neutralization assays in all three preclinical models and more importantly, protected against SARS-CoV-2-induced weight loss and lung pathology in hamsters. In addition, MRT5500 elicited TH1-biased responses in both mouse and non-human primate (NHP), thus alleviating a hypothetical concern of potential vaccine-associated enhanced respiratory diseases known associated with TH2-biased responses. These data position MRT5500 as a viable vaccine candidate for entering clinical development.

15.
NPJ Vaccines ; 6(1): 47, 2021 Mar 30.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1159813

ABSTRACT

To generate an inexpensive readily manufactured COVID-19 vaccine, we employed the LVS ΔcapB vector platform, previously used to generate potent candidate vaccines against Select Agent diseases tularemia, anthrax, plague, and melioidosis. Vaccines expressing SARS-CoV-2 structural proteins are constructed using the LVS ΔcapB vector, a highly attenuated replicating intracellular bacterium, and evaluated for efficacy in golden Syrian hamsters, which develop severe COVID-19-like disease. Hamsters immunized intradermally or intranasally with a vaccine co-expressing the Membrane and Nucleocapsid proteins and challenged 5 weeks later with a high dose of SARS-CoV-2 are protected against severe weight loss and lung pathology and show reduced viral loads in the oropharynx and lungs. Protection correlates with anti-Nucleocapsid antibody. This potent vaccine should be safe; inexpensive; easily manufactured, stored, and distributed; and given the high homology between Membrane and Nucleocapsid proteins of SARS-CoV and SARS-CoV-2, potentially serve as a universal vaccine against the SARS subset of pandemic causing ß-coronaviruses.

16.
Cell ; 184(10): 2618-2632.e17, 2021 05 13.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1157174

ABSTRACT

The ongoing pandemic caused by severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2) is currently affecting millions of lives worldwide. Large retrospective studies indicate that an elevated level of inflammatory cytokines and pro-inflammatory factors are associated with both increased disease severity and mortality. Here, using multidimensional epigenetic, transcriptional, in vitro, and in vivo analyses, we report that topoisomerase 1 (TOP1) inhibition suppresses lethal inflammation induced by SARS-CoV-2. Therapeutic treatment with two doses of topotecan (TPT), an FDA-approved TOP1 inhibitor, suppresses infection-induced inflammation in hamsters. TPT treatment as late as 4 days post-infection reduces morbidity and rescues mortality in a transgenic mouse model. These results support the potential of TOP1 inhibition as an effective host-directed therapy against severe SARS-CoV-2 infection. TPT and its derivatives are inexpensive clinical-grade inhibitors available in most countries. Clinical trials are needed to evaluate the efficacy of repurposing TOP1 inhibitors for severe coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) in humans.


Subject(s)
COVID-19/drug therapy , DNA Topoisomerases, Type I/metabolism , SARS-CoV-2/metabolism , Topoisomerase I Inhibitors/pharmacology , Topotecan/pharmacology , Animals , COVID-19/enzymology , COVID-19/pathology , Chlorocebus aethiops , Humans , Inflammation/drug therapy , Inflammation/enzymology , Inflammation/pathology , Inflammation/virology , Mesocricetus , Mice , Mice, Transgenic , THP-1 Cells , Vero Cells
17.
Nat Commun ; 12(1): 1517, 2021 03 09.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1125914

ABSTRACT

Up to date, effective antivirals have not been widely available for treating COVID-19. In this study, we identify a dual-functional cross-linking peptide 8P9R which can inhibit the two entry pathways (endocytic pathway and TMPRSS2-mediated surface pathway) of SARS-CoV-2 in cells. The endosomal acidification inhibitors (8P9R and chloroquine) can synergistically enhance the activity of arbidol, a spike-ACE2 fusion inhibitor, against SARS-CoV-2 and SARS-CoV in cells. In vivo studies indicate that 8P9R or the combination of repurposed drugs (umifenovir also known as arbidol, chloroquine and camostat which is a TMPRSS2 inhibitor), simultaneously interfering with the two entry pathways of coronaviruses, can significantly suppress SARS-CoV-2 replication in hamsters and SARS-CoV in mice. Here, we use drug combination (arbidol, chloroquine, and camostat) and a dual-functional 8P9R to demonstrate that blocking the two entry pathways of coronavirus can be a promising and achievable approach for inhibiting SARS-CoV-2 replication in vivo. Cocktail therapy of these drug combinations should be considered in treatment trials for COVID-19.


