121 results found
Shattock RJ, Andrianaivoarimanana V, Mckay PF, et al., 2023, A self-amplifying RNA vaccine provides protection in a murine model of bubonic plague, FRONTIERS IN MICROBIOLOGY, Vol: 14
Zhou J, Sukhova K, Peacock TP, et al., 2023, Omicron breakthrough infections in vaccinated or previously infected hamsters, Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of USA, Vol: 120, ISSN: 0027-8424
The ongoing SARS-CoV-2 epidemic was marked by the repeated emergence and replacement of “variants” with genetic and phenotypic distance from the ancestral strains, the most recent examples being viruses of the Omicron lineage. Here, we describe a hamster direct contact exposure challenge model to assess protection against reinfection conferred by either vaccination or prior infection. We found that two doses of self-amplifying RNA vaccine based on the ancestral Spike ameliorated weight loss following Delta infection and decreased viral loads but had minimal effect on Omicron BA.1 infection. Prior vaccination followed by Delta or BA.1 breakthrough infections led to a high degree of cross-reactivity to all tested variants, suggesting that repeated exposure to antigenically distinct Spikes, via infection and/or vaccination drives a cross-reactive immune response. Prior infection with ancestral or Alpha variant was partially protective against BA.1 infection, whereas all animals previously infected with Delta and exposed to BA.1 became reinfected, although they shed less virus than BA.1-infected naive hamsters. Hamsters reinfected with BA.1 after prior Delta infection emitted infectious virus into the air, indicating that they could be responsible for onwards airborne transmission. We further tested whether prior infection with BA.1 protected from reinfection with Delta or later Omicron sublineages BA.2, BA.4, or BA.5. BA.1 was protective against BA.2 but not against Delta, BA.4, or BA.5 reinfection. These findings suggest that cohorts whose only immune experience of COVID-19 is Omicron BA.1 infection may be vulnerable to future circulation of reemerged Delta-like derivatives, as well as emerging Omicron sublineages.
Siris S, Gladstone CA, Guo Y, et al., 2023, Increasing human monoclonal antibody cloning efficiency with whole-cell modified Immunoglobulin-Capture Assay (mICA), Frontiers in Immunology, Vol: 14, Pages: 1-15, ISSN: 1664-3224
Expression cloning of fully human monoclonal antibodies (hmAbs) is seeing powerful utility in the field of vaccinology, especially for elucidating vaccine-induced B-cell responses and novel vaccine candidate antigen discovery. Precision of the hmAb cloning process relies on efficient isolation of hmAb-producing plasmablasts of interest. Previously, a novel immunoglobulin-capture assay (ICA) was developed, using single protein vaccine antigens, to enhance the pathogen-specific hmAb cloning output. Here, we report a novel modification of this single-antigen ICA using formalin-treated, fluorescently stained whole cell suspensions of the human bacterial invasive pathogens, Streptococcus pneumoniae and Neisseria meningitidis. Sequestration of IgG secreted by individual vaccine antigen-specific plasmablasts was achieved by the formation of an anti-CD45-streptavidin and biotin anti-IgG scaffold. Suspensions containing heterologous pneumococcal and meningococcal strains were then used to enrich for polysaccharide- and protein antigen-specific plasmablasts, respectively, during single cell sorting. Following application of the modified whole-cell ICA (mICA), ~61% (19/31) of anti-pneumococcal polysaccharide hmAbs were cloned compared to 14% (8/59) obtained using standard (non-mICA) methods – representing a ~4.4-fold increase in hmAb cloning precision. A more modest ~1.7-fold difference was obtained for anti-meningococcal vaccine hmAb cloning; ~88% of hmAbs cloned via mICA versus ~53% cloned via the standard method were specific for a meningococcal surface protein. VDJ sequencing revealed that cloned hmAbs reflected an anamnestic response to both pneumococcal and meningococcal vaccines; diversification within hmAb clones occurred by positive selection for replacement mutations. Thus, we have shown successful utilisation of whole bacterial cells in the ICA protocol enabling isolation of hmAbs targeting multiple disparate epitopes, thereby increasing the power of approache
