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1.
PLoS One ; 16(4): e0250780, 2021.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1833531

ABSTRACT

The spike protein receptor-binding domain (RBD) of SARS-CoV-2 is the molecular target for many vaccines and antibody-based prophylactics aimed at bringing COVID-19 under control. Such a narrow molecular focus raises the specter of viral immune evasion as a potential failure mode for these biomedical interventions. With the emergence of new strains of SARS-CoV-2 with altered transmissibility and immune evasion potential, a critical question is this: how easily can the virus escape neutralizing antibodies (nAbs) targeting the spike RBD? To answer this question, we combined an analysis of the RBD structure-function with an evolutionary modeling framework. Our structure-function analysis revealed that epitopes for RBD-targeting nAbs overlap one another substantially and can be evaded by escape mutants with ACE2 affinities comparable to the wild type, that are observed in sequence surveillance data and infect cells in vitro. This suggests that the fitness cost of nAb-evading mutations is low. We then used evolutionary modeling to predict the frequency of immune escape before and after the widespread presence of nAbs due to vaccines, passive immunization or natural immunity. Our modeling suggests that SARS-CoV-2 mutants with one or two mildly deleterious mutations are expected to exist in high numbers due to neutral genetic variation, and consequently resistance to vaccines or other prophylactics that rely on one or two antibodies for protection can develop quickly -and repeatedly- under positive selection. Predicted resistance timelines are comparable to those of the decay kinetics of nAbs raised against vaccinal or natural antigens, raising a second potential mechanism for loss of immunity in the population. Strategies for viral elimination should therefore be diversified across molecular targets and therapeutic modalities.


Subject(s)
COVID-19/genetics , SARS-CoV-2/genetics , Spike Glycoprotein, Coronavirus/genetics , Antibodies, Monoclonal/immunology , Antibodies, Neutralizing/immunology , Antibodies, Viral/immunology , Binding Sites/genetics , COVID-19/metabolism , Epitopes/immunology , Evolution, Molecular , Humans , Immune Evasion/immunology , Models, Molecular , Neutralization Tests/methods , Peptidyl-Dipeptidase A/metabolism , Protein Binding/genetics , Protein Domains/genetics , Receptors, Virus/metabolism , SARS-CoV-2/pathogenicity , Spike Glycoprotein, Coronavirus/metabolism , Structure-Activity Relationship
2.
Clin Infect Dis ; 73(11): 2000-2008, 2021 12 06.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1559548

ABSTRACT

BACKGROUND: Vaccine-induced neutralizing antibodies are key in combating the coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) pandemic. However, delays of boost immunization due to limited availability of vaccines may leave individuals vulnerable to infection and prolonged or severe disease courses. The emergence of severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2) variants of concern (VOC)-B.1.1.7 (United Kingdom), B.1.351 (South Africa), and P.1 (Brazil)-may exacerbate this issue, as the latter two are able to evade control by antibodies. METHODS: We assessed humoral and T-cell responses against SARS-CoV-2 wild-type (WT), VOC, and endemic human coronaviruses (hCoVs) that were induced after single and double vaccination with BNT162b2. RESULTS: Despite readily detectable immunoglobulin G (IgG) against the receptor-binding domain of the SARS-CoV-2 S protein at day 14 after a single vaccination, inhibition of SARS-CoV-2 S-driven host cell entry was weak and particularly low for the B.1.351 variant. Frequencies of SARS-CoV-2 WT and VOC-specific T cells were low in many vaccinees after application of a single dose and influenced by immunity against endemic hCoV. The second vaccination significantly boosted T-cell frequencies reactive for WT and B.1.1.7 and B.1.351 variants. CONCLUSIONS: These results call into question whether neutralizing antibodies significantly contribute to protection against COVID-19 upon single vaccination and suggest that cellular immunity is central for the early defenses against COVID-19.


Subject(s)
/immunology , COVID-19 , Immunity, Cellular , Immunity, Humoral , Antibodies, Neutralizing/blood , Antibodies, Viral/blood , COVID-19/immunology , COVID-19/prevention & control , Humans , Immunoglobulin G/blood , Spike Glycoprotein, Coronavirus/immunology , T-Lymphocytes/immunology , Vaccination
3.
Science ; 373(6556): 818-823, 2021 08 13.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1238481

ABSTRACT

Neutralizing antibodies (nAbs) elicited against the receptor binding site (RBS) of the spike protein of wild-type severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2) are generally less effective against recent variants of concern. RBS residues Glu484, Lys417, and Asn501 are mutated in variants first described in South Africa (B.1.351) and Brazil (P.1). We analyzed their effects on angiotensin-converting enzyme 2 binding, as well as the effects of two of these mutations (K417N and E484K) on nAbs isolated from COVID-19 patients. Binding and neutralization of the two most frequently elicited antibody families (IGHV3-53/3-66 and IGHV1-2), which can both bind the RBS in alternative binding modes, are abrogated by K417N, E484K, or both. These effects can be structurally explained by their extensive interactions with RBS nAbs. However, nAbs to the more conserved, cross-neutralizing CR3022 and S309 sites were largely unaffected. The results have implications for next-generation vaccines and antibody therapies.


