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Preprint Dans Anglais | bioRxiv | ID: ppbiorxiv-471045


On the 24th November 2021 the sequence of a new SARS CoV-2 viral isolate spreading rapidly in Southern Africa was announced, containing far more mutations in Spike (S) than previously reported variants. Neutralization titres of Omicron by sera from vaccinees and convalescent subjects infected with early pandemic as well as Alpha, Beta, Gamma, Delta are substantially reduced or fail to neutralize. Titres against Omicron are boosted by third vaccine doses and are high in cases both vaccinated and infected by Delta. Mutations in Omicron knock out or substantially reduce neutralization by most of a large panel of potent monoclonal antibodies and antibodies under commercial development. Omicron S has structural changes from earlier viruses, combining mutations conferring tight binding to ACE2 to unleash evolution driven by immune escape, leading to a large number of mutations in the ACE2 binding site which rebalance receptor affinity to that of early pandemic viruses.

Preprint Dans Anglais | medRxiv | ID: ppmedrxiv-21255081


BackgroundSevere acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2) variant, Gamma, emerged in the city of Manaus in late 2020 during a large resurgence of coronavirus disease (COVID-19), and has spread throughout Brazil. The effectiveness of vaccines in settings with widespread Gamma variant transmission has not been reported. MethodsWe performed a matched test-negative case-control study to estimate the effectiveness of an inactivated vaccine, CoronaVac, in healthcare workers (HCWs) in Manaus, where the Gamma variant accounted for 86% of genotyped SARS-CoV-2 samples at the peak of its epidemic. We performed an early analysis of effectiveness following administration of at least one vaccine dose and an analysis of effectiveness of the two-dose schedule. The primary outcome was symptomatic SARS-CoV-2 infection. FindingsFor the early at-least-one-dose and two-dose analyses the study population was, respectively, 53,176 and 53,153 HCWs residing in Manaus and aged 18 years or older, with complete information on age, residence, and vaccination status. Among 53,153 HCWs eligible for the two-dose analysis, 47,170 (89%) received at least one dose of CoronaVac and 2,656 individuals (5%) underwent RT-PCR testing from 19 January, 2021 to 13 April, 2021. Of 3,195 RT-PCR tests, 885 (28%) were positive. 393 and 418 case- control pairs were selected for the early and two-dose analyses, respectively, matched on calendar time, age, and neighbourhood. Among those who had received both vaccine doses before the RT-PCR sample collection date, the average time from second dose to sample collection date was 14 days (IQR 7-24). In the early analysis, vaccination with at least one dose was associated with a 0.50-fold reduction (adjusted vaccine effectiveness (VE), 49.6%, 95% CI 11.3 to 71.4) in the odds of symptomatic SARS-CoV-2 infection during the period 14 days or more after receiving the first dose. However, we estimated low effectiveness (adjusted VE 36.8%, 95% CI -54.9 to 74.2) of the two-dose schedule against symptomatic SARS-CoV-2 infection during the period 14 days or more after receiving the second dose. A finding that vaccinated individuals were much more likely to be infected than unvaccinated individuals in the period 0-13 days after first dose (aOR 2.11, 95% CI 1.36-3.27) suggests that unmeasured confounding led to downward bias in the vaccine effectiveness estimate. InterpretationEvidence from this test-negative study of the effectiveness of CoronaVac was mixed, and likely affected by bias in this setting. Administration of at least one vaccine dose showed effectiveness against symptomatic SARS-CoV-2 infection in the setting of epidemic Gamma variant transmission. However, the low estimated effectiveness of the two-dose schedule underscores the need to maintain non-pharmaceutical interventions while vaccination campaigns with CoronaVac are being implemented. FundingFundacao Oswaldo Cruz (Fiocruz); Municipal Health Secretary of Manaus Research in ContextO_ST_ABSEvidence before this studyC_ST_ABSWe searched PubMed for articles published from inception of the pandemic until April 3, 2021, with no language restrictions, using the search terms "P.1" AND "vaccine" AND "SARS-CoV-2". Additionally, we searched for "CoronaVac" AND "SARS-CoV-2". Early studies have found plasma from convalescent COVID-19 patients and sera from vaccinated individuals have reduced neutralisation of the SARS-CoV-2 variant, Gamma or P.1, compared with strains isolated earlier in the pandemic. Pfizer BNT162b2 mRNA, Oxford-AstraZeneca ChAdOx1, and CoronaVac are the only vaccines for which such data has been published to date. No studies reported effectiveness of any vaccine on reducing the risk of infection or disease among individuals exposed to P.1 or in settings of high P.1 transmission. Added value of this studyThis study finds that vaccination with CoronaVac was 49.4% (95% CI 13.2 to 71.9) effective at preventing COVID-19 in a setting with likely high prevalence of the Gamma Variant of Concern. However, an analysis of effectiveness by dose was underpowered and failed to find significant effectiveness of the two-dose schedule of CoronaVac (estimated VE 37.1%, 95% CI -53.3 to 74.2). Implications of all the available evidenceThese findings are suggestive for the effectiveness of CoronaVac in healthcare workers in the setting of widespread P.1 transmission but must be strengthened by observational studies in other settings and populations. Based on this evidence, there is a need to implement sustained non-pharmaceutical interventions even as vaccination campaigns continue.

Preprint Dans Anglais | medRxiv | ID: ppmedrxiv-21253946


Mutations at both the receptor-binding domain (RBD) and the amino (N)-terminal domain (NTD) of the SARS-CoV-2 Spike (S) glycoprotein can alter its antigenicity and promote immune escape. We identified that SARS-CoV-2 lineages circulating in Brazil with mutations of concern in the RBD independently acquired convergent deletions and insertions in the NTD of the S protein, which altered the NTD antigenic-supersite and other predicted epitopes at this region. These findings support that the ongoing widespread transmission of SARS-CoV-2 in Brazil is generating new viral lineages that might be more resistant to neutralization than parental variants of concern.

Preprint Dans Anglais | bioRxiv | ID: ppbiorxiv-435194


Terminating the SARS-CoV-2 pandemic relies upon pan-global vaccination. Current vaccines elicit neutralizing antibody responses to the virus spike derived from early isolates. However, new strains have emerged with multiple mutations: P.1 from Brazil, B.1.351 from South Africa and B.1.1.7 from the UK (12, 10 and 9 changes in the spike respectively). All have mutations in the ACE2 binding site with P.1 and B.1.351 having a virtually identical triplet: E484K, K417N/T and N501Y, which we show confer similar increased affinity for ACE2. We show that, surprisingly, P.1 is significantly less resistant to naturally acquired or vaccine induced antibody responses than B.1.351 suggesting that changes outside the RBD impact neutralisation. Monoclonal antibody 222 neutralises all three variants despite interacting with two of the ACE2 binding site mutations, we explain this through structural analysis and use the 222 light chain to largely restore neutralization potency to a major class of public antibodies.

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