Tregoning JS, Stirling DC, Wang Z, et al., 2023, Formulation, inflammation, and RNA sensing impact the immunogenicity of self-amplifying RNA vaccines, Molecular Therapy : Nucleic Acids, Vol: 31, Pages: 29-42, ISSN: 2162-2531
To be effective, RNA vaccines require both in situ translation and the induction of an immune response to recruit cells to the site of immunization. These factors can pull in opposite directions with the inflammation reducing expression of the vaccine antigen. We investigated how formulation affects the acute systemic cytokine response to a self-amplifying RNA (saRNA) vaccine. We compared a cationic polymer (pABOL), a lipid emulsion (nanostructured lipid carrier, NLC), and three lipid nanoparticles (LNP). After immunization, we measured serum cytokines and compared the response to induced antibodies against influenza virus. Formulations that induced a greater cytokine response induced a greater antibody response, with a significant correlation between IP-10, MCP-1, KC, and antigen-specific antibody titers. We then investigated how innate immune sensing and signaling impacted the adaptive immune response to vaccination with LNP-formulated saRNA. Mice that lacked MAVS and are unable to signal through RIG-I-like receptors had an altered cytokine response to saRNA vaccination and had significantly greater antibody responses than wild-type mice. This indicates that the inflammation induced by formulated saRNA vaccines is not solely deleterious in the induction of antibody responses and that targeting specific aspects of RNA vaccine sensing might improve the quality of the response.
Barton RD, 2022, Self-Amplifying RNA Vaccine Development: Transcriptomic Profiling of a Venezuelan Equine Encephalitis Virus Self-Amplifying RNA Vector in Human Muscle
Next-generation RNA constructs are emerging as exciting new platforms for both vaccination and therapeutic applications. The last few years have seen the first mRNA vaccines licensed for use in humans and the first-in-human clinical trial of a self-amplifying RNA vaccine. With their short time-to market, rapid manufacture, low cost, and ultra-low dosage, saRNA vaccines are potentially a game changer when it comes to dealing with novel disease outbreaks. Whilst the pre-clinical testing of a VEEV-derived saRNA vaccine yielded robust neutralisation and 100% seroconversion, the results from the first-in-human trial were notably more muted, with poor neutralisation and failure to induce 100% seroconversion. Our aim, therefore, was to investigate why humans and mice respond so differently to the VEEV saRNA construct; we hypothesised that there is a difference in the innate immune responses to saRNA in the cells that are responsible for taking up saRNA and synthesising antigen at the site of injection, i.e. muscle tissue. To investigate this, we used a transcriptomics approach to characterise the response of human muscle cells to VEEV saRNA and compared it with the transcriptomic changes seen in murine muscle cells. We observed that both human and mouse muscle cells produce a robust innate immune response to VEEV saRNA; however, there were several notable differences. Murine cells elevated the expression of cytokines and chemokines to a far greater extent than human muscle cells, while the expression of IRF7, a key transcription factor for orchestrating the antiviral response, was markedly higher in humans. Overall, these results indicate that there are distinct differences in the way that human cells react to saRNA compared to murine cells and that this should be taken into account when designing and testing saRNA vaccines in the future.
