Publications by authors named "Jingyou Yu"

48 Publications

Protective efficacy of rhesus adenovirus COVID-19 vaccines against mouse-adapted SARS-CoV-2.

J Virol 2021 Sep 15:JVI0097421. Epub 2021 Sep 15.

Center for Virology and Vaccine Research, Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center, Harvard Medical School, Boston, MA, USA.

The global COVID-19 pandemic has sparked intense interest in the rapid development of vaccines as well as animal models to evaluate vaccine candidates and to define immune correlates of protection. We recently reported a mouse-adapted SARS-CoV-2 virus strain (MA10) with the potential to infect wild-type laboratory mice, driving high levels of viral replication in respiratory tract tissues as well as severe clinical and respiratory symptoms, aspects of COVID-19 disease in humans that are important to capture in model systems. We evaluated the immunogenicity and protective efficacy of novel rhesus adenovirus serotype 52 (RhAd52) vaccines against MA10 challenge in mice. Baseline seroprevalence is lower for rhesus adenovirus vectors than for human or chimpanzee adenovirus vectors, making these vectors attractive candidates for vaccine development. We observed that RhAd52 vaccines elicited robust binding and neutralizing antibody titers, which inversely correlated with viral replication after challenge. These data support the development of RhAd52 vaccines and the use of the MA10 challenge virus to screen novel vaccine candidates and to study the immunologic mechanisms that underscore protection from SARS-CoV-2 challenge in wild-type mice. We have developed a series of SARS-CoV-2 vaccines using rhesus adenovirus serotype 52 (RhAd52) vectors, which exhibits a lower seroprevalence than human and chimpanzee vectors, supporting their development as novel vaccine vectors or as an alternative Ad vector for boosting. We sought to test these vaccines using a recently reported mouse-adapted SARS-CoV-2 (MA10) virus to i) evaluate the protective efficacy of RhAd52 vaccines and ii) further characterize this mouse-adapted challenge model and probe immune correlates of protection. We demonstrate RhAd52 vaccines elicit robust SARS-CoV-2-specific antibody responses and protect against clinical disease and viral replication in the lungs. Further, binding and neutralizing antibody titers correlated with protective efficacy. These data validate the MA10 mouse model as a useful tool to screen and study novel vaccine candidates, as well as the development of RhAd52 vaccines for COVID-19.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1128/JVI.00974-21DOI Listing
September 2021

SERINC proteins potentiate antiviral type I IFN production and proinflammatory signaling pathways.

Sci Signal 2021 Sep 14;14(700):eabc7611. Epub 2021 Sep 14.

Center for Retrovirus Research, Ohio State University, Columbus, OH 43210, USA.

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http://dx.doi.org/10.1126/scisignal.abc7611DOI Listing
September 2021

Engineered SARS-CoV-2 receptor binding domain improves manufacturability in yeast and immunogenicity in mice.

Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A 2021 09;118(38)

Bioqual, Inc., Rockville, MD 20850.

Global containment of COVID-19 still requires accessible and affordable vaccines for low- and middle-income countries (LMICs). Recently approved vaccines provide needed interventions, albeit at prices that may limit their global access. Subunit vaccines based on recombinant proteins are suited for large-volume microbial manufacturing to yield billions of doses annually, minimizing their manufacturing cost. These types of vaccines are well-established, proven interventions with multiple safe and efficacious commercial examples. Many vaccine candidates of this type for SARS-CoV-2 rely on sequences containing the receptor-binding domain (RBD), which mediates viral entry to cells via ACE2. Here we report an engineered sequence variant of RBD that exhibits high-yield manufacturability, high-affinity binding to ACE2, and enhanced immunogenicity after a single dose in mice compared to the Wuhan-Hu-1 variant used in current vaccines. Antibodies raised against the engineered protein exhibited heterotypic binding to the RBD from two recently reported SARS-CoV-2 variants of concern (501Y.V1/V2). Presentation of the engineered RBD on a designed virus-like particle (VLP) also reduced weight loss in hamsters upon viral challenge.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1073/pnas.2106845118DOI Listing
September 2021

A modular protein subunit vaccine candidate produced in yeast confers protection against SARS-CoV-2 in non-human primates.

bioRxiv 2021 Jul 14. Epub 2021 Jul 14.

Vaccines against SARS-CoV-2 have been distributed at massive scale in developed countries, and have been effective at preventing COVID-19. Access to vaccines is limited, however, in low- and middle-income countries (LMICs) due to insufficient supply, high costs, and cold storage requirements. New vaccines that can be produced in existing manufacturing facilities in LMICs, can be manufactured at low cost, and use widely available, proven, safe adjuvants like alum, would improve global immunity against SARS-CoV-2. One such protein subunit vaccine is produced by the Serum Institute of India Pvt. Ltd. and is currently in clinical testing. Two protein components, the SARS-CoV-2 receptor binding domain (RBD) and hepatitis B surface antigen virus-like particles (VLPs), are each produced in yeast, which would enable a low-cost, high-volume manufacturing process. Here, we describe the design and preclinical testing of the RBD-VLP vaccine in cynomolgus macaques. We observed titers of neutralizing antibodies (>10 ) above the range of protection for other licensed vaccines in non-human primates. Interestingly, addition of a second adjuvant (CpG1018) appeared to improve the cellular response while reducing the humoral response. We challenged animals with SARS-CoV-2, and observed a ~3.4 and ~2.9 log reduction in median viral loads in bronchoalveolar lavage and nasal mucosa, respectively, compared to sham controls. These results inform the design and formulation of current clinical COVID-19 vaccine candidates like the one described here, and future designs of RBD-based vaccines against variants of SARS-CoV-2 or other betacoronaviruses.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1101/2021.07.13.452251DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC8288147PMC
July 2021

Durable Humoral and Cellular Immune Responses Following Ad26.COV2.S Vaccination for COVID-19.

medRxiv 2021 Jul 7. Epub 2021 Jul 7.

