Publications by authors named "Kristen W Cohen"

29 Publications

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Longitudinal analysis shows durable and broad immune memory after SARS-CoV-2 infection with persisting antibody responses and memory B and T cells.

Cell Rep Med 2021 Jul 3;2(7):100354. Epub 2021 Jul 3.

Emory Vaccine Center, Emory University, Atlanta, GA 30322, USA.

Ending the COVID-19 pandemic will require long-lived immunity to SARS-CoV-2. Here, we evaluate 254 COVID-19 patients longitudinally up to 8 months and find durable broad-based immune responses. SARS-CoV-2 spike binding and neutralizing antibodies exhibit a bi-phasic decay with an extended half-life of >200 days suggesting the generation of longer-lived plasma cells. SARS-CoV-2 infection also boosts antibody titers to SARS-CoV-1 and common betacoronaviruses. In addition, spike-specific IgG+ memory B cells persist, which bodes well for a rapid antibody response upon virus re-exposure or vaccination. Virus-specific CD4+ and CD8+ T cells are polyfunctional and maintained with an estimated half-life of 200 days. Interestingly, CD4+ T cell responses equally target several SARS-CoV-2 proteins, whereas the CD8+ T cell responses preferentially target the nucleoprotein, highlighting the potential importance of including the nucleoprotein in future vaccines. Taken together, these results suggest that broad and effective immunity may persist long-term in recovered COVID-19 patients.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.xcrm.2021.100354DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC8253687PMC
July 2021

Isolation and characterization of cross-neutralizing coronavirus antibodies from COVID-19+ subjects.

Cell Rep 2021 07 22;36(2):109353. Epub 2021 Jun 22.

Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center, Vaccines and Infectious Disease Division, Seattle, WA 98109, USA; University of Washington, Department of Global Health, Seattle, WA 98109, USA. Electronic address:

SARS-CoV-2 is one of three coronaviruses that have crossed the animal-to-human barrier and caused widespread disease in the past two decades. The development of a universal human coronavirus vaccine could prevent future pandemics. We characterize 198 antibodies isolated from four COVID-19+ subjects and identify 14 SARS-CoV-2 neutralizing antibodies. One targets the N-terminal domain (NTD), one recognizes an epitope in S2, and 11 bind the receptor-binding domain (RBD). Three anti-RBD neutralizing antibodies cross-neutralize SARS-CoV-1 by effectively blocking binding of both the SARS-CoV-1 and SARS-CoV-2 RBDs to the ACE2 receptor. Using the K18-hACE transgenic mouse model, we demonstrate that the neutralization potency and antibody epitope specificity regulates the in vivo protective potential of anti-SARS-CoV-2 antibodies. All four cross-neutralizing antibodies neutralize the B.1.351 mutant strain. Thus, our study reveals that epitopes in S2 can serve as blueprints for the design of immunogens capable of eliciting cross-neutralizing coronavirus antibodies.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.celrep.2021.109353DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC8216847PMC
July 2021

Longitudinal immune dynamics of mild COVID-19 define signatures of recovery and persistence.

bioRxiv 2021 Jun 11. Epub 2021 Jun 11.

SARS-CoV-2 has infected over 160 million and caused more than 3 million deaths to date. Most individuals (>80%) have mild symptoms and recover in the outpatient setting, but detailed studies of immune responses have focused primarily on moderate to severe COVID-19. We deeply profiled the longitudinal immune response in individuals with mild COVID beginning with early time points post-infection (1-15 days) and proceeding through convalescence to >100 days after symptom onset. We correlated data from single cell analyses of peripheral blood cells, serum proteomics, virus-specific cellular and humoral immune responses, and clinical metadata. Acute infection was characterized by vigorous coordinated innate and adaptive activation, including an early cellular and proteomic signature that correlated with the amplitude of virus-specific humoral responses after day 30. We characterized signals associated with recovery and convalescence to define a new signature of inflammatory cytokines, gene expression, and chromatin accessibility that persists in individuals with post-acute sequelae of SARS-CoV-2 infection (PASC).
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1101/2021.05.26.442666DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC8168393PMC
June 2021

PfSPZ-CVac efficacy against malaria increases from 0% to 75% when administered in the absence of erythrocyte stage parasitemia: A randomized, placebo-controlled trial with controlled human malaria infection.

PLoS Pathog 2021 05 28;17(5):e1009594. Epub 2021 May 28.

Kaiser Permanente Washington Health Research Institute, Seattle, Washington, United States of America.

PfSPZ-CVac combines 'PfSPZ Challenge', which consists of infectious Plasmodium falciparum sporozoites (PfSPZ), with concurrent antimalarial chemoprophylaxis. In a previously-published PfSPZ-CVac study, three doses of 5.12x104 PfSPZ-CVac given 28 days apart had 100% vaccine efficacy (VE) against controlled human malaria infection (CHMI) 10 weeks after the last immunization, while the same dose given as three injections five days apart had 63% VE. Here, we conducted a dose escalation trial of similarly condensed schedules. Of the groups proceeding to CHMI, the first study group received three direct venous inoculations (DVIs) of a dose of 5.12x104 PfSPZ-CVac seven days apart and the next full dose group received three DVIs of a higher dose of 1.024x105 PfSPZ-CVac five days apart. CHMI (3.2x103 PfSPZ Challenge) was performed by DVI 10 weeks after the last vaccination. In both CHMI groups, transient parasitemia occurred starting seven days after each vaccination. For the seven-day interval group, the second and third vaccinations were therefore administered coincident with parasitemia from the prior vaccination. Parasitemia was associated with systemic symptoms which were severe in 25% of subjects. VE in the seven-day group was 0% (7/7 infected) and in the higher-dose, five-day group was 75% (2/8 infected). Thus, the same dose of PfSPZ-CVac previously associated with 63% VE when given on a five-day schedule in the prior study had zero VE here when given on a seven-day schedule, while a double dose given on a five-day schedule here achieved 75% VE. The relative contributions of the five-day schedule and/or the higher dose to improved VE warrant further investigation. It is notable that administration of PfSPZ-CVac on a schedule where vaccine administration coincided with blood-stage parasitemia was associated with an absence of sterile protective immunity. Clinical trials registration: NCT02773979.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1371/journal.ppat.1009594DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC8191919PMC
May 2021

Longitudinal analysis shows durable and broad immune memory after SARS-CoV-2 infection with persisting antibody responses and memory B and T cells.

medRxiv 2021 Jun 18. Epub 2021 Jun 18.