Lorenzen E, Contreras V, Olsen AW, et al., 2022, Multi-component prime-boost <i>Chlamydia trachomatis</i> vaccination regimes induce antibody and T cell responses and accelerate clearance of infection in a non-human primate model, FRONTIERS IN IMMUNOLOGY, Vol: 13, ISSN: 1664-3224
Hu K, Palmieri E, Samnuan K, et al., 2022, Generalized Modules for Membrane Antigens (GMMA), an outer membrane vesicle-based vaccine platform, for efficient viral antigen delivery, JOURNAL OF EXTRACELLULAR VESICLES, Vol: 11
Kitandwe PK, McKay PF, Kaleebu P, et al., 2022, An Overview of Rift Valley Fever Vaccine Development Strategies, VACCINES, Vol: 10
Van Tilbeurgh M, Maisonnasse P, Palgen J-L, et al., 2022, Innate cell markers that predict anti-HIV neutralizing antibody titers in vaccinated macaques, CELL REPORTS MEDICINE, Vol: 3, ISSN: 2666-3791
McKay PF, Zhou J, Frise R, et al., 2022, Polymer formulated self-amplifying RNA vaccine is partially protective against influenza virus infection in ferrets, Oxford Open Immunology, Vol: 3, ISSN: 2633-6960
COVID-19 has demonstrated the power of RNA vaccines as part of a pandemic response toolkit. Another virus with pandemic potential is influenza. Further development of RNA vaccines in advance of a future influenza pandemic will save time and lives. As RNA vaccines require formulation to enter cells and induce antigen expression, the aim of this study was to investigate the impact of a recently developed bioreducible cationic polymer, pABOL for the delivery of a self-amplifying RNA (saRNA) vaccine for seasonal influenza virus in mice and ferrets. Mice and ferrets were immunized with pABOL formulated saRNA vaccines expressing either haemagglutinin (HA) from H1N1 or H3N2 influenza virus in a prime boost regime. Antibody responses, both binding and functional were measured in serum after immunization. Animals were then challenged with a matched influenza virus either directly by intranasal inoculation or in a contact transmission model. While highly immunogenic in mice, pABOL-formulated saRNA led to variable responses in ferrets. Animals that responded to the vaccine with higher levels of influenza virus-specific neutralizing antibodies were more protected against influenza virus infection. pABOL-formulated saRNA is immunogenic in ferrets, but further optimization of RNA vaccine formulation and constructs is required to increase the quality and quantity of the antibody response to the vaccine.
Frise R, Baillon L, Zhou J, et al., 2022, A self-amplifying RNA vaccine protects against SARS-CoV-2 (D614G) and Alpha variant of concern (B.1.1.7) in a transmission-challenge hamster model, VACCINE, Vol: 40, Pages: 2848-2855, ISSN: 0264-410X
Peter AS, Roth E, Schulz SR, et al., 2022, A pair of noncompeting neutralizing human monoclonal antibodies protecting from disease in a SARS-CoV-2 infection model, EUROPEAN JOURNAL OF IMMUNOLOGY, Vol: 52, Pages: 770-783, ISSN: 0014-2980
Gallinaro A, Pirillo MF, Aldon Y, et al., 2022, Persistent immunogenicity of integrase defective lentiviral vectors delivering membrane-tethered native-like HIV-1 envelope trimers, NPJ VACCINES, Vol: 7
Dispinseri S, Marzinotto I, Brigatti C, et al., 2022, Seasonal Betacoronavirus Antibodies' Expansion Post-BNT161b2 Vaccination Associates with Reduced SARS-CoV-2 VoC Neutralization, JOURNAL OF CLINICAL IMMUNOLOGY, Vol: 42, Pages: 448-458, ISSN: 0271-9142
Samnuan K, Blakney A, McKay P, et al., 2022, Design-of-experiments in vitro transcription yield optimization of self-amplifying RNA [version 1; peer review: 1 approved with reservations], F1000Research, Vol: 11, ISSN: 2046-1402
Background: Self-amplifying RNA (saRNA) vaccines are able to induce a higher antigen-specific immune response with a more cost-effective and rapid production process compared to plasmid DNA vaccines. saRNAs are synthesized through in vitro transcription (IVT); however, this process has mainly been optimized for relatively short mRNAs. Methods: Here, we optimized the IVT process for long saRNAs, approximately 9.4 kb, through a design of experiment (DoE) approach to produce a maximal RNA yield and validated the optimal IVT method on various sizes of RNA. Results: We found that magnesium has the highest impact on RNA yield with acetate ions enabling a higher yield than chloride ions. In addition, the interaction between magnesium and nucleoside triphosphates (NTPs) is highly essential for IVT. Further addition of sodium acetate (NaOAc) during IVT provided no added benefit in RNA yield. Moreover, pyrophosphatase was not essential for productive IVT. The optimal IVT method can be used to synthesize different lengths of RNA. Conclusions: These findings emphasize the ability to synthesize high quality and quantity of saRNA through IVT and that the optimal amount of each component is essential for their interactions to produce a high RNA yield.