Janssen Vaccines & Prevention, Leiden, The Netherlands.

Interim immunogenicity and efficacy data for the Ad26.COV2.S vaccine for COVID-19 have recently been reported . We describe here the 8-month durability of humoral and cellular immune responses in 20 individuals who received one or two doses of 5Ã-10 vp or 10 vp Ad26.COV2.S and in 5 participants who received placebo . We evaluated antibody and T cell responses on day 239, which was 8 months after the single-shot vaccine regimen (N=10) or 6 months after the two-shot vaccine regimen (N=10), although the present study was not powered to compare these regimens . We also report neutralizing antibody responses against the parental SARS-CoV-2 WA1/2020 strain as well as against the SARS-CoV-2 variants D614G, B.1.1.7 (alpha), B.1.617.1 (kappa), B.1.617.2 (delta), P.1 (gamma), B.1.429 (epsilon), and B.1.351 (beta).
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1101/2021.07.05.21259918DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC8282116PMC
July 2021

Protective efficacy of Ad26.COV2.S against SARS-CoV-2 B.1.351 in macaques.

Nature 2021 08 23;596(7872):423-427. Epub 2021 Jun 23.

Bioqual, Rockville, MD, USA.

The emergence of SARS-CoV-2 variants that partially evade neutralizing antibodies poses a threat to the efficacy of current COVID-19 vaccines. The Ad26.COV2.S vaccine expresses a stabilized spike protein from the WA1/2020 strain of SARS-CoV-2, and has recently demonstrated protective efficacy against symptomatic COVID-19 in humans in several geographical regions-including in South Africa, where 95% of sequenced viruses in cases of COVID-19 were the B.1.351 variant. Here we show that Ad26.COV2.S elicits humoral and cellular immune responses that cross-react with the B.1.351 variant and protects against B.1.351 challenge in rhesus macaques. Ad26.COV2.S induced lower binding and neutralizing antibodies against B.1.351 as compared to WA1/2020, but elicited comparable CD8 and CD4 T cell responses against the WA1/2020, B.1.351, B.1.1.7, P.1 and CAL.20C variants. B.1.351 infection of control rhesus macaques resulted in higher levels of virus replication in bronchoalveolar lavage and nasal swabs than did WA1/2020 infection. Ad26.COV2.S provided robust protection against both WA1/2020 and B.1.351, although we observed higher levels of virus in vaccinated macaques after B.1.351 challenge. These data demonstrate that Ad26.COV2.S provided robust protection against B.1.351 challenge in rhesus macaques. Our findings have important implications for vaccine control of SARS-CoV-2 variants of concern.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1038/s41586-021-03732-8DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC8373608PMC
August 2021

Protective efficacy of rhesus adenovirus COVID-19 vaccines against mouse-adapted SARS-CoV-2.

bioRxiv 2021 Jun 15. Epub 2021 Jun 15.

The global COVID-19 pandemic has sparked intense interest in the rapid development of vaccines as well as animal models to evaluate vaccine candidates and to define immune correlates of protection. We recently reported a mouse-adapted SARS-CoV-2 virus strain (MA10) with the potential to infect wild-type laboratory mice, driving high levels of viral replication in respiratory tract tissues as well as severe clinical and respiratory symptoms, aspects of COVID-19 disease in humans that are important to capture in model systems. We evaluated the immunogenicity and protective efficacy of novel rhesus adenovirus serotype 52 (RhAd52) vaccines against MA10 challenge in mice. Baseline seroprevalence is lower for rhesus adenovirus vectors than for human or chimpanzee adenovirus vectors, making these vectors attractive candidates for vaccine development. We observed that RhAd52 vaccines elicited robust binding and neutralizing antibody titers, which inversely correlated with viral replication after challenge. These data support the development of RhAd52 vaccines and the use of the MA10 challenge virus to screen novel vaccine candidates and to study the immunologic mechanisms that underscore protection from SARS-CoV-2 challenge in wild-type mice.

Importance: We have developed a series of SARS-CoV-2 vaccines using rhesus adenovirus serotype 52 (RhAd52) vectors, which exhibits a lower seroprevalence than human and chimpanzee vectors, supporting their development as novel vaccine vectors or as an alternative Ad vector for boosting. We sought to test these vaccines using a recently reported mouse-adapted SARS-CoV-2 (MA10) virus to i) evaluate the protective efficacy of RhAd52 vaccines and ii) further characterize this mouse-adapted challenge model and probe immune correlates of protection. We demonstrate RhAd52 vaccines elicit robust SARS-CoV-2-specific antibody responses and protect against clinical disease and viral replication in the lungs. Further, binding and neutralizing antibody titers correlated with protective efficacy. These data validate the MA10 mouse model as a useful tool to screen and study novel vaccine candidates, as well as the development of RhAd52 vaccines for COVID-19.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1101/2021.06.14.448461DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC8219099PMC
June 2021

Low-dose Ad26.COV2.S protection against SARS-CoV-2 challenge in rhesus macaques.

Cell 2021 06 1;184(13):3467-3473.e11. Epub 2021 Jun 1.

Bioqual, Rockville, MD 20852, USA.