Subject(s)
Antibodies, Neutralizing/immunology , Antibodies, Viral/immunology , Antigens, Viral/immunology , COVID-19/immunology , SARS-CoV-2/immunology , Spike Glycoprotein, Coronavirus/chemistry , Spike Glycoprotein, Coronavirus/immunology , Angiotensin-Converting Enzyme 2/metabolism , Antibodies, Neutralizing/metabolism , Antibodies, Viral/metabolism , Antigenic Variation , Antigens, Viral/chemistry , Antigens, Viral/genetics , Antigens, Viral/metabolism , Binding Sites , Binding Sites, Antibody , COVID-19/virology , Epitopes , Humans , Immune Evasion , Mutation , Protein Binding , Protein Domains , Receptors, Coronavirus/metabolism , SARS-CoV-2/chemistry , SARS-CoV-2/genetics , Spike Glycoprotein, Coronavirus/genetics , Spike Glycoprotein, Coronavirus/metabolism
4.
Res Sq ; 2021 Apr 22.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1237035

ABSTRACT

The emergency use authorization of two COVID-19 mRNA vaccines in less than a year since the emergence of SARS-CoV-2, represents a landmark in vaccinology1,2. Yet, how mRNA vaccines stimulate the immune system to elicit protective immune responses is unknown. Here we used a systems biological approach to comprehensively profile the innate and adaptive immune responses in 56 healthy volunteers vaccinated with the Pfizer-BioNTech mRNA vaccine. Vaccination resulted in robust production of neutralizing antibodies (nAbs) against the parent strain and the variant of concern, B.1.351, but no induction of autoantibodies, and significant increases in antigen-specific polyfunctional CD4 and CD8 T cells after the second dose. The innate response induced within the first 2 days of booster vaccination was profoundly increased, relative to the response at corresponding times after priming. Thus, there was a striking increase in the: (i) frequency of CD14+CD16+ inflammatory monocytes; (ii) concentration of IFN- y in the plasma, which correlated with enhanced pSTAT3 and pSTAT1 levels in monocytes and T cells; and (iii) transcriptional signatures of innate responses characteristic of antiviral vaccine responses against pandemic influenza, HIV and Ebola, within 2 days following booster vaccination compared to primary vaccination. Consistent with these observations, single-cell transcriptomics analysis of 242,479 leukocytes demonstrated a ~100-fold increase in the frequency of a myeloid cluster, enriched in a signature of interferon-response transcription factors (TFs) and reduced in AP-1 TFs, one day after secondary immunization, at day 21. Finally, we delineated distinct molecular pathways of innate activation that correlate with CD8 T cell and nAb responses and identified an early monocyte-related signature that was associated with the breadth of the nAb response against the B1.351 variant strain. Collectively, these data provide insights into the immune responses induced by mRNA vaccines and demonstrate their capacity to stimulate an enhanced innate response following booster immunization.

5.
Front Immunol ; 12: 647934, 2021.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1229176

ABSTRACT

SARS-CoV-2, the novel coronavirus responsible for the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, has been spreading rampantly. The global scientific community has responded rapidly to understand immune correlates of protection to develop vaccines and immunotherapeutics against the virus. The major goal of this mini review is to summarize current understanding of the structural landscape of neutralizing antibodies (nAbs) that target the receptor binding domain (RBD) of viral spike (S) glycoprotein. The RBD plays a critical role in the very first step of the virus life cycle. Better understanding of where and how nAbs bind the RBD should enable identification of sites of vulnerability and facilitate better vaccine design and formulation of immunotherapeutics. Towards this goal, we compiled 38 RBD-binding nAbs with known structures. Review of these nAb structures showed that (1) nAbs can be divided into five general clusters, (2) there are distinct non-neutralizing faces on the RBD, and (3) maximum of potentially four nAbs could bind the RBD simultaneously. Since most of these nAbs were isolated from virus-infected patients, additional analyses of vaccine-induced nAbs could facilitate development of improved vaccines.