Center for Childhood Infections and Vaccines of Children's Healthcare of Atlanta, Emory University Department of Pediatrics Department of Medicine, Atlanta, GA 30322, USA.

Ending the COVID-19 pandemic will require long-lived immunity to SARS-CoV-2. Here, we evaluate 254 COVID-19 patients longitudinally up to eight months and find durable broad-based immune responses. SARS-CoV-2 spike binding and neutralizing antibodies exhibit a bi-phasic decay with an extended half-life of >200 days suggesting the generation of longer-lived plasma cells. SARS-CoV-2 infection also boosts antibody titers to SARS-CoV-1 and common betacoronaviruses. In addition, spike-specific IgG+ memory B cells persist, which bodes well for a rapid antibody response upon virus re-exposure or vaccination. Virus-specific CD4+ and CD8+ T cells are polyfunctional and maintained with an estimated half-life of 200 days. Interestingly, CD4+ T cell responses equally target several SARS-CoV-2 proteins, whereas the CD8+ T cell responses preferentially target the nucleoprotein, highlighting the potential importance of including the nucleoprotein in future vaccines. Taken together, these results suggest that broad and effective immunity may persist long-term in recovered COVID-19 patients.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1101/2021.04.19.21255739DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC8095229PMC
June 2021

Isolation and Characterization of Cross-Neutralizing Coronavirus Antibodies from COVID-19+ Subjects.

bioRxiv 2021 Mar 24. Epub 2021 Mar 24.

SARS-CoV-2 is one of three coronaviruses that have crossed the animal-to-human barrier in the past two decades. The development of a universal human coronavirus vaccine could prevent future pandemics. We characterized 198 antibodies isolated from four COVID19+ subjects and identified 14 SARS-CoV-2 neutralizing antibodies. One targeted the NTD, one recognized an epitope in S2 and twelve bound the RBD. Three anti-RBD neutralizing antibodies cross-neutralized SARS-CoV-1 by effectively blocking binding of both the SARS-CoV-1 and SARS-CoV-2 RBDs to the ACE2 receptor. Using the K18-hACE transgenic mouse model, we demonstrate that the neutralization potency rather than the antibody epitope specificity regulates the protective potential of anti-SARS-CoV-2 antibodies. The anti-S2 antibody also neutralized SARS-CoV-1 and all four cross-neutralizing antibodies neutralized the B.1.351 mutant strain. Thus, our study reveals that epitopes in S2 can serve as blueprints for the design of immunogens capable of eliciting cross-neutralizing coronavirus antibodies.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1101/2021.03.23.436684DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC8010719PMC
March 2021

mRNA vaccination boosts cross-variant neutralizing antibodies elicited by SARS-CoV-2 infection.

Science 2021 Mar 25. Epub 2021 Mar 25.

Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center, Vaccine and Infectious Disease Division, Seattle, WA, USA.

Emerging SARS-CoV-2 variants have raised concerns about resistance to neutralizing antibodies elicited by previous infection or vaccination. We examined whether sera from recovered and naïve donors collected prior to, and following immunizations with existing mRNA vaccines, could neutralize the Wuhan-Hu-1 and B.1.351 variants. Pre-vaccination sera from recovered donors neutralized Wuhan-Hu-1 and sporadically neutralized B.1.351, but a single immunization boosted neutralizing titers against all variants and SARS-CoV-1 by up to 1000-fold. Neutralization was due to antibodies targeting the receptor binding domain and was not boosted by a second immunization. Immunization of naïve donors also elicited cross-neutralizing responses, but at lower titers. Our study highlights the importance of vaccinating both uninfected and previously infected persons to elicit cross-variant neutralizing antibodies.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1126/science.abg9175DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC8139425PMC
March 2021

A single mRNA immunization boosts cross-variant neutralizing antibodies elicited by SARS-CoV-2 infection.

medRxiv 2021 Mar 10. Epub 2021 Mar 10.

Emerging SARS-CoV-2 variants have raised concerns about resistance to neutralizing antibodies elicited by previous infection or vaccination. We examined whether sera from recovered and naïve donors collected prior to, and following immunizations with existing mRNA vaccines, could neutralize the Wuhan-Hu-1 and B.1.351 variants. Pre-vaccination sera from recovered donors neutralized Wuhan-Hu-1 and sporadically neutralized B.1.351, but a single immunization boosted neutralizing titers against all variants and SARS-CoV-1 by up to 1000-fold. Neutralization was due to antibodies targeting the receptor binding domain and was not boosted by a second immunization. Immunization of naïve donors also elicited cross-neutralizing responses, but at lower titers. Our study highlights the importance of vaccinating both uninfected and previously infected persons to elicit cross-variant neutralizing antibodies.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1101/2021.02.05.21251182DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7987032PMC
March 2021

Interim Results of a Phase 1-2a Trial of Ad26.COV2.S Covid-19 Vaccine.