We previously reported that a single immunization with an adenovirus serotype 26 (Ad26)-vector-based vaccine expressing an optimized SARS-CoV-2 spike (Ad26.COV2.S) protected rhesus macaques against SARS-CoV-2 challenge. To evaluate reduced doses of Ad26.COV2.S, 30 rhesus macaques were immunized once with 1 × 10, 5 × 10, 1.125 × 10, or 2 × 10 viral particles (vp) Ad26.COV2.S or sham and were challenged with SARS-CoV-2. Vaccine doses as low as 2 × 10 vp provided robust protection in bronchoalveolar lavage, whereas doses of 1.125 × 10 vp were required for protection in nasal swabs. Activated memory B cells and binding or neutralizing antibody titers following vaccination correlated with protective efficacy. At suboptimal vaccine doses, viral breakthrough was observed but did not show enhancement of disease. These data demonstrate that a single immunization with relatively low dose of Ad26.COV2.S effectively protected against SARS-CoV-2 challenge in rhesus macaques, although a higher vaccine dose may be required for protection in the upper respiratory tract.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.cell.2021.05.040DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC8166510PMC
June 2021

Immunogenicity of Ad26.COV2.S vaccine against SARS-CoV-2 variants in humans.

Nature 2021 08 9;596(7871):268-272. Epub 2021 Jun 9.

Janssen Vaccines & Prevention, Leiden, The Netherlands.

The Ad26.COV2.S vaccine has demonstrated clinical efficacy against symptomatic COVID-19, including against the B.1.351 variant that is partially resistant to neutralizing antibodies. However, the immunogenicity of this vaccine in humans against SARS-CoV-2 variants of concern remains unclear. Here we report humoral and cellular immune responses from 20 Ad26.COV2.S vaccinated individuals from the COV1001 phase I-IIa clinical trial against the original SARS-CoV-2 strain WA1/2020 as well as against the B.1.1.7, CAL.20C, P.1 and B.1.351 variants of concern. Ad26.COV2.S induced median pseudovirus neutralizing antibody titres that were 5.0-fold and 3.3-fold lower against the B.1.351 and P.1 variants, respectively, as compared with WA1/2020 on day 71 after vaccination. Median binding antibody titres were 2.9-fold and 2.7-fold lower against the B.1.351 and P.1 variants, respectively, as compared with WA1/2020. Antibody-dependent cellular phagocytosis, complement deposition and natural killer cell activation responses were largely preserved against the B.1.351 variant. CD8 and CD4 T cell responses, including central and effector memory responses, were comparable among the WA1/2020, B.1.1.7, B.1.351, P.1 and CAL.20C variants. These data show that neutralizing antibody responses induced by Ad26.COV2.S were reduced against the B.1.351 and P.1 variants, but functional non-neutralizing antibody responses and T cell responses were largely preserved against SARS-CoV-2 variants. These findings have implications for vaccine protection against SARS-CoV-2 variants of concern.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1038/s41586-021-03681-2DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC8357629PMC
August 2021

Alum:CpG adjuvant enables SARS-CoV-2 RBD-induced protection in aged mice and synergistic activation of human elder type 1 immunity.

bioRxiv 2021 May 21. Epub 2021 May 21.

Global deployment of vaccines that can provide protection across several age groups is still urgently needed to end the COVID-19 pandemic especially for low- and middle-income countries. While vaccines against SARS-CoV-2 based on mRNA and adenoviral-vector technologies have been rapidly developed, additional practical and scalable SARS-CoV-2 vaccines are needed to meet global demand. In this context, protein subunit vaccines formulated with appropriate adjuvants represent a promising approach to address this urgent need. Receptor-binding domain (RBD) is a key target of neutralizing antibodies (Abs) but is poorly immunogenic. We therefore compared pattern recognition receptor (PRR) agonists, including those activating STING, TLR3, TLR4 and TLR9, alone or formulated with aluminum hydroxide (AH), and benchmarked them to AS01B and AS03-like emulsion-based adjuvants for their potential to enhance RBD immunogenicity in young and aged mice. We found that the AH and CpG adjuvant formulation (AH:CpG) demonstrated the highest enhancement of anti-RBD neutralizing Ab titers in both age groups (∼80-fold over AH), and protected aged mice from the SARS-CoV-2 challenge. Notably, AH:CpG-adjuvanted RBD vaccine elicited neutralizing Abs against both wild-type SARS-CoV-2 and B.1.351 variant at serum concentrations comparable to those induced by the authorized mRNA BNT162b2 vaccine. AH:CpG induced similar cytokine and chemokine gene enrichment patterns in the draining lymph nodes of both young adult and aged mice and synergistically enhanced cytokine and chemokine production in human young adult and elderly mononuclear cells. These data support further development of AH:CpG-adjuvanted RBD as an affordable vaccine that may be effective across multiple age groups.

One Sentence Summary: Alum and CpG enhance SARS-CoV-2 RBD protective immunity, variant neutralization in aged mice and Th1-polarizing cytokine production by human elder leukocytes.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1101/2021.05.20.444848DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC8142652PMC
May 2021

Immunogenicity of COVID-19 mRNA Vaccines in Pregnant and Lactating Women.

JAMA 2021 06;325(23):2370-2380

Harvard Medical School, Boston, Massachusetts.

Importance: Pregnant women are at increased risk of morbidity and mortality from COVID-19 but have been excluded from the phase 3 COVID-19 vaccine trials. Data on vaccine safety and immunogenicity in these populations are therefore limited.

Objective: To evaluate the immunogenicity of COVID-19 messenger RNA (mRNA) vaccines in pregnant and lactating women, including against emerging SARS-CoV-2 variants of concern.

Design, Setting, And Participants: An exploratory, descriptive, prospective cohort study enrolled 103 women who received a COVID-19 vaccine from December 2020 through March 2021 and 28 women who had confirmed SARS-CoV-2 infection from April 2020 through March 2021 (the last follow-up date was March 26, 2021). This study enrolled 30 pregnant, 16 lactating, and 57 neither pregnant nor lactating women who received either the mRNA-1273 (Moderna) or BNT162b2 (Pfizer-BioNTech) COVID-19 vaccines and 22 pregnant and 6 nonpregnant unvaccinated women with SARS-CoV-2 infection.