Subject(s)
Antibodies, Neutralizing/immunology , Antibodies, Viral/immunology , COVID-19/immunology , Epitopes/immunology , SARS-CoV-2/immunology , Spike Glycoprotein, Coronavirus/immunology , Binding Sites , COVID-19/epidemiology , COVID-19/prevention & control , COVID-19 Vaccines/immunology , COVID-19 Vaccines/therapeutic use , Humans , Pandemics , Structure-Activity Relationship
6.
Cell ; 184(12): 3192-3204.e16, 2021 06 10.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1222850

ABSTRACT

Infection with severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2) is initiated by binding of the viral Spike protein to host receptor angiotensin-converting enzyme 2 (ACE2), followed by fusion of viral and host membranes. Although antibodies that block this interaction are in emergency use as early coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) therapies, the precise determinants of neutralization potency remain unknown. We discovered a series of antibodies that potently block ACE2 binding but exhibit divergent neutralization efficacy against the live virus. Strikingly, these neutralizing antibodies can inhibit or enhance Spike-mediated membrane fusion and formation of syncytia, which are associated with chronic tissue damage in individuals with COVID-19. As revealed by cryoelectron microscopy, multiple structures of Spike-antibody complexes have distinct binding modes that not only block ACE2 binding but also alter the Spike protein conformational cycle triggered by ACE2 binding. We show that stabilization of different Spike conformations leads to modulation of Spike-mediated membrane fusion with profound implications for COVID-19 pathology and immunity.


Subject(s)
Antibodies, Neutralizing/chemistry , Giant Cells/metabolism , Spike Glycoprotein, Coronavirus/chemistry , Angiotensin-Converting Enzyme 2/chemistry , Angiotensin-Converting Enzyme 2/genetics , Angiotensin-Converting Enzyme 2/immunology , Angiotensin-Converting Enzyme 2/metabolism , Animals , Antibodies, Neutralizing/immunology , Antibodies, Neutralizing/metabolism , Antigen-Antibody Complex/chemistry , Antigen-Antibody Complex/metabolism , Binding Sites , CHO Cells , COVID-19/pathology , COVID-19/virology , Cricetinae , Cricetulus , Cryoelectron Microscopy , Giant Cells/cytology , Humans , Membrane Fusion , Peptide Library , Protein Binding , Protein Domains , Protein Structure, Quaternary , SARS-CoV-2/isolation & purification , SARS-CoV-2/metabolism , Spike Glycoprotein, Coronavirus/immunology , Spike Glycoprotein, Coronavirus/metabolism
7.
JCI Insight ; 6(10)2021 04 28.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1206097

ABSTRACT

Effective SARS-CoV-2 vaccines are urgently needed. Although most vaccine strategies have focused on systemic immunization, here we compared the protective efficacy of 2 adjuvanted subunit vaccines with spike protein S1: an intramuscularly primed/boosted vaccine and an intramuscularly primed/intranasally boosted mucosal vaccine in rhesus macaques. The intramuscular-alum-only vaccine induced robust binding and neutralizing antibody and persistent cellular immunity systemically and mucosally, whereas intranasal boosting with nanoparticles, including IL-15 and TLR agonists, elicited weaker T cell and Ab responses but higher dimeric IgA and IFN-α. Nevertheless, following SARS-CoV-2 challenge, neither group showed detectable subgenomic RNA in upper or lower respiratory tracts versus naive controls, indicating full protection against viral replication. Although mucosal and systemic protective mechanisms may differ, results demonstrate both vaccines can protect against respiratory SARS-CoV-2 exposure. In summary, we have demonstrated that the mucosal vaccine was safe after multiple doses and cleared the input virus more efficiently in the nasal cavity and thus may act as a potent complementary reinforcing boost for conventional systemic vaccines to provide overall better protection.


Subject(s)
COVID-19 Vaccines/therapeutic use , COVID-19/veterinary , Macaca mulatta/immunology , SARS-CoV-2/immunology , Adaptive Immunity , Animals , Antibodies, Neutralizing/immunology , COVID-19/immunology , COVID-19/pathology , COVID-19/prevention & control , Humans , Immunity, Cellular , Immunity, Humoral , Vaccines, Subunit/therapeutic use
8.
Cell ; 184(12): 3205-3221.e24, 2021 06 10.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1201121

ABSTRACT

Monoclonal antibodies (mAbs) are a focus in vaccine and therapeutic design to counteract severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2) and its variants. Here, we combined B cell sorting with single-cell VDJ and RNA sequencing (RNA-seq) and mAb structures to characterize B cell responses against SARS-CoV-2. We show that the SARS-CoV-2-specific B cell repertoire consists of transcriptionally distinct B cell populations with cells producing potently neutralizing antibodies (nAbs) localized in two clusters that resemble memory and activated B cells. Cryo-electron microscopy structures of selected nAbs from these two clusters complexed with SARS-CoV-2 spike trimers show recognition of various receptor-binding domain (RBD) epitopes. One of these mAbs, BG10-19, locks the spike trimer in a closed conformation to potently neutralize SARS-CoV-2, the recently arising mutants B.1.1.7 and B.1.351, and SARS-CoV and cross-reacts with heterologous RBDs. Together, our results characterize transcriptional differences among SARS-CoV-2-specific B cells and uncover cross-neutralizing Ab targets that will inform immunogen and therapeutic design against coronaviruses.