Subject(s)
Antiviral Agents/pharmacology , COVID-19/drug therapy , Drug Repositioning , Peptides/pharmacology , SARS-CoV-2/drug effects , Virus Internalization/drug effects , Animals , COVID-19/virology , Chlorocebus aethiops , Chloroquine/pharmacology , Drug Discovery , Female , HEK293 Cells , Humans , Indoles/pharmacology , Mice , Mice, Inbred BALB C , Serine Endopeptidases/metabolism , Vero Cells
18.
Front Genet ; 12: 571707, 2021.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1116662

ABSTRACT

The severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2) has been declared a pandemic by the World Health Organization (WHO), and since its first report, it has become a major public health concern. SARS-CoV-2 is closely related to SARS-CoV and SARS-related bat coronaviruses, and it has been described to use angiotensin-converting enzyme 2 (ACE2) as a receptor. Natural SARS-CoV-2 infection in domestic and wildlife animals, measured by RT-qPCR, has been confirmed in different countries, especially from the Felidae family. In silico analysis of the interaction between the SARS-CoV-2 spike protein and the cellular receptor ACE2 in various animal species has suggested that wild felids and domestic cats could be susceptible to SARS-CoV-2 based on this interaction. Here, we performed a protein-protein molecular docking analysis of SARS-CoV-2 spike protein with the ACE2 receptor from different animals to elucidate the potential of those species as intermediate hosts or susceptible animals for SARS-CoV-2 infection. Compared to human ACE2, we found that ACE2 receptors from domestic cats and tigers could efficiently interact with RBD of SARS CoV-2 Spike protein. However, dog, ferret, and hamster ACE2 receptor interaction with SARS-CoV-2 S protein RBD was not predicted as favorable, demonstrating a potential differentiated susceptibility in the evaluated species.

19.
Nature ; 592(7852): 122-127, 2021 04.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1104508

ABSTRACT

During the evolution of SARS-CoV-2 in humans, a D614G substitution in the spike glycoprotein (S) has emerged; virus containing this substitution has become the predominant circulating variant in the COVID-19 pandemic1. However, whether the increasing prevalence of this variant reflects a fitness advantage that improves replication and/or transmission in humans or is merely due to founder effects remains unknown. Here we use isogenic SARS-CoV-2 variants to demonstrate that the variant that contains S(D614G) has enhanced binding to the human cell-surface receptor angiotensin-converting enzyme 2 (ACE2), increased replication in primary human bronchial and nasal airway epithelial cultures as well as in a human ACE2 knock-in mouse model, and markedly increased replication and transmissibility in hamster and ferret models of SARS-CoV-2 infection. Our data show that the D614G substitution in S results in subtle increases in binding and replication in vitro, and provides a real competitive advantage in vivo-particularly during the transmission bottleneck. Our data therefore provide an explanation for the global predominance of the variant that contains S(D614G) among the SARS-CoV-2 viruses that are currently circulating.


Subject(s)
COVID-19/transmission , COVID-19/virology , Mutation , SARS-CoV-2/genetics , SARS-CoV-2/physiology , Spike Glycoprotein, Coronavirus/genetics , Virus Replication/genetics , Angiotensin-Converting Enzyme 2/genetics , Angiotensin-Converting Enzyme 2/metabolism , Animals , Bronchi/cytology , Bronchi/virology , COVID-19/epidemiology , Cell Line , Cells, Cultured , Cricetinae , Disease Models, Animal , Epithelial Cells/virology , Female , Ferrets/virology , Founder Effect , Gene Knock-In Techniques , Genetic Fitness , Humans , Male , Mesocricetus , Mice , Nasal Mucosa/cytology , Nasal Mucosa/virology , Protein Binding , RNA, Viral/analysis , Receptors, Coronavirus/metabolism , SARS-CoV-2/metabolism , SARS-CoV-2/pathogenicity
20.
Cell Rep Med ; 2(3): 100218, 2021 03 16.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1101541

ABSTRACT

SARS-CoV-2 infection results in viral burden in the respiratory tract, enabling transmission and leading to substantial lung pathology. The 1212C2 fully human monoclonal antibody was derived from an IgM memory B cell of a COVID-19 patient, has high affinity for the Spike protein receptor binding domain, neutralizes SARS-CoV-2, and exhibits in vivo prophylactic and therapeutic activity in hamsters when delivered intraperitoneally, reducing upper and lower respiratory viral burden and lung pathology. Inhalation of nebulized 1212C2 at levels as low as 0.6 mg/kg, corresponding to 0.03 mg/kg lung-deposited dose, reduced the viral burden below the detection limit and mitigated lung pathology. The therapeutic efficacy of an exceedingly low dose of inhaled 1212C2 supports the rationale for local lung delivery for dose-sparing benefits, as compared to the conventional parenteral route of administration. These results suggest that the clinical development of 1212C2 formulated and delivered via inhalation for the treatment of SARS-CoV-2 infection should be considered.


Subject(s)
Antibodies, Monoclonal/therapeutic use , COVID-19/drug therapy , Administration, Inhalation , Animals , Antibodies, Monoclonal/classification , Antibodies, Monoclonal/immunology , COVID-19/virology , Cricetinae , Disease Models, Animal , Epitope Mapping , Epitopes/immunology , Female , Humans , Immunoglobulin M/immunology , Male , /metabolism , Middle Aged , Neutralization Tests , Phylogeny , Protein Domains/immunology , SARS-CoV-2/immunology , SARS-CoV-2/isolation & purification , Spike Glycoprotein, Coronavirus/chemistry , Spike Glycoprotein, Coronavirus/immunology , Spike Glycoprotein, Coronavirus/metabolism
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