N Engl J Med 2021 05 13;384(19):1824-1835. Epub 2021 Jan 13.

From Janssen Vaccines and Prevention, Leiden, the Netherlands (J. Sadoff, M.L.G., G. Shukarev, A.M.G., J. Stoop, S.T., E.C., G. Scheper, J. Hendriks, M.D., J.V.H., H.S.); Janssen Research and Development, Beerse (D.H., C.T., F.S.), Janssen Clinical Pharmacology Unit, Merksem (W.V.D.), the Center for Vaccinology, Ghent University, Gent (I.L.-R.), SGS Life Sciences (P.-J.B.) and the Center for the Evaluation of Vaccination, University of Antwerp (P.V.D.), Antwerp, and the Center for Clinical Pharmacology, University Hospitals Leuven, Leuven (J. de Hoon) - all in Belgium; Optimal Research, Melbourne, FL (M.K.); the Alliance for Multispecialty Research, Knoxville, TN (W.S.); the Center for Virology and Vaccine Research, Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center, Boston (K.E.S., D.H.B.); and the Vaccine and Infectious Disease Division, Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center, Seattle (S.C.D.R., K.W.C., M.J.M.).

Background: Efficacious vaccines are urgently needed to contain the ongoing coronavirus disease 2019 (Covid-19) pandemic of infection with severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2). A candidate vaccine, Ad26.COV2.S, is a recombinant, replication-incompetent adenovirus serotype 26 (Ad26) vector encoding a full-length and stabilized SARS-CoV-2 spike protein.

Methods: In this multicenter, placebo-controlled, phase 1-2a trial, we randomly assigned healthy adults between the ages of 18 and 55 years (cohort 1) and those 65 years of age or older (cohort 3) to receive the Ad26.COV2.S vaccine at a dose of 5×10 viral particles (low dose) or 1×10 viral particles (high dose) per milliliter or placebo in a single-dose or two-dose schedule. Longer-term data comparing a single-dose regimen with a two-dose regimen are being collected in cohort 2; those results are not reported here. The primary end points were the safety and reactogenicity of each dose schedule.

Results: After the administration of the first vaccine dose in 805 participants in cohorts 1 and 3 and after the second dose in cohort 1, the most frequent solicited adverse events were fatigue, headache, myalgia, and injection-site pain. The most frequent systemic adverse event was fever. Systemic adverse events were less common in cohort 3 than in cohort 1 and in those who received the low vaccine dose than in those who received the high dose. Reactogenicity was lower after the second dose. Neutralizing-antibody titers against wild-type virus were detected in 90% or more of all participants on day 29 after the first vaccine dose (geometric mean titer [GMT], 212 to 354), regardless of vaccine dose or age group, and reached 96% by day 57 with a further increase in titers (GMT, 288 to 488) in cohort 1a. Titers remained stable until at least day 71. A second dose provided an increase in the titer by a factor of 2.6 to 2.9 (GMT, 827 to 1266). Spike-binding antibody responses were similar to neutralizing-antibody responses. On day 15, CD4+ T-cell responses were detected in 76 to 83% of the participants in cohort 1 and in 60 to 67% of those in cohort 3, with a clear skewing toward type 1 helper T cells. CD8+ T-cell responses were robust overall but lower in cohort 3.

Conclusions: The safety and immunogenicity profiles of Ad26.COV2.S support further development of this vaccine candidate. (Funded by Johnson & Johnson and the Biomedical Advanced Research and Development Authority of the Department of Health and Human Services; COV1001 ClinicalTrials.gov number, NCT04436276.).
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1056/NEJMoa2034201DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7821985PMC
May 2021

Generation of a cost-effective cell line for support of high-throughput isolation of primary human B cells and monoclonal neutralizing antibodies.

J Immunol Methods 2021 01 15;488:112901. Epub 2020 Oct 15.

Vaccine and Infectious Disease Division, Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center, Seattle, WA, USA; Department of Global Health, University of Washington, Seattle, WA, USA; Deparment of Laboratory Medicine and Pahthology, University of Washington, Seattle, WA, USA. Electronic address:

The isolation of human monoclonal antibodies (mAbs) arising from natural infection with human pathogens has proven to be a powerful technology, facilitating the understanding of the host response to infection at a molecular level. mAbs can reveal sites of vulnerability on pathogens and illuminate the biological function of the antigenic targets. Moreover, mAbs have the potential to be used directly for therapeutic applications such as passive delivery to prevent infection in susceptible target populations, and as treatment of established infection. The isolation of antigen-specific B cells from vaccine trials can also assist in deciphering whether the desired B cells are being targeted by a given vaccine. Several different processes have been developed to isolate mAbs, but all are generally labor-intensive and result in varying degrees of efficiency. Here, we describe the development of a cost-effective feeder cell line that stably expresses CD40-ligand, interleukin-2 and interleukin-21. Sorting of single B cells onto a layer of irradiated feeder cells sustained antibody production that permits functional screening of secreted antibodies in a manner that enables subsequent recovery of B cells for recombinant antibody cloning. As a proof of concept, we show that this approach can be used to isolate B cells that secrete antibodies that neutralize human papilloma virus (HPV) from participants of an HPV vaccine study.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.jim.2020.112901DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7560121PMC
January 2021

Analysis of a SARS-CoV-2-Infected Individual Reveals Development of Potent Neutralizing Antibodies with Limited Somatic Mutation.

Immunity 2020 07 8;53(1):98-105.e5. Epub 2020 Jun 8.

Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center, Vaccines and Infectious Disease Division, Seattle, WA, USA; University of Washington, Department of Global Health, Seattle, WA, USA. Electronic address:

Antibody responses develop following SARS-CoV-2 infection, but little is known about their epitope specificities, clonality, binding affinities, epitopes, and neutralizing activity. We isolated B cells specific for the SARS-CoV-2 envelope glycoprotein spike (S) from a COVID-19-infected subject 21 days after the onset of clinical disease. 45 S-specific monoclonal antibodies were generated. They had undergone minimal somatic mutation with limited clonal expansion, and three bound the receptor-binding domain (RBD). Two antibodies neutralized SARS-CoV-2. The most potent antibody bound the RBD and prevented binding to the ACE2 receptor, while the other bound outside the RBD. Thus, most anti-S antibodies that were generated in this patient during the first weeks of COVID-19 infection were non-neutralizing and target epitopes outside the RBD. Antibodies that disrupt the SARS-CoV-2 S-ACE2 interaction can potently neutralize the virus without undergoing extensive maturation. Such antibodies have potential preventive and/or therapeutic potential and can serve as templates for vaccine design.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.immuni.2020.06.001DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7276322PMC
July 2020

Characterization of neutralizing antibodies from a SARS-CoV-2 infected individual.

bioRxiv 2020 May 12. Epub 2020 May 12.

Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center, Vaccines and Infectious Diseases Division, Seattle, WA, USA.

B cells specific for the SARS-CoV-2 S envelope glycoprotein spike were isolated from a COVID-19-infected subject using a stabilized spike-derived ectodomain (S2P) twenty-one days post-infection. Forty-four S2P-specific monoclonal antibodies were generated, three of which bound to the receptor binding domain (RBD). The antibodies were minimally mutated from germline and were derived from different B cell lineages. Only two antibodies displayed neutralizing activity against SARS-CoV-2 pseudo-virus. The most potent antibody bound the RBD in a manner that prevented binding to the ACE2 receptor, while the other bound outside the RBD. Our study indicates that the majority of antibodies against the viral envelope spike that were generated during the first weeks of COVID-19 infection are non-neutralizing and target epitopes outside the RBD. Antibodies that disrupt the SARS-CoV-2 spike-ACE2 interaction can potently neutralize the virus without undergoing extensive maturation. Such antibodies have potential preventive/therapeutic potential and can serve as templates for vaccine-design.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1101/2020.05.12.091298DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7241105PMC
May 2020

Antibody and cellular responses to HIV vaccine regimens with DNA plasmid as compared with ALVAC priming: An analysis of two randomized controlled trials.

PLoS Med 2020 05 22;17(5):e1003117. Epub 2020 May 22.

South African Medical Research Council, Cape Town, South Africa.

Background: DNA plasmids promise a pragmatic alternative to viral vectors for prime-boost HIV-1 vaccines. We evaluated DNA plasmid versus canarypox virus (ALVAC) primes in 2 randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled trials in southern Africa with harmonized trial designs. HIV Vaccine Trials Network (HVTN) 111 tested DNA plasmid prime by needle or needleless injection device (Biojector) and DNA plasmid plus gp120 protein plus MF59 adjuvant boost. HVTN 100 tested ALVAC prime and ALVAC plus gp120 protein plus MF59 adjuvant boost (same protein/adjuvant as HVTN 111) by needle.

Methods And Findings: The primary endpoints for this analysis were binding antibody (bAb) responses to HIV antigens (gp120 from strains ZM96, 1086, and TV1; variable 1 and 2 [V1V2] regions of gp120 from strains TV1, 1086, and B.CaseA, as 1086 V1V2 and B.CaseA were correlates of risk in the RV144 efficacy trial), neutralizing antibody (nAb) responses to pseudoviruses TV1c8.2 and MW925.26, and cellular responses to vaccine-matched antigens (envelope [Env] from strains ZM96, 1086, and TV1; and Gag from strains LAI and ZM96) at month 6.5, two weeks after the fourth vaccination. Per-protocol cohorts included vaccine recipients from HVTN 100 (n = 186, 60% male, median age 23 years) enrolled between February 9, 2015, and May 26, 2015 and from HVTN 111 (n = 56, 48% male, median age 24 years) enrolled between June 21, 2016, and July 13, 2017. IgG bAb response rates were 100% to 3 Env gp120 antigens in both trials. Response rates to V1V2 were lower and similar in both trials except to vaccine-matched 1086 V1V2, with rates significantly higher for the DNA-primed regimen than the ALVAC-primed regimen: 96.6% versus 72.7% (difference = 23.9%, 95% CI 15.6%-32.2%, p < 0.001). Among positive responders, bAb net mean fluorescence intensity (MFI) was significantly higher with the DNA-primed regimen than ALVAC-primed for 1086 V1V2 (geometric mean [GM] 2,833.3 versus 1,200.9; ratio = 2.36, 95% CI 1.42-3.92, p < 0.001) and B.CaseA V1V2 (GM 2314.0 versus 744.6, ratio = 3.11, 95% CI 1.51-6.38, p = 0.002). nAb response rates were >98% in both trials, with significantly higher 50% inhibitory dilution (ID50) among DNA-primed positive responders (n = 53) versus ALVAC-primed (n = 182) to tier 1A MW965.26 (GM 577.7 versus 265.7, ratio = 2.17, 95% CI 1.67-2.83, p < 0.001) and to TV1c8.2 (GM 187.3 versus 100.4, ratio = 1.87, 95% CI 1.48-2.35, p < 0.001). CD4+ T-cell response rates were significantly higher with DNA plasmid prime via Biojector than ALVAC prime (91.4% versus 52.8%, difference = 38.6%, 95% CI 20.5%-56.6%, p < 0.001 for ZM96.C; 88.0% versus 43.1%, difference = 44.9%, 95% CI 26.7%-63.1%, p < 0.001 for 1086.C; 55.5% versus 2.2%, difference = 53.3%, 95% CI 23.9%-82.7%, p < 0.001 for Gag LAI/ZM96). The study's main limitations include the nonrandomized comparison of vaccines from 2 different trials, the lack of data on immune responses to other non-vaccine-matched antigens, and the uncertain clinical significance of the observed immunological effects.