Subject(s)
Antibodies, Neutralizing/immunology , B-Lymphocytes/metabolism , SARS-CoV-2/immunology , Spike Glycoprotein, Coronavirus/immunology , Antibodies, Monoclonal/chemistry , Antibodies, Monoclonal/immunology , Antibodies, Neutralizing/blood , Antibodies, Neutralizing/chemistry , Antibodies, Viral/blood , Antibodies, Viral/chemistry , Antibodies, Viral/immunology , Antigen-Antibody Complex/chemistry , Antigen-Antibody Complex/metabolism , Antigen-Antibody Reactions , B-Lymphocytes/cytology , B-Lymphocytes/virology , COVID-19/pathology , COVID-19/virology , Cryoelectron Microscopy , Crystallography, X-Ray , Gene Expression Profiling , Humans , Immunoglobulin A/immunology , Immunoglobulin Variable Region/chemistry , Immunoglobulin Variable Region/genetics , Protein Domains/immunology , Protein Multimerization , Protein Structure, Quaternary , SARS-CoV-2/isolation & purification , SARS-CoV-2/metabolism , Sequence Analysis, RNA , Spike Glycoprotein, Coronavirus/chemistry , Spike Glycoprotein, Coronavirus/genetics , Spike Glycoprotein, Coronavirus/metabolism
9.
PLoS Pathog ; 17(4): e1009064, 2021 04.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1197395

ABSTRACT

Vaccines of outstanding efficiency, safety, and public acceptance are needed to halt the current SARS-CoV-2 pandemic. Concerns include potential side effects caused by the antigen itself and safety of viral DNA and RNA delivery vectors. The large SARS-CoV-2 spike (S) protein is the main target of current COVID-19 vaccine candidates but can induce non-neutralizing antibodies, which might cause vaccination-induced complications or enhancement of COVID-19 disease. Besides, encoding of a functional S in replication-competent virus vector vaccines may result in the emergence of viruses with altered or expanded tropism. Here, we have developed a safe single round rhabdovirus replicon vaccine platform for enhanced presentation of the S receptor-binding domain (RBD). Structure-guided design was employed to build a chimeric minispike comprising the globular RBD linked to a transmembrane stem-anchor sequence derived from rabies virus (RABV) glycoprotein (G). Vesicular stomatitis virus (VSV) and RABV replicons encoding the minispike not only allowed expression of the antigen at the cell surface but also incorporation into the envelope of secreted non-infectious particles, thus combining classic vector-driven antigen expression and particulate virus-like particle (VLP) presentation. A single dose of a prototype replicon vaccine complemented with VSV G, VSVΔG-minispike-eGFP (G), stimulated high titers of SARS-CoV-2 neutralizing antibodies in mice, equivalent to those found in COVID-19 patients, and protected transgenic K18-hACE2 mice from COVID-19-like disease. Homologous boost immunization further enhanced virus neutralizing activity. The results demonstrate that non-spreading rhabdovirus RNA replicons expressing minispike proteins represent effective and safe alternatives to vaccination approaches using replication-competent viruses and/or the entire S antigen.


Subject(s)
Antibodies, Neutralizing/blood , Antibodies, Viral/blood , COVID-19 Vaccines/administration & dosage , COVID-19/prevention & control , Immunization/methods , SARS-CoV-2/immunology , Vaccines, Virus-Like Particle/administration & dosage , Animals , Antibodies, Neutralizing/immunology , Antibodies, Viral/immunology , COVID-19/immunology , COVID-19/virology , Female , HEK293 Cells , Humans , Mice , Mice, Inbred C57BL
11.
Front Immunol ; 12: 650331, 2021.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1156125

ABSTRACT

Coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) caused by SARS-CoV-2 infection represents a global health crisis. Immune cell activation via pattern recognition receptors has been implicated as a driver of the hyperinflammatory response seen in COVID-19. However, our understanding of the specific immune responses to SARS-CoV-2 remains limited. Mast cells (MCs) and eosinophils are innate immune cells that play pathogenic roles in many inflammatory responses. Here we report MC-derived proteases and eosinophil-associated mediators are elevated in COVID-19 patient sera and lung tissues. Stimulation of viral-sensing toll-like receptors in vitro and administration of synthetic viral RNA in vivo induced features of hyperinflammation, including cytokine elevation, immune cell airway infiltration, and MC-protease production-effects suppressed by an anti-Siglec-8 monoclonal antibody which selectively inhibits MCs and depletes eosinophils. Similarly, anti-Siglec-8 treatment reduced disease severity and airway inflammation in a respiratory viral infection model. These results suggest that MC and eosinophil activation are associated with COVID-19 inflammation and anti-Siglec-8 antibodies are a potential therapeutic approach for attenuating excessive inflammation during viral infections.