Hu K, McKay PF, Samnuan K, et al., 2022, Presentation of antigen on extracellular vesicles using transmembrane domains from viral glycoproteins for enhanced immunogenicity, Journal of Extracellular Vesicles, Vol: 11, ISSN: 2001-3078
A vaccine antigen, when launched as DNA or RNA, can be presented in various forms, including intracellular, secreted, membrane-bound, or on extracellular vesicles (EVs). Whether an antigen in one or more of these forms is superior in immune induction remains unclear. In this study, we used GFP as a model antigen and first compared the EV-loading efficiency of transmembrane domains (TMs) from various viral glycoproteins, and then investigated whether EV-bound GFP (EV-GFP) would enhance immune induction. Our data showed that GFP fused to viral TMs was successfully loaded onto the surface of EVs. In addition, GFP-bound EVs were predominantly associated with the exosome marker CD81. Immunogenicity study with EV-GFP-producing plasmids in mice demonstrated that antigen-specific IgG and IgA were significantly increased in EV-GFP groups, compared to soluble and intracellular GFP groups. Similarly, GFP-specific T cell response-related cytokines produced by antigen-stimulated splenocytes were also enhanced in mice immunized with EV-GFP constructs. Immunogenicity study with purified soluble GFP and GFP EVs further confirmed the immune enhancement property of EV-GFP in mice. In vitro uptake assays indicated that EV-GFP was more efficiently taken up than soluble GFP by mouse splenocytes and such uptake was B cell preferential. Taken together, our data indicate that viral TMs can efficiently load antigens onto the EV surface, and that EV-bound antigen enhances both humoral and cell-mediated antigen-specific responses.
Mann JFS, McKay PF, Klein K, et al., 2022, Blocking T-cell egress with FTY720 extends DNA vaccine expression but reduces immunogenicity, Immunology, Vol: 165, Pages: 301-311, ISSN: 0019-2805
Optimal immunogenicity from nucleic acid vaccines requires a balance of antigen expression that effectively engages the host immune system without generating a cellular response that rapidly destroys cells producing the antigen and thereby limiting vaccine antigen expression. We investigated the role of the cellular response on the expression and antigenicity of DNA vaccines using a plasmid DNA construct expressing luciferase. Repeated intramuscular administration led to diminished luciferase expression, suggesting a role for immune-mediated clearance of expression. To investigate the role of cell trafficking, we used the sphingosine 1-phosphate receptor (S1PR) modulator, FTY720 (Fingolimod), which traps lymphocytes within the lymphoid tissues. When lymphocyte trafficking was blocked with FTY720, DNA transgene expression was maintained at a constant level for a significantly extended time period. Both continuous and staggered administration of FTY720 prolonged transgene expression. However, blocking lymphocyte egress during primary transgene administration did not result in an increase of transgene expression during secondary administration. Interestingly, there was a disconnect between transgene expression and immunogenicity, as increasing expression by this approach did not enhance the overall immune response. Furthermore, when FTY720 was administered alongside a DNA vaccine expressing the HIV gp140 envelope antigen, there was a significant reduction in both antigen-specific antibody and T-cell responses. This indicates that the developing antigen-specific cellular response clears DNA vaccine expression but requires access to the site of expression in order to develop an effective immune response.