Conclusions: In this study, we found that further investigation of DNA/protein regimens is warranted given enhanced immunogenicity to the V1V2 correlates of decreased HIV-1 acquisition risk identified in RV144, the only HIV vaccine trial to date to show any efficacy.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1371/journal.pmed.1003117DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7244095PMC
May 2020

Safety and immune responses after a 12-month booster in healthy HIV-uninfected adults in HVTN 100 in South Africa: A randomized double-blind placebo-controlled trial of ALVAC-HIV (vCP2438) and bivalent subtype C gp120/MF59 vaccines.

PLoS Med 2020 02 24;17(2):e1003038. Epub 2020 Feb 24.

Vaccine and Infectious Disease Division, Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center, Seattle, Washington, United States of America.

Background: HVTN 100 evaluated the safety and immunogenicity of an HIV subtype C pox-protein vaccine regimen, investigating a 12-month booster to extend vaccine-induced immune responses.

Methods And Findings: A phase 1-2 randomized double-blind placebo-controlled trial enrolled 252 participants (210 vaccine/42 placebo; median age 23 years; 43% female) between 9 February 2015 and 26 May 2015. Vaccine recipients received ALVAC-HIV (vCP2438) alone at months 0 and 1 and with bivalent subtype C gp120/MF59 at months 3, 6, and 12. Antibody (IgG, IgG3 binding, and neutralizing) and CD4+ T-cell (expressing interferon-gamma, interleukin-2, and CD40 ligand) responses were evaluated at month 6.5 for all participants and at months 12, 12.5, and 18 for a randomly selected subset. The primary analysis compared IgG binding antibody (bAb) responses and CD4+ T-cell responses to 3 vaccine-matched antigens at peak (month 6.5 versus 12.5) and durability (month 12 versus 18) timepoints; IgG responses to CaseA2_gp70_V1V2.B, a primary correlate of risk in RV144, were also compared at these same timepoints. Secondary and exploratory analyses compared IgG3 bAb responses, IgG bAb breadth scores, neutralizing antibody (nAb) responses, antibody-dependent cellular phagocytosis, CD4+ polyfunctionality responses, and CD4+ memory sub-population responses at the same timepoints. Vaccines were generally safe and well tolerated. During the study, there were 2 deaths (both in the vaccine group and both unrelated to study products). Ten participants became HIV-infected during the trial, 7% (3/42) of placebo recipients and 3% (7/210) of vaccine recipients. All 8 serious adverse events were unrelated to study products. Less waning of immune responses was seen after the fifth vaccination than after the fourth, with higher antibody and cellular response rates at month 18 than at month 12: IgG bAb response rates to 1086.C V1V2, 21.0% versus 9.7% (difference = 11.3%, 95% CI = 0.6%-22.0%, P = 0.039), and ZM96.C V1V2, 21.0% versus 6.5% (difference = 14.5%, 95% CI = 4.1%-24.9%, P = 0.004). IgG bAb response rates to all 4 primary V1V2 antigens were higher 2 weeks after the fifth vaccination than 2 weeks after the fourth vaccination: 87.7% versus 75.4% (difference = 12.3%, 95% CI = 1.7%-22.9%, P = 0.022) for 1086.C V1V2, 86.0% versus 63.2% (difference = 22.8%, 95% CI = 9.1%-36.5%, P = 0.001) for TV1c8.2.C V1V2, 67.7% versus 44.6% (difference = 23.1%, 95% CI = 10.4%-35.7%, P < 0.001) for ZM96.C V1V2, and 81.5% versus 60.0% (difference = 21.5%, 95% CI = 7.6%-35.5%, P = 0.002) for CaseA2_gp70_V1V2.B. IgG bAb response rates to the 3 primary vaccine-matched gp120 antigens were all above 90% at both peak timepoints, with no significant differences seen, except a higher response rate to ZM96.C gp120 at month 18 versus month 12: 64.5% versus 1.6% (difference = 62.9%, 95% CI = 49.3%-76.5%, P < 0.001). CD4+ T-cell response rates were higher at month 18 than month 12 for all 3 primary vaccine-matched antigens: 47.3% versus 29.1% (difference = 18.2%, 95% CI = 2.9%-33.4%, P = 0.021) for 1086.C, 61.8% versus 38.2% (difference = 23.6%, 95% CI = 9.5%-37.8%, P = 0.001) for TV1.C, and 63.6% versus 41.8% (difference = 21.8%, 95% CI = 5.1%-38.5%, P = 0.007) for ZM96.C, with no significant differences seen at the peak timepoints. Limitations were that higher doses of gp120 were not evaluated, this study was not designed to investigate HIV prevention efficacy, and the clinical significance of the observed immunological effects is uncertain.

Conclusions: In this study, a 12-month booster of subtype C pox-protein vaccines restored immune responses, and slowed response decay compared to the 6-month vaccination.

Trial Registration: ClinicalTrials.gov NCT02404311. South African National Clinical Trials Registry (SANCTR number: DOH--27-0215-4796).
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1371/journal.pmed.1003038DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7039414PMC
February 2020

Landscapes of binding antibody and T-cell responses to pox-protein HIV vaccines in Thais and South Africans.

PLoS One 2020 30;15(1):e0226803. Epub 2020 Jan 30.

Division of Public Health Sciences, Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center, Seattle, Washington, United States of America.