Subject(s)
Antigens, CD/immunology , Antigens, Differentiation, B-Lymphocyte/immunology , COVID-19/immunology , Eosinophils/immunology , Lectins/immunology , Mast Cells/immunology , Respiratory Syncytial Virus Infections/immunology , Respiratory Syncytial Viruses/immunology , SARS-CoV-2/immunology , Toll-Like Receptors/immunology , Animals , Antibodies, Monoclonal/pharmacology , Antigens, CD/genetics , Antigens, CD/metabolism , Antigens, Differentiation, B-Lymphocyte/genetics , Antigens, Differentiation, B-Lymphocyte/metabolism , COVID-19/metabolism , COVID-19/prevention & control , COVID-19/virology , Case-Control Studies , Cytokines/metabolism , Disease Models, Animal , Eosinophils/drug effects , Eosinophils/metabolism , Eosinophils/virology , Host-Pathogen Interactions , Humans , Lectins/antagonists & inhibitors , Lectins/genetics , Lectins/metabolism , Mast Cells/drug effects , Mast Cells/metabolism , Mast Cells/virology , Mice, Transgenic , Peptide Hydrolases/metabolism , Respiratory Syncytial Virus Infections/metabolism , Respiratory Syncytial Virus Infections/prevention & control , Respiratory Syncytial Virus Infections/virology , Toll-Like Receptors/metabolism
12.
J Infect Dis ; 223(4): 589-599, 2021 02 24.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1101849

ABSTRACT

BACKGROUND: During the coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) pandemic, many countries experienced infection in health care workers (HCW) due to overburdened health care systems. Whether infected HCW acquire protective immunity against severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2) is unclear. METHODS: In a Norwegian prospective cohort study, we enrolled 607 HCW before and after the first COVID-19 wave. Exposure history, COVID-19-like symptoms, and serum samples were collected. SARS-CoV-2-specific antibodies were characterized by spike-protein IgG/IgM/IgA enzyme-linked immunosorbent and live-virus neutralization assays. RESULTS: Spike-specific IgG/IgM/IgA antibodies increased after the first wave in HCW with, but not in HCW without, COVID-19 patient exposure. Thirty-two HCW (5.3%) had spike-specific antibodies (11 seroconverted with ≥4-fold increase, 21 were seropositive at baseline). Neutralizing antibodies were found in 11 HCW that seroconverted, of whom 4 (36.4%) were asymptomatic. Ninety-seven HCW were tested by reverse transcriptase polymerase chain reaction (RT-PCR) during follow-up; 8 were positive (7 seroconverted, 1 had undetectable antibodies). CONCLUSIONS: We found increases in SARS-CoV-2 neutralizing antibodies in infected HCW, especially after COVID-19 patient exposure. Our data show a low number of SARS-CoV-2-seropositive HCW in a low-prevalence setting; however, the proportion of seropositivity was higher than RT-PCR positivity, highlighting the importance of antibody testing.


Subject(s)
Antibodies, Neutralizing/blood , Antibodies, Viral/blood , COVID-19/immunology , Health Personnel/statistics & numerical data , SARS-CoV-2/immunology , Adult , Aged , Asymptomatic Infections , Female , Humans , Male , Middle Aged , Norway , Prospective Studies , Seroconversion , Spike Glycoprotein, Coronavirus/immunology , Young Adult
13.
EMBO J ; 40(5): e106228, 2021 03 01.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1086195

ABSTRACT

Nucleoprotein (N) is an immunodominant antigen in many enveloped virus infections. While the diagnostic value of anti-N antibodies is clear, their role in immunity is not. This is because while they are non-neutralising, they somehow clear infection by coronavirus, influenza and LCMV in vivo. Here, we show that anti-N immune protection is mediated by the cytosolic Fc receptor and E3 ubiquitin ligase TRIM21. Exploiting LCMV as a model system, we demonstrate that TRIM21 uses anti-N antibodies to target N for cytosolic degradation and generate cytotoxic T cells (CTLs) against N peptide. These CTLs rapidly eliminate N-peptide-displaying cells and drive efficient viral clearance. These results reveal a new mechanism of immune synergy between antibodies and T cells and highlights N as an important vaccine target.


Subject(s)
Antibodies, Viral/immunology , Immunity, Cellular , Lymphocytic choriomeningitis virus/immunology , Nucleocapsid Proteins/immunology , Ribonucleoproteins/immunology , T-Lymphocytes, Cytotoxic/immunology , Animals , Lymphocytic Choriomeningitis/genetics , Lymphocytic Choriomeningitis/immunology , Lymphocytic choriomeningitis virus/genetics , Mice , Mice, Knockout , Nucleocapsid Proteins/genetics , Ribonucleoproteins/genetics , Viral Vaccines/genetics , Viral Vaccines/immunology
14.
Eur J Intern Med ; 83: 34-38, 2021 01.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1065032