Zhou J, Peacock TP, Brown JC, et al., 2022, Mutations that adapt SARS-CoV-2 to mink or ferret do not increase fitness in the human airway, CELL REPORTS, Vol: 38, ISSN: 2211-1247
Pollock KM, Cheeseman HM, Szubert AJ, et al., 2022, Safety and immunogenicity of a self-amplifying RNA vaccine against COVID-19: COVAC1, a phase I, dose-ranging trial, EClinicalMedicine, Vol: 44, ISSN: 2589-5370
Background: Lipid nanoparticle (LNP) encapsulated self-amplifying RNA (saRNA) is a novel technology formulated as a low dose vaccine against COVID-19. Methods: A phase I first-in-human dose-ranging trial of a saRNA COVID-19 vaccine candidate LNP-nCoVsaRNA, was conducted at Imperial Clinical Research Facility, and participating centres in London, UK, between 19th June to 28th October 2020. Participants received two intramuscular (IM) injections of LNP-nCoVsaRNA at six different dose levels, 0.1-10.0μg, given four weeks apart. An open-label dose escalation was followed by a dose evaluation. Solicited adverse events (AEs) were collected for one week from enrolment, with follow-up at regular intervals (1-8 weeks). The binding and neutralisation capacity of anti-SARS-CoV-2 antibody raised in participant sera was measured by means of an anti-Spike (S) IgG ELISA, immunoblot, SARS-CoV-2 pseudoneutralisation and wild type neutralisation assays. (The trial is registered: ISRCTN17072692, EudraCT 2020-001646-20). Findings: 192 healthy individuals with no history or serological evidence of COVID-19, aged 18-45 years were enrolled. The vaccine was well tolerated with no serious adverse events related to vaccination. Seroconversion at week six whether measured by ELISA or immunoblot was related to dose (both p<0.001), ranging from 8% (3/39; 0.1μg) to 61% (14/23; 10.0μg) in ELISA and 46% (18/39; 0.3μg) to 87% (20/23; 5.0μg and 10.0μg) in a post-hoc immunoblot assay. Geometric mean (GM) anti-S IgG concentrations ranged from 74 (95% CI, 45-119) at 0.1μg to 1023 (468-2236) ng/mL at 5.0μg (p<0.001) and was not higher at 10.0μg. Neutralisation of SARS-CoV-2 by participant sera was measurable in 15% (6/39; 0.1μg) to 48% (11/23; 5.0μg) depending on dose level received. Interpretation: Encapsulated saRNA is safe for clinical development, is immunogenic at low dose levels but failed to induce 100% seroconversion. Modifications to optimis
Rosadas C, Khan M, Parker E, et al., 2022, Detection and quantification of antibody to SARS CoV 2 receptor binding domain provides enhanced sensitivity, specificity and utility, Journal of Virological Methods, Vol: 302, ISSN: 0166-0934
Accurate and sensitive detection of antibody to SARS-CoV-2 remains an essential component of the pandemic response. Measuring antibody that predicts neutralising activity and the vaccine response is an absolute requirement for laboratory-based confirmatory and reference activity. The viral receptor binding domain (RBD) constitutes the prime target antigen for neutralising antibody. A double antigen binding assay (DABA), providing the most sensitive format has been exploited in a novel hybrid manner employing a solid-phase S1 preferentially presenting RBD, coupled with a labelled RBD conjugate, used in a two-step sequential assay for detection and measurement of antibody to RBD (anti-RBD). This class and species neutral assay showed a specificity of 100% on 825 pre COVID-19 samples and a potential sensitivity of 99.6% on 276 recovery samples, predicting quantitatively the presence of neutralising antibody determined by pseudo-type neutralisation and by plaque reduction. Anti-RBD is also measurable in ferrets immunised with ChadOx1 nCoV-19 vaccine and in humans immunised with both AstraZeneca and Pfizer vaccines. This assay detects anti-RBD at presentation with illness, demonstrates its elevation with disease severity, its sequel to asymptomatic infection and its persistence after the loss of antibody to the nucleoprotein (anti-NP). It also provides serological confirmation of prior infection and offers a secure measure for seroprevalence and studies of vaccine immunisation in human and animal populations. The hybrid DABA also displays the attributes necessary for the detection and quantification of anti-RBD to be used in clinical practice. An absence of detectable anti-RBD by this assay predicates the need for passive immune prophylaxis in at-risk patients.