Background: HIV vaccine trials routinely measure multiple vaccine-elicited immune responses to compare regimens and study their potential associations with protection. Here we employ unsupervised learning tools facilitated by a bidirectional power transformation to explore the multivariate binding antibody and T-cell response patterns of immune responses elicited by two pox-protein HIV vaccine regimens. Both regimens utilized a recombinant canarypox vector (ALVAC-HIV) prime and a bivalent recombinant HIV-1 Envelope glycoprotein 120 subunit boost. We hypothesized that within each trial, there were participant subgroups sharing similar immune responses and that their frequencies differed across trials.

Methods And Findings: We analyzed data from three trials-RV144 (NCT00223080), HVTN 097 (NCT02109354), and HVTN 100 (NCT02404311), the latter of which was pivotal in advancing the tested pox-protein HIV vaccine regimen to the HVTN 702 Phase 2b/3 efficacy trial. We found that bivariate CD4+ T-cell and anti-V1V2 IgG/IgG3 antibody response patterns were similar by age, sex-at-birth, and body mass index, but differed for the pox-protein clade AE/B alum-adjuvanted regimen studied in RV144 and HVTN 097 (PAE/B/alum) compared to the pox-protein clade C/C MF59-adjuvanted regimen studied in HVTN 100 (PC/MF59). Specifically, more PAE/B/alum recipients had low CD4+ T-cell and high anti-V1V2 IgG/IgG3 responses, and more PC/MF59 recipients had broad responses of both types. Analyses limited to "vaccine-matched" antigens suggested that some of the differences in responses between the regimens could have been due to antigens in the assays that did not match the vaccine immunogens. Our approach was also useful in identifying subgroups with unusually absent or high co-responses across assay types, flagging individuals for further characterization by functional assays. We also found that co-responses of anti-V1V2 IgG/IgG3 and CD4+ T cells had broad variability. As additional immune response assays are standardized and validated, we anticipate our framework will be increasingly valuable for multivariate analysis.

Conclusions: Our approach can be used to advance vaccine development objectives, including the characterization and comparison of candidate vaccine multivariate immune responses and improved design of studies to identify correlates of protection. For instance, results suggested that HVTN 702 will have adequate power to interrogate immune correlates involving anti-V1V2 IgG/IgG3 and CD4+ T-cell co-readouts, but will have lower power to study anti-gp120/gp140 IgG/IgG3 due to their lower dynamic ranges. The findings also generate hypotheses for future testing in experimental and computational analyses aimed at achieving a mechanistic understanding of vaccine-elicited immune response heterogeneity.
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http://journals.plos.org/plosone/article?id=10.1371/journal.pone.0226803PLOS
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6992005PMC
April 2020

Fc Gamma Receptor Polymorphisms Modulated the Vaccine Effect on HIV-1 Risk in the HVTN 505 HIV Vaccine Trial.

J Virol 2019 11 15;93(21). Epub 2019 Oct 15.

Department of Molecular Biomedical Sciences, North Carolina State University, Raleigh, North Carolina, USA

HIV Vaccine Trials Network (HVTN) 505 was a phase 2b efficacy trial of a DNA/recombinant adenovirus 5 (rAd5) HIV vaccine regimen. Although the trial was stopped early for lack of overall efficacy, later correlates of risk and sieve analyses generated the hypothesis that the DNA/rAd5 vaccine regimen protected some vaccinees from HIV infection yet enhanced HIV infection risk for others. Here, we assessed whether and how host Fc gamma receptor (FcγR) genetic variations influenced the DNA/rAd5 vaccine regimen's effect on HIV infection risk. We found that vaccine receipt significantly increased HIV acquisition compared with placebo receipt among participants carrying the FCGR2C-TATA haplotype (comprising minor alleles of four single-nucleotide polymorphism [SNP] sites) (hazard ratio [HR] = 9.79,  = 0.035) but not among participants without the haplotype (HR = 0.86,  = 0.67); the interaction of vaccine and haplotype effect was significant ( = 0.034). Similarly, vaccine receipt increased HIV acquisition compared with placebo receipt among participants carrying the FCGR3B-AGA haplotype (comprising minor alleles of the 3 SNPs) (HR = 2.78,  = 0.058) but not among participants without the haplotype (HR = 0.73,  = 0.44); again, the interaction of vaccine and haplotype was significant ( = 0.047). The FCGR3B-AGA haplotype also influenced whether a combined Env-specific CD8 T-cell polyfunctionality score and IgG response correlated significantly with HIV risk; an SNP and two SNPs influenced whether anti-gp140 antibody-dependent cellular phagocytosis correlated significantly with HIV risk. These results provide further evidence that Fc gamma receptor genetic variations may modulate HIV vaccine effects and immune function after HIV vaccination. By analyzing data from the HVTN 505 efficacy trial of a DNA/recombinant adenovirus 5 (rAd5) vaccine regimen, we found that host genetics, specifically Fc gamma receptor genetic variations, influenced whether receiving the DNA/rAd5 regimen was beneficial, neutral, or detrimental to an individual with respect to HIV-1 acquisition risk. Moreover, Fc gamma receptor genetic variations influenced immune responses to the DNA/rAd5 vaccine regimen. Thus, Fc gamma receptor genetic variations should be considered in the analysis of future HIV vaccine trials and the development of HIV vaccines.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1128/JVI.02041-18DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6803257PMC
November 2019

HLA-I Associated Adaptation Dampens CD8 T-Cell Responses in HIV Ad5-Vectored Vaccine Recipients.

J Infect Dis 2019 10;220(10):1620-1628

Division of Infectious Diseases, Department of Medicine, University of Alabama at Birmingham.