ABSTRACT

BACKGROUND: Many COVID-19 patients develop a hyperinflammatory response which activates blood coagulation and may contribute to the occurrence of thromboembolic complications. Blockade of interleukin-6, a key cytokine in COVID-19 pathogenesis, may improve the hypercoagulable state induced by inflammation. The aim of this study was to evaluate the effects of subcutaneous tocilizumab, a recombinant humanized monoclonal antibody against the interleukin-6 receptor on coagulation parameters. METHODS: Hospitalized adult patients with laboratory-confirmed moderate to critical COVID-19 pneumonia and hyperinflammation, who received a single 324 mg subcutaneous dose of tocilizumab on top of standard of care were enrolled in this analysis. Coagulation parameters were measured before tocilizumab and at day 1, 3, and 7 after treatment. All patients were followed-up for 35 days after admission or until death. RESULTS: 70 patients (mean age 60 years, interquartile range 52-75) were included. Treatment with tocilizumab was associated with a reduction in D-dimer levels (-56%; 95% confidence interval [CI], -68% to -44%), fibrinogen (-48%; 95%CI, -60% to -35%), C-reactive protein (-93%; 95%CI, -99% to -87%), prothrombin time (-4%; 95%CI,-9% to 0.8%), and activated thromboplastin time (-4%; 95%CI,-8.7% to 0.8%), and an increase in platelet count (34%; 95%CI, 23% to 45%). These changes occurred already one day after treatment with sustained reductions throughout day 7. The improvement in coagulation was consistently observed in patients receiving prophylactic or therapeutic dose anticoagulants, and was paralleled by a rapid improvement in respiratory function. CONCLUSIONS: Subcutaneous tocilizumab was associated with significant improvement of blood coagulation parameters independently of thromboprophylaxis dose.


Subject(s)
Antibodies, Monoclonal, Humanized/administration & dosage , Blood Coagulation/physiology , COVID-19/blood , COVID-19/drug therapy , COVID-19/therapy , Receptors, Interleukin-6/antagonists & inhibitors , Adult , Aged , Blood Cell Count , Blood Coagulation Tests , C-Reactive Protein , Cohort Studies , Combined Modality Therapy , Female , Hospitalization , Humans , Injections, Subcutaneous , Italy , Male , Middle Aged
15.
Viruses ; 13(1)2021 Jan 15.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1038679

ABSTRACT

Adenovirus (AdV) infection elicits a strong immune response with the production of neutralizing antibodies and opsonization by complement and coagulation factors. One anti-hexon neutralizing antibody, called 9C12, is known to activate the complement cascade, resulting in the deposition of complement component C4b on the capsid, and the neutralization of the virus. The mechanism of AdV neutralization by C4b is independent of downstream complement proteins and involves the blockage of the release of protein VI, which is required for viral escape from the endosome. To investigate the structural basis underlying how C4b blocks the uncoating of AdV, we built a model for the complex of human adenovirus type-5 (HAdV5) with 9C12, together with complement components C1 and C4b. This model positions C4b near the Arg-Gly-Asp (RGD) loops of the penton base. There are multiple amino acids in the RGD loop that might serve as covalent binding sites for the reactive thioester of C4b. Molecular dynamics simulations with a multimeric penton base and C4b indicated that stabilizing interactions may form between C4b and multiple RGD loops. We propose that C4b deposition on one RGD loop leads to the entanglement of C4b with additional RGD loops on the same penton base multimer and that this entanglement blocks AdV uncoating.


Subject(s)
Adenoviridae/immunology , Complement C4/chemistry , Complement C4/immunology , Models, Molecular , Antibodies, Neutralizing/chemistry , Antibodies, Neutralizing/immunology , Antibodies, Viral/chemistry , Antibodies, Viral/immunology , Binding Sites , Capsid/chemistry , Capsid/metabolism , Capsid/ultrastructure , Capsid Proteins/chemistry , Capsid Proteins/immunology , Capsid Proteins/metabolism , Capsid Proteins/ultrastructure , Humans , Immunoglobulin G/chemistry , Immunoglobulin G/immunology , Molecular Docking Simulation , Molecular Dynamics Simulation , Protein Binding , Protein Conformation , Structure-Activity Relationship
16.
EBioMedicine ; 63: 103197, 2021 Jan.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1014450

ABSTRACT

BACKGROUND: SARS-CoV-2 has caused a global pandemic, infecting millions of people. A safe, effective vaccine is urgently needed and remains a global health priority. Subunit vaccines are used successfully against other viruses when administered in the presence of an effective adjuvant. METHODS: We evaluated three different clinically tested adjuvant systems in combination with the SARS-CoV-2 pre-fusion stabilized (S-2P) spike protein using a one-dose regimen in mice. FINDINGS: Whilst spike protein alone was only weakly immunogenic, the addition of either Aluminum hydroxide, a squalene based oil-in-water emulsion system (SE) or a cationic liposome-based adjuvant significantly enhanced antibody responses against the spike receptor binding domain (RBD). Kinetics of antibody responses differed, with SE providing the most rapid response. Neutralizing antibodies developed after a single immunization in all adjuvanted groups with ID50 titers ranging from 86-4063. Spike-specific CD4 T helper responses were also elicited, comprising mainly of IFN-γ and IL-17 producing cells in the cationic liposome adjuvanted group, and more IL-5- and IL-10-secreting cells in the AH group. INTERPRETATION: These results demonstrate that adjuvanted spike protein subunit vaccine is a viable strategy for rapidly eliciting SARS-CoV-2 neutralizing antibodies and CD4 T cell responses of various qualities depending on the adjuvant used, which can be explored in further vaccine development against COVID-19. FUNDING: This work was supported by the European Union Horizon 2020 research and innovation program under grant agreement no. 101003653.