Mariotti S, Capocefalo A, Chiantore MV, et al., 2021, Isolation and Characterization of Mouse Monoclonal Antibodies That Neutralize SARS-CoV-2 and Its Variants of Concern Alpha, Beta, Gamma and Delta by Binding Conformational Epitopes of Glycosylated RBD With High Potency, FRONTIERS IN IMMUNOLOGY, Vol: 12, ISSN: 1664-3224
Blakney AK, McKay PF, Hu K, et al., 2021, Polymeric and lipid nanoparticles for delivery of self-amplifying RNA vaccines, Journal of Controlled Release, Vol: 338, Pages: 201-210, ISSN: 0168-3659
Self-amplifying RNA (saRNA) is a next-generation vaccine platform, but like all nucleic acids, requires a delivery vehicle to promote cellular uptake and protect the saRNA from degradation. To date, delivery platforms for saRNA have included lipid nanoparticles (LNP), polyplexes and cationic nanoemulsions; of these LNP are the most clinically advanced with the recent FDA approval of COVID-19 based-modified mRNA vaccines. While the effect of RNA on vaccine immunogenicity is well studied, the role of biomaterials in saRNA vaccine effectiveness is under investigated. Here, we tested saRNA formulated with either pABOL, a bioreducible polymer, or LNP, and characterized the protein expression and vaccine immunogenicity of both platforms. We observed that pABOL-formulated saRNA resulted in a higher magnitude of protein expression, but that the LNP formulations were overall more immunogenic. Furthermore, we observed that both the helper phospholipid and route of administration (intramuscular versus intranasal) of LNP impacted the vaccine immunogenicity of two model antigens (influenza hemagglutinin and SARS-CoV-2 spike protein). We observed that LNP administered intramuscularly, but not pABOL or LNP administered intranasally, resulted in increased acute interleukin-6 expression after vaccination. Overall, these results indicate that delivery systems and routes of administration may fulfill different delivery niches within the field of saRNA genetic medicines.
Gallinaro A, Pirillo MF, Aldon Y, et al., 2021, Persistent Immunogenicity of Integrase Defective Lentiviral Vectors delivering membrane tethered Native-Like HIV-1 Envelope Trimers
<jats:title>ABSTRACT</jats:title><jats:p>Integrase Defective Lentiviral Vectors (IDLVs) represent an attractive vaccine platform for delivering HIV-1 antigens, given their ability to induce specific and persistent immune responses in both mice and non-human primates (NHPs). Recent advances in HIV-1 immunogen design demonstrated that native-like HIV-1 Envelope (Env) trimers that mimic the structure of virion-associated Env induce neutralization breadth in rabbits and macaques. Here, we describe the development of an IDLV-based HIV-1 vaccine expressing either soluble ConSOSL.UFO.664 or membrane-tethered ConSOSL.UFO.750 native-like Env immunogens with enhanced bNAb epitopes exposure. We show that IDLV can be pseudotyped with properly folded membrane-tethered native-like UFO.750 trimers. After a single IDLV injection in BALB/c mice, IDLV-UFO.750 induced a faster humoral kinetic as well as higher levels of anti-Env IgG compared to IDLV-UFO.664. IDLV-UFO.750 vaccinated cynomolgus macaques developed unusually long-lasting anti-Env IgG antibodies, as underlined by their remarkable half-life both after priming and boost with IDLV. After boosting with recombinant ConM SOSIP.v7 protein, two animals developed neutralization activity against the autologous tier 1B ConS virus mediated by V1/V2 and V3 glycan sites responses. By combining the possibility to display stabilized trimeric Env on the vector particles with the ability to induce sustained humoral responses, IDLVs represent an appropriate strategy for delivering rationally designed antigens to progress towards an effective HIV-1 vaccine.</jats:p>
Aldon Y, McKay PF, Herrero JM, et al., 2021, Immunogenicity of stabilized HIV-1 Env trimers delivered by self-amplifying mRNA, Molecular Therapy - Nucleic Acids, Vol: 25, Pages: 483-493, ISSN: 2162-2531
Self-amplifying mRNA (saRNA) represents a promising platform for nucleic acid delivery of vaccine immunogens. Unlike plasmid DNA, saRNA does not require entry into the nucleus of target cells for expression having the capacity to drive higher protein expression compared to mRNA as it replicates within the cytoplasm. In this study, we examined the potential of stabilized native-like HIV-1 Envelope glycoprotein (Env) trimers to elicit immune responses when delivered by saRNA polyplexes (PLX), assembled with linear polyethylenimine. We showed that Venezuelan equine encephalitis virus (VEEV) saRNA induces a stronger humoral immune response to the encoded transgene compared to Semliki Forest virus saRNA. Moreover, we characterized the immunogenicity of the soluble and membrane-bound ConSOSL.UFO Env design in mice and showed a faster humoral kinetic and an IgG2a skew using a membrane-bound design. The immune response generated by PLX VEEV saRNA encoding the membrane-bound Env was then evaluated in larger animal models including macaques in which low doses induced high IgG responses. Our data demonstrated that the VEEV saRNA PLX nanoparticle formulation represents a suitable platform for the delivery of stabilized HIV-1 Env and has the potential to be used in a variety of vaccine regimens.