HLA-I-associated human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) adaptation is known to negatively affect disease progression and CD8 T-cell responses. We aimed to assess how HLA-I-associated adaptation affects HIV vaccine-induced CD8 T-cell responses in 2 past vaccine efficacy trials. We found that vaccine-encoded adapted epitopes were less immunogenic than vaccine-encoded nonadapted epitopes, and adapted epitope-specific responses were less polyfunctional than nonadapted epitope-specific responses. Along those lines, vaccine recipients with higher HLA-I adaptation to the Gag vaccine insert mounted less polyfunctional CD8 T-cell responses at the protein level. Breadth of response, which correlated with viral control in recipients who became infected, is also dampened by HLA-I adaptation. These findings suggest that HLA-I-associated adaptation is an important consideration for strategies aiming to induce robust CD8 T-cell responses.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1093/infdis/jiz368DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6782105PMC
October 2019

Safety and tolerability of HIV-1 multiantigen pDNA vaccine given with IL-12 plasmid DNA via electroporation, boosted with a recombinant vesicular stomatitis virus HIV Gag vaccine in healthy volunteers in a randomized, controlled clinical trial.

PLoS One 2018 20;13(9):e0202753. Epub 2018 Sep 20.

Infectious Diseases Division, University of Rochester Medical Center, Rochester, New York, United States of America.

Background: The addition of plasmid cytokine adjuvants, electroporation, and live attenuated viral vectors may further optimize immune responses to DNA vaccines in heterologous prime-boost combinations. The objective of this study was to test the safety and tolerability of a novel prime-boost vaccine regimen incorporating these strategies with different doses of IL-12 plasmid DNA adjuvant.

Methods: In a phase 1 study, 88 participants received an HIV-1 multiantigen (gag/pol, env, nef/tat/vif) DNA vaccine (HIV-MAG, 3000 μg) co-administered with IL-12 plasmid DNA adjuvant at 0, 250, 1000, or 1500 μg (N = 22/group) given intramuscularly with electroporation (Ichor TriGrid™ Delivery System device) at 0, 1 and 3 months; followed by attenuated recombinant vesicular stomatitis virus, serotype Indiana, expressing HIV-1 Gag (VSV-Gag), 3.4 ⊆ 107 plaque-forming units (PFU), at 6 months; 12 others received placebo. Injections were in both deltoids at each timepoint. Participants were monitored for safety and tolerability for 15 months.

Results: The dose of IL-12 pDNA did not increase pain scores, reactogenicity, or adverse events with the co-administered DNA vaccine, or following the VSV-Gag boost. Injection site pain and reactogenicity were common with intramuscular injections with electroporation, but acceptable to most participants. VSV-Gag vaccine often caused systemic reactogenicity symptoms, including a viral syndrome (in 41%) of fever, chills, malaise/fatigue, myalgia, and headache; and decreased lymphocyte counts 1 day after vaccination.

Conclusions: HIV-MAG DNA vaccine given by intramuscular injection with electroporation was safe at all doses of IL-12 pDNA. The VSV-Gag vaccine at this dose was associated with fever and viral symptoms in some participants, but the vaccine regimens were safe and generally well-tolerated.

Trial Registration: Clinical Trials.gov NCT01578889.
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http://journals.plos.org/plosone/article?id=10.1371/journal.pone.0202753PLOS
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6147413PMC
February 2019

Subtype C ALVAC-HIV and bivalent subtype C gp120/MF59 HIV-1 vaccine in low-risk, HIV-uninfected, South African adults: a phase 1/2 trial.

Lancet HIV 2018 07 18;5(7):e366-e378. Epub 2018 Jun 18.

Vaccine and Infectious Disease Division, Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center, Seattle, WA, USA.

Background: Modest efficacy was reported for the HIV vaccine tested in the RV144 trial, which comprised a canarypox vector (ALVAC) and envelope (env) glycoprotein (gp120). These vaccine components were adapted to express HIV-1 antigens from strains circulating in South Africa, and the adjuvant was changed to increase immunogenicity. Furthermore, 12-month immunisation was added to improve durability. In the HIV Vaccine Trials Network (HVTN) 100 trial, we aimed to assess this new regionally adapted regimen for advancement to efficacy testing.

Methods: HVTN 100 is a phase 1/2, randomised controlled, double-blind trial at six community research sites in South Africa. We randomly allocated adults (aged 18-40 years) without HIV infection and at low risk of HIV infection to either the vaccine regimen (intramuscular injection of ALVAC-HIV vector [vCP2438] at 0, 1, 3, 6, and 12 months plus bivalent subtype C gp120 and MF59 adjuvant at 3, 6, and 12 months) or placebo, in a 5:1 ratio. Randomisation was done by computer-generated list. Participants, investigators, and those assessing outcomes were masked to random assignments. Primary outcomes included safety and immune responses associated with correlates of HIV risk in RV144, 2 weeks after vaccination at 6 months (month 6·5). We compared per-protocol participants (ie, those who completed the first four vaccinations and provided samples at month 6·5) from HVTN 100 with stored RV144 samples assayed contemporaneously. This trial is registered with the South African National Clinical Trials Registry (DOH-27-0215-4796) and ClinicalTrials.gov (NCT02404311).

Findings: Between Feb 9, 2015, and May 26, 2015, 252 participants were enrolled, of whom 210 were assigned vaccine and 42 placebo. 222 participants were included in the per-protocol analysis (185 vaccine and 37 placebo). 185 (100%) vaccine recipients developed IgG binding antibodies to all three vaccine-matched gp120 antigens with significantly higher titres (3·6-8·8 fold; all p<0·0001) than the corresponding vaccine-matched responses of RV144. The CD4+ T-cell response to the ZM96.C env protein in HVTN 100 was 56·4% (n=102 responders), compared with a response of 41·4% (n=79 responders) to 92TH023.AE in RV144 (p=0·0050). The IgG response to the 1086.C variable loops 1 and 2 (V1V2) env antigen in HVTN 100 was 70·5% (95% CI 63·5-76·6; n=129 responders), lower than the response to V1V2 in RV144 (99·0%, 95% CI 96·4-99·7; n=199 responders).