Main Outcomes And Measures: SARS-CoV-2 receptor binding domain binding, neutralizing, and functional nonneutralizing antibody responses from pregnant, lactating, and nonpregnant women were assessed following vaccination. Spike-specific T-cell responses were evaluated using IFN-γ enzyme-linked immunospot and multiparameter intracellular cytokine-staining assays. Humoral and cellular immune responses were determined against the original SARS-CoV-2 USA-WA1/2020 strain as well as against the B.1.1.7 and B.1.351 variants.

Results: This study enrolled 103 women aged 18 to 45 years (66% non-Hispanic White) who received a COVID-19 mRNA vaccine. After the second vaccine dose, fever was reported in 4 pregnant women (14%; SD, 6%), 7 lactating women (44%; SD, 12%), and 27 nonpregnant women (52%; SD, 7%). Binding, neutralizing, and functional nonneutralizing antibody responses as well as CD4 and CD8 T-cell responses were present in pregnant, lactating, and nonpregnant women following vaccination. Binding and neutralizing antibodies were also observed in infant cord blood and breast milk. Binding and neutralizing antibody titers against the SARS-CoV-2 B.1.1.7 and B.1.351 variants of concern were reduced, but T-cell responses were preserved against viral variants.

Conclusion And Relevance: In this exploratory analysis of a convenience sample, receipt of a COVID-19 mRNA vaccine was immunogenic in pregnant women, and vaccine-elicited antibodies were transported to infant cord blood and breast milk. Pregnant and nonpregnant women who were vaccinated developed cross-reactive antibody responses and T-cell responses against SARS-CoV-2 variants of concern.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1001/jama.2021.7563DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC8120446PMC
June 2021

Correlates of Neutralization against SARS-CoV-2 Variants of Concern by Early Pandemic Sera.

J Virol 2021 06 24;95(14):e0040421. Epub 2021 Jun 24.

Center for Virology and Vaccine Research, Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center, Harvard Medical School, Boston, Massachusetts, USA.

Emerging SARS-CoV-2 variants of concern that overcome natural and vaccine-induced immunity threaten to exacerbate the COVID-19 pandemic. Increasing evidence suggests that neutralizing antibody (NAb) responses are a primary mechanism of protection against infection. However, little is known about the extent and mechanisms by which natural immunity acquired during the early COVID-19 pandemic confers cross-neutralization of emerging variants. In this study, we investigated cross-neutralization of the B.1.1.7 and B.1.351 SARS-CoV-2 variants in a well-characterized cohort of early pandemic convalescent subjects. We observed modestly decreased cross-neutralization of B.1.1.7 but a substantial 4.8-fold reduction in cross-neutralization of B.1.351. Correlates of cross-neutralization included receptor binding domain (RBD) and N-terminal domain (NTD) binding antibodies, homologous NAb titers, and membrane-directed T cell responses. These data shed light on the cross-neutralization of emerging variants by early pandemic convalescent immune responses. Widespread immunity to SARS-CoV-2 will be necessary to end the COVID-19 pandemic. NAb responses are a critical component of immunity that can be stimulated by natural infection as well as vaccines. However, SARS-CoV-2 variants are emerging that contain mutations in the spike gene that promote evasion from NAb responses. These variants may therefore delay control of the COVID-19 pandemic. We studied whether NAb responses from early COVID-19 convalescent patients are effective against the two SARS-CoV-2 variants, B.1.1.7 and B.1.351. We observed that the B.1.351 variant demonstrates significantly reduced susceptibility to early pandemic NAb responses. We additionally characterized virological, immunological, and clinical features that correlate with cross-neutralization. These studies increase our understanding of emerging SARS-CoV-2 variants.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1128/JVI.00404-21DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC8223959PMC
June 2021

Deletion of the SARS-CoV-2 Spike Cytoplasmic Tail Increases Infectivity in Pseudovirus Neutralization Assays.

J Virol 2021 Mar 16. Epub 2021 Mar 16.

Center for Virology and Vaccine Research, Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center, Harvard Medical School, Boston, MA 02215, USA

Pseudotyped viruses are valuable tools for studying virulent or lethal viral pathogens that need to be handled in biosafety level 3 (BSL-3) or higher facilities. With the explosive spread of the coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) pandemic, the establishment of a BSL-2 adapted SARS-CoV-2 pseudovirus neutralization assay is needed to facilitate the development of countermeasures. Here we describe an approach to generate a single-round lentiviral vector-based SARS-CoV-2 pseudovirus, which produced a signal more than 2 logs above background. Specifically, a SARS-CoV-2 spike variant with a cytoplasmic tail deletion of 13 amino acids, termed SΔCT13, conferred enhanced spike incorporation into pseudovirions and increased viral entry into cells as compared with full-length spike (S). We further compared S and SΔCT13 in terms of their sensitivity to vaccine sera, purified convalescent IgG, hACE2-mIgG, and the virus entry inhibitor BafA1. We developed a SΔCT13-based pseudovirus neutralization assay and defined key assay characteristics, including linearity, limit of detection, and intra- and intermediate-assay precision. Our data demonstrate that the SΔCT13-based pseudovirus shows enhanced infectivity in target cells, which will facilitate the assessment of humoral immunity to SARS-CoV-2 infection, antibody therapeutics, and vaccination. This pseudovirus neutralization assay can also be readily adapted to SARS-CoV-2 variants that emerge.SARS-CoV-2 is the etiologic agent of the COVID-19 pandemic. The development of a high throughput pseudovirus neutralization assay is critical for the development of vaccines and immune-based therapeutics. In this study, we show that deletion of the cytoplasmic tail of the SARS-CoV-2 spike leads to pseudoviruses with enhanced infectivity. This SΔCT13-based pseudovirus neutralization assay should be broadly useful for the field.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1128/JVI.00044-21DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC8139703PMC
March 2021

Immunogenicity of the Ad26.COV2.S Vaccine for COVID-19.