Zhou J, Peacock T, Brown J, et al., 2021, Mutations that adapt SARS-CoV-2 to mustelid hosts do not increase fitness in the human airway.
<jats:title>Abstract</jats:title> <jats:p>SARS-CoV-2 has a broad mammalian species tropism infecting humans, cats, dogs and farmed mink. Since the start of the 2019 pandemic several reverse zoonotic outbreaks of SARS-CoV-2 have occurred in mink, one of which reinfected humans and caused a cluster of infections in Denmark. Here we investigate the molecular basis of mink and ferret adaptation and demonstrate the spike mutations Y453F, F486L, and N501T all specifically adapt SARS-CoV-2 to use mustelid ACE2. Furthermore, we risk assess these mutations and conclude mink-adapted viruses are unlikely to pose an increased threat to humans, as Y453F attenuates the virus replication in human cells and all 3 mink-adaptations have minimal antigenic impact. Finally, we show that certain SARS-CoV-2 variants emerging from circulation in humans may naturally have a greater propensity to infect mustelid hosts and therefore these species should continue to be surveyed for reverse zoonotic infections.</jats:p>
Zhou J, Peacock TP, Brown JC, et al., 2021, Mutations that adapt SARS-CoV-2 to mustelid hosts do not increase fitness in the human airway
<jats:title>Abstract</jats:title><jats:p>SARS-CoV-2 has a broad mammalian species tropism infecting humans, cats, dogs and farmed mink. Since the start of the 2019 pandemic several reverse zoonotic outbreaks of SARS-CoV-2 have occurred in mink, one of which reinfected humans and caused a cluster of infections in Denmark. Here we investigate the molecular basis of mink and ferret adaptation and demonstrate the spike mutations Y453F, F486L, and N501T all specifically adapt SARS-CoV-2 to use mustelid ACE2. Furthermore, we risk assess these mutations and conclude mink-adapted viruses are unlikely to pose an increased threat to humans, as Y453F attenuates the virus replication in human cells and all 3 mink-adaptations have minimal antigenic impact. Finally, we show that certain SARS-CoV-2 variants emerging from circulation in humans may naturally have a greater propensity to infect mustelid hosts and therefore these species should continue to be surveyed for reverse zoonotic infections.</jats:p>
McKay P, Murray S, 2021, Chlamydia trachomatis: cell biology, immunology and vaccination, Vaccine, Vol: 39, Pages: 2965-2975, ISSN: 0264-410X
Chlamydia trachomatis is the causative agent of a highly prevalent sexually transmitted bacterial disease and is associated with a number of severe disease complications. Current therapy options are successful at treating disease, but patients are left without protective immunity and do not benefit the majority asymptomatic patients who do not seek treatment. As such, there is a clear need for a broad acting, protective vaccine that can prevent transmission and protect against symptomatic disease presentation. There are three key elements that underlie successful vaccine development: 1) Chlamydia biology and immune-evasion adaptations, 2) the correlates of protection that prevent disease in natural and experimental infection, 3) reflection upon the evidence provided by previous vaccine attempts. In this review, we give an overview of the unique intra-cellular biology of C. trachomatis and give insight into the dynamic combination of adaptations that allow Chlamydia to subvert host immunity and survive within the cell. We explore the current understanding of chlamydial immunity in animal models and in humans and characterise the key immune correlates of protection against infection. We discuss in detail the specific immune interactions involved in protection, with relevance placed on the CD4+ T lymphocyte and B lymphocyte responses that are key to pathogen clearance. Finally, we provide a timeline of C. trachomatis vaccine research to date and evaluate the successes and failures in development so far. With insight from these three key elements of research, we suggest potential solutions for chlamydial vaccine development and promising avenues for further exploration.