Subject(s)
Antibodies, Neutralizing/metabolism , Antibodies, Viral/metabolism , CD4-Positive T-Lymphocytes/immunology , SARS-CoV-2/metabolism , Spike Glycoprotein, Coronavirus/immunology , Adjuvants, Immunologic/administration & dosage , Adjuvants, Immunologic/chemistry , Aluminum Hydroxide/chemistry , Animals , Antibodies, Neutralizing/immunology , Antibodies, Viral/immunology , CD4-Positive T-Lymphocytes/cytology , CD4-Positive T-Lymphocytes/metabolism , COVID-19/pathology , COVID-19/virology , Female , Immunization , Interferon-gamma/metabolism , Interleukin-17/metabolism , Liposomes/chemistry , Mice , Mice, Inbred C57BL , SARS-CoV-2/isolation & purification , Spike Glycoprotein, Coronavirus/chemistry , Squalene/chemistry , Vaccines, Subunit/immunology
17.
EClinicalMedicine ; 31: 100689, 2021 Jan.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-987565

ABSTRACT

BACKGROUND: A vaccine against SARS-CoV-2 is of high urgency. Here the safety and immunogenicity induced by a DNA vaccine (INO-4800) targeting the full length spike antigen of SARS-CoV-2 are described. METHODS: INO-4800 was evaluated in two groups of 20 participants, receiving either 1.0 mg or 2.0 mg of vaccine intradermally followed by CELLECTRA® EP at 0 and 4 weeks. Thirty-nine subjects completed both doses; one subject in the 2.0 mg group discontinued trial participation prior to receiving the second dose. ClinicalTrials.gov identifier: NCT04336410. FINDINGS: The median age was 34.5, 55% (22/40) were men and 82.5% (33/40) white. Through week 8, only 6 related Grade 1 adverse events in 5 subjects were observed. None of these increased in frequency with the second administration. No serious adverse events were reported. All 38 subjects evaluable for immunogenicity had cellular and/or humoral immune responses following the second dose of INO-4800. By week 6, 95% (36/38) of the participants seroconverted based on their responses by generating binding (ELISA) and/or neutralizing antibodies (PRNT IC50), with responder geometric mean binding antibody titers of 655.5 [95% CI (255.6, 1681.0)] and 994.2 [95% CI (395.3, 2500.3)] in the 1.0 mg and 2.0 mg groups, respectively. For neutralizing antibody, 78% (14/18) and 84% (16/19) generated a response with corresponding geometric mean titers of 102.3 [95% CI (37.4, 280.3)] and 63.5 [95% CI (39.6, 101.8)], in the respective groups. By week 8, 74% (14/19) and 100% (19/19) of subjects generated T cell responses by IFN-É£ ELISpot assay with the median SFU per 106 PBMC of 46 [95% CI (21.1, 142.2)] and 71 [95% CI (32.2, 194.4)] in the 1.0 mg and 2.0 mg groups, respectively. Flow cytometry demonstrated a T cell response, dominated by CD8+ T cells co-producing IFN-É£ and TNF-α, without increase in IL-4. INTERPRETATION: INO-4800 demonstrated excellent safety and tolerability and was immunogenic in 100% (38/38) of the vaccinated subjects by eliciting either or both humoral or cellular immune responses. FUNDING: Coalition for Epidemic Preparedness Innovations (CEPI).