JAMA 2021 04;325(15):1535-1544

Center for Virology and Vaccine Research, Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center, Boston, Massachusetts.

Importance: Control of the global COVID-19 pandemic will require the development and deployment of safe and effective vaccines.

Objective: To evaluate the immunogenicity of the Ad26.COV2.S vaccine (Janssen/Johnson & Johnson) in humans, including the kinetics, magnitude, and phenotype of SARS-CoV-2 spike-specific humoral and cellular immune responses.

Design, Setting, And Participants: Twenty-five participants were enrolled from July 29, 2020, to August 7, 2020, and the follow-up for this day 71 interim analysis was completed on October 3, 2020; follow-up to assess durability will continue for 2 years. This study was conducted at a single clinical site in Boston, Massachusetts, as part of a randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled phase 1 clinical trial of Ad26.COV2.S.

Interventions: Participants were randomized to receive 1 or 2 intramuscular injections with 5 × 1010 viral particles or 1 × 1011 viral particles of Ad26.COV2.S vaccine or placebo administered on day 1 and day 57 (5 participants in each group).

Main Outcomes And Measures: Humoral immune responses included binding and neutralizing antibody responses at multiple time points following immunization. Cellular immune responses included immunospot-based and intracellular cytokine staining assays to measure T-cell responses.

Results: Twenty-five participants were randomized (median age, 42; age range, 22-52; 52% women, 44% male, 4% undifferentiated), and all completed the trial through the day 71 interim end point. Binding and neutralizing antibodies emerged rapidly by day 8 after initial immunization in 90% and 25% of vaccine recipients, respectively. By day 57, binding and neutralizing antibodies were detected in 100% of vaccine recipients after a single immunization. On day 71, the geometric mean titers of spike-specific binding antibodies were 2432 to 5729 and the geometric mean titers of neutralizing antibodies were 242 to 449 in the vaccinated groups. A variety of antibody subclasses, Fc receptor binding properties, and antiviral functions were induced. CD4+ and CD8+ T-cell responses were induced.

Conclusion And Relevance: In this phase 1 study, a single immunization with Ad26.COV2.S induced rapid binding and neutralization antibody responses as well as cellular immune responses. Two phase 3 clinical trials are currently underway to determine the efficacy of the Ad26.COV2.S vaccine.

Trial Registration: ClinicalTrials.gov Identifier: NCT04436276.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1001/jama.2021.3645DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7953339PMC
April 2021

Coronavirus-Specific Antibody Cross Reactivity in Rhesus Macaques Following SARS-CoV-2 Vaccination and Infection.

J Virol 2021 Mar 10. Epub 2021 Mar 10.

Center for Virology and Vaccine Research, Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center, Boston, Massachusetts, USA

Vaccines are being rapidly developed with the goal of ending the SARS-CoV-2 pandemic. However, the extent to which SARS-CoV-2 vaccination induces serum responses that cross-react with other coronaviruses remains poorly studied. Here we define serum profiles in rhesus macaques after vaccination with DNA or Ad26 based vaccines expressing SARS-CoV-2 Spike protein followed by SARS-CoV-2 challenge, or SARS-CoV-2 infection alone. Analysis of serum responses showed robust reactivity to the SARS-CoV-2 full-length Spike protein and receptor binding domain (RBD), both included in the vaccine. However, serum cross-reactivity to the closely related sarbecovirus SARS-CoV-1 Spike and RBD, was reduced. Reactivity was also measured to the distantly related common cold alpha-coronavirus, 229E and NL63, and beta-coronavirus, OC43 and HKU1, Spike proteins. Using SARS-COV-2 and SARS-CoV-1 lentivirus based pseudoviruses, we show that neutralizing antibody responses were predominantly SARS-CoV-2 specific. These data define patterns of cross-reactive binding and neutralizing serum responses induced by SARS-CoV-2 infection and vaccination in rhesus macaques. Our observations have important implications for understanding polyclonal responses to SARS-CoV-2 Spike, which will facilitate future CoV vaccine assessment and development.The rapid development and deployment of SARS-CoV-2 vaccines has been unprecedented. In this study, we explore the cross-reactivity of SARS-CoV-2 specific antibody responses to other coronaviruses. By analyzing responses from NHPs both before and after immunization with DNA or Ad26 vectored vaccines, we find patterns of cross reactivity that mirror those induced by SARS-CoV-2 infection. These data highlight the similarities between infection and vaccine induced humoral immunity for SARS-CoV-2 and cross-reactivity of these responses to other CoVs.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1128/JVI.00117-21DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC8139699PMC
March 2021

Engineered SARS-CoV-2 receptor binding domain improves immunogenicity in mice and elicits protective immunity in hamsters.

bioRxiv 2021 Mar 4. Epub 2021 Mar 4.

The Koch Institute for Integrative Cancer Research, Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Cambridge, Massachusetts 02139, USA.