Spencer AJ, McKay PF, Belij-Rammerstorfer S, et al., 2021, Heterologous vaccination regimens with self-amplifying RNA and adenoviral COVID vaccines induce robust immune responses in mice, Nature Communications, Vol: 12, ISSN: 2041-1723
Several vaccines have demonstrated efficacy against SARS-CoV-2 mediated disease, yet there is limited data on the immune response induced by heterologous vaccination regimens using alternate vaccine modalities. Here, we present a detailed description of the immune response, in mice, following vaccination with a self-amplifying RNA (saRNA) vaccine and an adenoviral vectored vaccine (ChAdOx1 nCoV-19/AZD1222) against SARS-CoV-2. We demonstrate that antibody responses are higher in two-dose heterologous vaccination regimens than single-dose regimens. Neutralising titres after heterologous prime-boost were at least comparable or higher than the titres measured after homologous prime boost vaccination with viral vectors. Importantly, the cellular immune response after a heterologous regimen is dominated by cytotoxic T cells and Th1+ CD4 T cells, which is superior to the response induced in homologous vaccination regimens in mice. These results underpin the need for clinical trials to investigate the immunogenicity of heterologous regimens with alternate vaccine technologies.
Blakney A, McKay P, Bouton C, et al., 2021, Innate inhibiting proteins enhance expression and immunogenicity of self-amplifying RNA, Molecular Therapy, Vol: 29, Pages: 1174-1185, ISSN: 1525-0016
Self-amplifying RNA (saRNA) is a cutting-edge platform for both nucleic acid vaccines and therapeutics. saRNA is self-adjuvanting as it activates types I and III interferon (IFN), which enhances the immunogenicity of RNA vaccines but can also lead to inhibition of translation. Here, we screen a library of saRNA constructs with cis-encoded innate inhibiting proteins (IIPs) and determine the effect on protein expression and immunogenicity. We observed that the PIV-5 V and MERS-CoV ORF4a proteins enhance protein expression 100-500-fold in vitro in IFN-competent HeLa and MRC5 cells. We found that the MERS-CoV ORF4a protein partially abates dose nonlinearity in vivo, and that ruxolitinib, a potent JAK/STAT inhibitor, but not the IIPs, enhances protein expression of saRNA in vivo. Both the PIV-5 V and MERS-CoV ORF4a proteins were found to enhance the percentage of resident cells in human skin explants expressing saRNA and completely rescued dose nonlinearity of saRNA. Finally, we observed that the MERS-CoV ORF4a increased the RABV-specific IgG titer and neutralization IC50 by ~10-fold in rabbits, but not mice or rats. These experiments provide a proof-of-concept that IIPs can be directly encoded into saRNA vectors and effectively abate the nonlinear dose dependency and enhance immunogenicity.
Brown JC, Goldhill DH, Zhou J, et al., 2021, Increased transmission of SARS-CoV-2 lineage B.1.1.7 (VOC 2020212/01) is not accounted for by a replicative advantage in primary airway cells or antibody escape
<jats:title>Abstract</jats:title><jats:p>Lineage B.1.1.7 (Variant of Concern 202012/01) is a new SARS-CoV-2 variant which was first sequenced in the UK in September 2020 before becoming the majority strain in the UK and spreading worldwide. The rapid spread of the B.1.1.7 variant results from increased transmissibility but the virological characteristics which underpin this advantage over other circulating strains remain unknown. Here, we demonstrate that there is no difference in viral replication between B.1.1.7 and other contemporaneous SARS-CoV-2 strains in primary human airway epithelial (HAE) cells. However, B.1.1.7 replication is disadvantaged in Vero cells potentially due to increased furin-mediated cleavage of its spike protein as a result of a P681H mutation directly adjacent to the S1/S2 cleavage site. In addition, we show that B.1.1.7 does not escape neutralisation by convalescent or post-vaccination sera. Thus, increased transmission of B.1.1.7 is not caused by increased replication, as measured on HAE cells, or escape from serological immunity.</jats:p>
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