18.
J Virol ; 2020 Dec 11.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-975642

ABSTRACT

SARS-CoV-2, a betacoronavirus, is the cause of the COVID-19 pandemic. The SARS-CoV-2 spike (S) glycoprotein trimer mediates virus entry into host cells and cytopathic effects (syncytium formation). We studied the contribution of several S glycoprotein features to these functions, focusing on those that differ among related coronaviruses. Acquisition of the furin cleavage site by the SARS-CoV-2 S glycoprotein decreased virus stability and infectivity, but greatly enhanced syncytium-forming ability. Notably, the D614G change found in globally predominant SARS-CoV-2 strains increased infectivity, modestly enhanced responsiveness to the ACE2 receptor and susceptibility to neutralizing sera, and tightened association of the S1 subunit with the trimer. Apparently, these two features of the SARS-CoV-2 S glycoprotein, the furin cleavage site and D614G, have evolved to balance virus infectivity, stability, cytopathicity and antibody vulnerability. Although the endodomain (cytoplasmic tail) of the S2 subunit was not absolutely required for virus entry or syncytium formation, alteration of palmitoylated cysteine residues in the cytoplasmic tail decreased the efficiency of these processes. As proteolytic cleavage contributes to the activation of the SARS-CoV-2 S glycoprotein, we evaluated the ability of protease inhibitors to suppress S glycoprotein function. Matrix metalloprotease inhibitors suppressed S-mediated cell-cell fusion, but not virus entry. Synergy between inhibitors of matrix metalloproteases and TMPRSS2 suggests that both host proteases can activate the S glycoprotein during the process of syncytium formation. These results provide insights into SARS-CoV-2 S glycoprotein-host cell interactions that likely contribute to the transmission and pathogenicity of this pandemic agent.IMPORTANCE The development of an effective and durable SARS-CoV-2 vaccine is essential for combating the growing COVID-19 pandemic. The SARS-CoV-2 spike (S) glycoprotein is the main target of neutralizing antibodies elicited during virus infection or following vaccination. Knowledge of the spike glycoprotein evolution, function and interactions with host factors will help researchers to develop effective vaccine immunogens and treatments. Here we identify key features of the spike glycoprotein, including the furin cleavage site and the D614G natural mutation, that modulate viral cytopathic effects, infectivity and sensitivity to inhibition. We also identify two inhibitors of host metalloproteases that block S-mediated cell-cell fusion, a process that contributes to the destruction of the virus-infected cell.

19.
Cell ; 183(6): 1496-1507.e16, 2020 12 10.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-898561

ABSTRACT

Antibodies are key immune effectors that confer protection against pathogenic threats. The nature and longevity of the antibody response to SARS-CoV-2 infection are not well defined. We charted longitudinal antibody responses to SARS-CoV-2 in 92 subjects after symptomatic COVID-19. Antibody responses to SARS-CoV-2 are unimodally distributed over a broad range, with symptom severity correlating directly with virus-specific antibody magnitude. Seventy-six subjects followed longitudinally to ∼100 days demonstrated marked heterogeneity in antibody duration dynamics. Virus-specific IgG decayed substantially in most individuals, whereas a distinct subset had stable or increasing antibody levels in the same time frame despite similar initial antibody magnitudes. These individuals with increasing responses recovered rapidly from symptomatic COVID-19 disease, harbored increased somatic mutations in virus-specific memory B cell antibody genes, and had persistent higher frequencies of previously activated CD4+ T cells. These findings illuminate an efficient immune phenotype that connects symptom clearance speed to differential antibody durability dynamics.


Subject(s)
Antibodies, Viral/immunology , Antibody Formation , CD4-Positive T-Lymphocytes/immunology , COVID-19 , Immunoglobulin G/immunology , Lymphocyte Activation , Mutation , COVID-19/genetics , COVID-19/immunology , Humans , SARS-CoV-2/genetics , SARS-CoV-2/immunology
20.
Emerg Microbes Infect ; 9(1): 1988-1996, 2020 Dec.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-730431

ABSTRACT

ABSTRACT Pandemic SARS-CoV-2 has caused unprecedented mortalities. Vaccine is in urgent need to stop the pandemic. Despite great progresses on SARS-CoV-2 vaccine development, the efficacy of the vaccines remains to be determined. Deciphering the interactions of the viral epitopes with the elicited neutralizing antibodies in convalescent population inspires the vaccine development. In this study, we devised a peptide array composed of 20-mer overlapped peptides of spike (S), membrane (M) and envelope (E) proteins, and performed a screening with 120 COVID-19 convalescent sera and 24 non-COVID-19 sera. We identified five SARS-CoV-2-specific dominant epitopes that reacted with above 40% COVID-19 convalescent sera. Of note, two peptides non-specifically interacted with most of the non-COVID-19 sera. Neutralization assay indicated that only five sera completely blocked viral infection at the dilution of 1:200. By using a peptide-compete neutralizing assay, we found that three dominant epitopes partially competed the neutralization activity of several convalescent sera, suggesting antibodies elicited by these epitopes played an important role in neutralizing viral infection. The epitopes we identified in this study may serve as vaccine candidates to elicit neutralizing antibodies in most vaccinated people or specific antigens for SARS-CoV-2 diagnosis.


Subject(s)
Antibodies, Neutralizing/blood , Antibodies, Viral/blood , Betacoronavirus/immunology , Coronavirus Infections/prevention & control , Epitopes, B-Lymphocyte/immunology , Pandemics/prevention & control , Pneumonia, Viral/prevention & control , Viral Vaccines/immunology , Animals , B-Lymphocytes/immunology , COVID-19 , Cell Line , Chlorocebus aethiops , Coronavirus Infections/diagnosis , Coronavirus Infections/immunology , Coronavirus Infections/therapy , Humans , Immunization, Passive , Pneumonia, Viral/diagnosis , Pneumonia, Viral/immunology , SARS-CoV-2 , Spike Glycoprotein, Coronavirus/immunology , Vero Cells , Viral Envelope Proteins/immunology
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