Global containment of COVID-19 still requires accessible and affordable vaccines for low- and middle-income countries (LMICs). Recently approved vaccines provide needed interventions, albeit at prices that may limit their global access. Subunit vaccines based on recombinant proteins are suited for large-volume microbial manufacturing to yield billions of doses annually, minimizing their manufacturing costs. These types of vaccines are well-established, proven interventions with multiple safe and efficacious commercial examples. Many vaccine candidates of this type for SARS-CoV-2 rely on sequences containing the receptor-binding domain (RBD), which mediates viral entry to cells via ACE2. Here we report an engineered sequence variant of RBD that exhibits high-yield manufacturability, high-affinity binding to ACE2, and enhanced immunogenicity after a single dose in mice compared to the Wuhan-Hu-1 variant used in current vaccines. Antibodies raised against the engineered protein exhibited heterotypic binding to the RBD from two recently reported SARS-CoV-2 variants of concern (501Y.V1/V2). Presentation of the engineered RBD on a designed virus-like particle (VLP) also reduced weight loss in hamsters upon viral challenge.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1101/2021.03.03.433558DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7941618PMC
March 2021

Comorbid illnesses are associated with altered adaptive immune responses to SARS-CoV-2.

JCI Insight 2021 03 22;6(6). Epub 2021 Mar 22.

Department of Medicine, University of Washington School of Medicine, Seattle, Washington, USA.

Comorbid medical illnesses, such as obesity and diabetes, are associated with more severe COVID-19, hospitalization, and death. However, the role of the immune system in mediating these clinical outcomes has not been determined. We used multiparameter flow cytometry and systems serology to comprehensively profile the functions of T cells and antibodies targeting spike, nucleocapsid, and envelope proteins in a convalescent cohort of COVID-19 subjects who were either hospitalized (n = 20) or not hospitalized (n = 40). To avoid confounding, subjects were matched by age, sex, ethnicity, and date of symptom onset. Surprisingly, we found that the magnitude and functional breadth of virus-specific CD4+ T cell and antibody responses were consistently higher among hospitalized subjects, particularly those with medical comorbidities. However, an integrated analysis identified more coordination between polyfunctional CD4+ T cells and antibodies targeting the S1 domain of spike among subjects who were not hospitalized. These data reveal a functionally diverse and coordinated response between T cells and antibodies targeting SARS-CoV-2, which is reduced in the presence of comorbid illnesses that are known risk factors for severe COVID-19.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1172/jci.insight.146242DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC8026190PMC
March 2021

Discrete SARS-CoV-2 antibody titers track with functional humoral stability.

Nat Commun 2021 02 15;12(1):1018. Epub 2021 Feb 15.

Ragon Institute of MGH, MIT and Harvard, Cambridge, MA, USA.

Antibodies serve as biomarkers of infection, but if sustained can confer long-term immunity. Yet, for most clinically approved vaccines, binding antibody titers only serve as a surrogate of protection. Instead, the ability of vaccine induced antibodies to neutralize or mediate Fc-effector functions is mechanistically linked to protection. While evidence has begun to point to persisting antibody responses among SARS-CoV-2 infected individuals, cases of re-infection have begun to emerge, calling the protective nature of humoral immunity against this highly infectious pathogen into question. Using a community-based surveillance study, we aimed to define the relationship between titers and functional antibody activity to SARS-CoV-2 over time. Here we report significant heterogeneity, but limited decay, across antibody titers amongst 120 identified seroconverters, most of whom had asymptomatic infection. Notably, neutralization, Fc-function, and SARS-CoV-2 specific T cell responses were only observed in subjects that elicited RBD-specific antibody titers above a threshold. The findings point to a switch-like relationship between observed antibody titer and function, where a distinct threshold of activity-defined by the level of antibodies-is required to elicit vigorous humoral and cellular response. This response activity level may be essential for durable protection, potentially explaining why re-infections occur with SARS-CoV-2 and other common coronaviruses.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1038/s41467-021-21336-8DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7884400PMC
February 2021

Low-Dose Ad26.COV2.S Protection Against SARS-CoV-2 Challenge in Rhesus Macaques.

bioRxiv 2021 Jan 27. Epub 2021 Jan 27.

We previously reported that a single immunization with an adenovirus serotype 26 (Ad26) vector-based vaccine expressing an optimized SARS-CoV-2 spike (Ad26.COV2.S) protected rhesus macaques against SARS-CoV-2 challenge. In this study, we evaluated the immunogenicity and protective efficacy of reduced doses of Ad26.COV2.S. 30 rhesus macaques were immunized once with 1×10 , 5×10 , 1.125×10 , or 2×10 vp Ad26.COV2.S or sham and were challenged with SARS-CoV-2 by the intranasal and intratracheal routes. Vaccine doses as low as 2×10 vp provided robust protection in bronchoalveolar lavage, whereas doses of 1.125×10 vp were required for protection in nasal swabs. Activated memory B cells as well as binding and neutralizing antibody titers following vaccination correlated with protective efficacy. At suboptimal vaccine doses, viral breakthrough was observed but did not show evidence of virologic, immunologic, histopathologic, or clinical enhancement of disease compared with sham controls. These data demonstrate that a single immunization with a relatively low dose of Ad26.COV2.S effectively protected against SARS-CoV-2 challenge in rhesus macaques. Moreover, our findings show that a higher vaccine dose may be required for protection in the upper respiratory tract compared with the lower respiratory tract.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1101/2021.01.27.428380DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7852276PMC
January 2021

Protective efficacy of an attenuated Mtb ΔLprG vaccine in mice.

PLoS Pathog 2020 12 14;16(12):e1009096. Epub 2020 Dec 14.

Center for Virology and Vaccine Research, Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center, Harvard Medical School, Boston, Massachusetts, United States of America.

Bacille Calmette-Guerin (BCG), an attenuated whole cell vaccine based on Mycobacterium bovis, is the only licensed vaccine against Mycobacterium tuberculosis (Mtb), but its efficacy is suboptimal and it fails to protect against pulmonary tuberculosis. We previously reported that Mtb lacking the virulence genes lprG and rv1410c (ΔLprG) was highly attenuated in immune deficient mice. In this study, we show that attenuated ΔLprG Mtb protects C57BL/6J, Balb/cJ, and C3HeB/FeJ mice against Mtb challenge and is as attenuated as BCG in SCID mice. In C3HeB/FeJ mice, ΔLprG vaccination resulted in innate peripheral cytokine production and induced high polyclonal PPD-specific cytokine-secreting CD4+ T lymphocytes in peripheral blood. The ΔLprG vaccine afforded protective efficacy in the lungs of C3H/FeJ mice following both H37Rv and Erdman aerosolized Mtb challenges. Vaccine efficacy correlated with antigen-specific PD-1-negative CD4+ T lymphocytes as well as with serum IL-17 levels after vaccination. We hypothesize that induction of Th17 cells in lung is critical for vaccine protection, and we show a serum cytokine biomarker for IL-17 shortly after vaccination may predict protective efficacy.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1371/journal.ppat.1009096DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7769599PMC
December 2020

Correlates of protection against SARS-CoV-2 in rhesus macaques.

Nature 2021 02 4;590(7847):630-634. Epub 2020 Dec 4.

Center for Virology and Vaccine Research, Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center, Harvard Medical School, Boston, MA, USA.

Recent studies have reported the protective efficacy of both natural and vaccine-induced immunity against challenge with severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2) in rhesus macaques. However, the importance of humoral and cellular immunity for protection against infection with SARS-CoV-2 remains to be determined. Here we show that the adoptive transfer of purified IgG from convalescent rhesus macaques (Macaca mulatta) protects naive recipient macaques against challenge with SARS-CoV-2 in a dose-dependent fashion. Depletion of CD8 T cells in convalescent macaques partially abrogated the protective efficacy of natural immunity against rechallenge with SARS-CoV-2, which suggests a role for cellular immunity in the context of waning or subprotective antibody titres. These data demonstrate that relatively low antibody titres are sufficient for protection against SARS-CoV-2 in rhesus macaques, and that cellular immune responses may contribute to protection if antibody responses are suboptimal. We also show that higher antibody titres are required for treatment of SARS-CoV-2 infection in macaques. These findings have implications for the development of SARS-CoV-2 vaccines and immune-based therapeutic agents.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1038/s41586-020-03041-6DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7906955PMC
February 2021

T cell and antibody functional correlates of severe COVID-19.

medRxiv 2020 Nov 30. Epub 2020 Nov 30.

Department of Medicine, University of Washington School of Medicine, Seattle, WA, USA.

Comorbid medical illnesses, such as obesity and diabetes, are associated with more severe COVID-19, hospitalization, and death. However, the role of the immune system in mediating these clinical outcomes has not been determined. We used multi-parameter flow cytometry and systems serology to comprehensively profile the functions of T cells and antibodies targeting spike, nucleocapsid, and envelope proteins in a convalescent cohort of COVID-19 subjects who were either hospitalized (n=20) or not hospitalized (n=40). To avoid confounding, subjects were matched by age, sex, ethnicity, and date of symptom onset. Surprisingly, we found that the magnitude and functional breadth of virus-specific CD4 T cell and antibody responses were consistently higher among hospitalized subjects, particularly those with medical comorbidities. However, an integrated analysis identified more coordination between polyfunctional CD4 T-cells and antibodies targeting the S1 domain of spike among subjects that were not hospitalized. These data reveal a functionally diverse and coordinated response between T cells and antibodies targeting SARS-CoV-2 which is reduced in the presence of comorbid illnesses that are known risk factors for severe COVID-19. Our data suggest that isolated measurements of the magnitudes of spike-specific immune responses are likely insufficient to anticipate vaccine efficacy in high-risk populations.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1101/2020.11.25.20235150DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7709190PMC
November 2020

Compromised Humoral Functional Evolution Tracks with SARS-CoV-2 Mortality.

Cell 2020 12 3;183(6):1508-1519.e12. Epub 2020 Nov 3.

Ragon Institute of MGH, MIT, and Harvard, Cambridge, MA, USA. Electronic address:

The urgent need for an effective SARS-CoV-2 vaccine has forced development to progress in the absence of well-defined correlates of immunity. While neutralization has been linked to protection against other pathogens, whether neutralization alone will be sufficient to drive protection against SARS-CoV-2 in the broader population remains unclear. Therefore, to fully define protective humoral immunity, we dissected the early evolution of the humoral response in 193 hospitalized individuals ranging from moderate to severe. Although robust IgM and IgA responses evolved in both survivors and non-survivors with severe disease, non-survivors showed attenuated IgG responses, accompanied by compromised Fcɣ receptor binding and Fc effector activity, pointing to deficient humoral development rather than disease-enhancing humoral immunity. In contrast, individuals with moderate disease exhibited delayed responses that ultimately matured. These data highlight distinct humoral trajectories associated with resolution of SARS-CoV-2 infection and the need for early functional humoral immunity.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.cell.2020.10.052DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7608014PMC
December 2020

Epidemiological and immunological features of obesity and SARS-CoV-2.

medRxiv 2020 Dec 11. Epub 2020 Dec 11.

Massachusetts Consortium on Pathogen Readiness, Boston, MA.

Obesity is a key correlate of severe SARS-CoV-2 outcomes while the role of obesity on risk of SARS-CoV-2 infection, symptom phenotype, and immune response are poorly defined. We examined data from a prospective SARS-CoV-2 cohort study to address these questions. Serostatus, body mass index, demographics, comorbidities, and prior COVID-19 compatible symptoms were assessed at baseline and serostatus and symptoms monthly thereafter. SARS-CoV-2 immunoassays included an IgG ELISA targeting the spike RBD, multiarray Luminex targeting 20 viral antigens, pseudovirus neutralization, and T cell ELISPOT assays. Our results from a large prospective SARS-CoV-2 cohort study indicate symptom phenotype is strongly influenced by obesity among younger but not older age groups; we did not identify evidence to suggest obese individuals are at higher risk of SARS-CoV-2 infection; and, remarkably homogenous immune activity across BMI categories suggests natural- and vaccine-induced protection may be similar across these groups.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1101/2020.11.11.20229724DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7668749PMC
December 2020

Persistence and decay of human antibody responses to the receptor binding domain of SARS-CoV-2 spike protein in COVID-19 patients.

Sci Immunol 2020 10;5(52)

Ragon Institute of MGH, MIT, and Harvard, Cambridge, MA, USA.

We measured plasma and/or serum antibody responses to the receptor-binding domain (RBD) of the spike (S) protein of SARS-CoV-2 in 343 North American patients infected with SARS-CoV-2 (of which 93% required hospitalization) up to 122 days after symptom onset and compared them to responses in 1548 individuals whose blood samples were obtained prior to the pandemic. After setting seropositivity thresholds for perfect specificity (100%), we estimated sensitivities of 95% for IgG, 90% for IgA, and 81% for IgM for detecting infected individuals between 15 and 28 days after symptom onset. While the median time to seroconversion was nearly 12 days across all three isotypes tested, IgA and IgM antibodies against RBD were short-lived with median times to seroreversion of 71 and 49 days after symptom onset. In contrast, anti-RBD IgG responses decayed slowly through 90 days with only 3 seropositive individuals seroreverting within this time period. IgG antibodies to SARS-CoV-2 RBD were strongly correlated with anti-S neutralizing antibody titers, which demonstrated little to no decrease over 75 days since symptom onset. We observed no cross-reactivity of the SARS-CoV-2 RBD-targeted antibodies with other widely circulating coronaviruses (HKU1, 229 E, OC43, NL63). These data suggest that RBD-targeted antibodies are excellent markers of previous and recent infection, that differential isotype measurements can help distinguish between recent and older infections, and that IgG responses persist over the first few months after infection and are highly correlated with neutralizing antibodies.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1126/sciimmunol.abe0367DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7857394PMC
October 2020

Ad26 vaccine protects against SARS-CoV-2 severe clinical disease in hamsters.

Nat Med 2020 11 3;26(11):1694-1700. Epub 2020 Sep 3.

Center for Virology and Vaccine Research, Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center, Harvard Medical School, Boston, MA, USA.

Coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) in humans is often a clinically mild illness, but some individuals develop severe pneumonia, respiratory failure and death. Studies of severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2) infection in hamsters and nonhuman primates have generally reported mild clinical disease, and preclinical SARS-CoV-2 vaccine studies have demonstrated reduction of viral replication in the upper and lower respiratory tracts in nonhuman primates. Here we show that high-dose intranasal SARS-CoV-2 infection in hamsters results in severe clinical disease, including high levels of virus replication in tissues, extensive pneumonia, weight loss and mortality in a subset of animals. A single immunization with an adenovirus serotype 26 vector-based vaccine expressing a stabilized SARS-CoV-2 spike protein elicited binding and neutralizing antibody responses and protected against SARS-CoV-2-induced weight loss, pneumonia and mortality. These data demonstrate vaccine protection against SARS-CoV-2 clinical disease. This model should prove useful for preclinical studies of SARS-CoV-2 vaccines, therapeutics and pathogenesis.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1038/s41591-020-1070-6DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7671939PMC
November 2020

Approaches and Challenges in SARS-CoV-2 Vaccine Development.

Cell Host Microbe 2020 09 10;28(3):364-370. Epub 2020 Aug 10.

Center for Virology and Vaccine Research, Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center, Boston, MA 02215, USA; Harvard Medical School, Boston, MA 02115, USA; Ragon Institute of MGH, MIT, and Harvard, Cambridge, MA 02139, USA; Massachusetts Consortium on Pathogen Readiness, Boston, MA 02215, USA. Electronic address:

The explosive spread of SARS-CoV-2 suggests that a vaccine will be required to end this global pandemic. Progress in SARS-CoV-2 vaccine development to date has been faster than for any other pathogen in history. Multiple SARS-CoV-2 vaccine candidates have been evaluated in preclinical models and are currently in clinical trials. In this Perspective, we discuss three topics that are critical for SARS-CoV-2 vaccine development: antigen selection and engineering, preclinical challenge studies in non-human primate models, and immune correlates of protection.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.chom.2020.08.002DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7416703PMC
September 2020

Distinct Early Serological Signatures Track with SARS-CoV-2 Survival.

Immunity 2020 09 30;53(3):524-532.e4. Epub 2020 Jul 30.

Ragon Institute of MGH, MIT, and Harvard, Cambridge, MA, USA. Electronic address:

As SARS-CoV-2 infections and death counts continue to rise, it remains unclear why some individuals recover from infection, whereas others rapidly progress and die. Although the immunological mechanisms that underlie different clinical trajectories remain poorly defined, pathogen-specific antibodies often point to immunological mechanisms of protection. Here, we profiled SARS-CoV-2-specific humoral responses in a cohort of 22 hospitalized individuals. Despite inter-individual heterogeneity, distinct antibody signatures resolved individuals with different outcomes. Although no differences in SARS-CoV-2-specific IgG levels were observed, spike-specific humoral responses were enriched among convalescent individuals, whereas functional antibody responses to the nucleocapsid were elevated in deceased individuals. Furthermore, this enriched immunodominant spike-specific antibody profile in convalescents was confirmed in a larger validation cohort. These results demonstrate that early antigen-specific and qualitative features of SARS-CoV-2-specific antibodies point to differences in disease trajectory, highlighting the potential importance of functional antigen-specific humoral immunity to guide patient care and vaccine development.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.immuni.2020.07.020DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7392190PMC
September 2020
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