Interpretation: Although the IgG response to the HVTN 100 vaccine was lower than that reported in RV144, it exceeded the predicted 63% threshold needed for 50% vaccine efficacy using a V1V2 correlate of protection model. Thus, the subtype C HIV vaccine regimen qualified for phase 2b/3 efficacy testing, a critical next step of vaccine development.

Funding: US National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases (NIAID), and Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/S2352-3018(18)30071-7DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6028742PMC
July 2018

Origin and differentiation of human memory CD8 T cells after vaccination.

Nature 2017 12 13;552(7685):362-367. Epub 2017 Dec 13.

Emory Vaccine Center, Emory University School of Medicine, Atlanta, Georgia, USA.

The differentiation of human memory CD8 T cells is not well understood. Here we address this issue using the live yellow fever virus (YFV) vaccine, which induces long-term immunity in humans. We used in vivo deuterium labelling to mark CD8 T cells that proliferated in response to the virus and then assessed cellular turnover and longevity by quantifying deuterium dilution kinetics in YFV-specific CD8 T cells using mass spectrometry. This longitudinal analysis showed that the memory pool originates from CD8 T cells that divided extensively during the first two weeks after infection and is maintained by quiescent cells that divide less than once every year (doubling time of over 450 days). Although these long-lived YFV-specific memory CD8 T cells did not express effector molecules, their epigenetic landscape resembled that of effector CD8 T cells. This open chromatin profile at effector genes was maintained in memory CD8 T cells isolated even a decade after vaccination, indicating that these cells retain an epigenetic fingerprint of their effector history and remain poised to respond rapidly upon re-exposure to the pathogen.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1038/nature24633DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6037316PMC
December 2017

A randomized controlled safety/efficacy trial of therapeutic vaccination in HIV-infected individuals who initiated antiretroviral therapy early in infection.

Sci Transl Med 2017 Dec;9(419)

Laboratory of Immunoregulation, National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases (NIAID), National Institutes of Health (NIH), Bethesda, MD 20892, USA.

Despite substantial clinical benefits, complete eradication of HIV has not been possible using antiretroviral therapy (ART) alone. Strategies that can either eliminate persistent viral reservoirs or boost host immunity to prevent rebound of virus from these reservoirs after discontinuation of ART are needed; one possibility is therapeutic vaccination. We report the results of a randomized, placebo-controlled trial of a therapeutic vaccine regimen in patients in whom ART was initiated during the early stage of HIV infection and whose immune system was anticipated to be relatively intact. The objectives of our study were to determine whether the vaccine was safe and could induce an immune response that would maintain suppression of plasma viremia after discontinuation of ART. Vaccinations were well tolerated with no serious adverse events but produced only modest augmentation of existing HIV-specific CD4 T cell responses, with little augmentation of CD8 T cell responses. Compared with placebo, the vaccination regimen had no significant effect on the kinetics or magnitude of viral rebound after interruption of ART and no impact on the size of the HIV reservoir in the CD4 T cell compartment. Notably, 26% of subjects in the placebo arm exhibited sustained suppression of viremia (<400 copies/ml) after treatment interruption, a rate of spontaneous suppression higher than previously reported. Our findings regarding the degree and kinetics of plasma viral rebound after ART interruption have potentially important implications for the design of future trials testing interventions aimed at achieving ART-free control of HIV infection.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1126/scitranslmed.aan8848DOI Listing
December 2017

DNA Priming Increases Frequency of T-Cell Responses to a Vesicular Stomatitis Virus HIV Vaccine with Specific Enhancement of CD8 T-Cell Responses by Interleukin-12 Plasmid DNA.

Clin Vaccine Immunol 2017 Nov 6;24(11). Epub 2017 Nov 6.

Vaccine and Infectious Disease Division, Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center, Seattle, Washington, USA

The HIV Vaccine Trials Network (HVTN) 087 vaccine trial assessed the effect of increasing doses of pIL-12 (interleukin-12 delivered as plasmid DNA) adjuvant on the immunogenicity of an HIV-1 multiantigen (MAG) DNA vaccine delivered by electroporation and boosted with a vaccine comprising an attenuated vesicular stomatitis virus expressing HIV-1 Gag (VSV-Gag). We randomized 100 healthy adults to receive placebo or 3 mg HIV-MAG DNA vaccine (ProfectusVax HIV-1 / or ProfectusVax //, ) coadministered with pIL-12 at 0, 250, 1,000, or 1,500 μg intramuscularly by electroporation at 0, 1, and 3 months followed by intramuscular inoculation with 3.4 × 10 PFU VSV-Gag vaccine at 6 months. Immune responses were assessed after the prime and boost and 6 months after the last vaccination. High-dose pIL-12 increased the magnitude of CD8 T-cell responses postboost compared to no pIL-12 ( = 0.02), while CD4 T-cell responses after the prime were higher in the absence of pIL-12 than with low- and medium-dose pIL-12 ( ≤ 0.05). The VSV boost increased Gag-specific CD4 and CD8 T-cell responses in all groups ( < 0.001 for CD4 T cells), inducing a median of four Gag epitopes in responders. Six to 9 months after the boost, responses decreased in magnitude, but CD8 T-cell response rates were maintained. The addition of a DNA prime dramatically improved responses to the VSV vaccine tested previously in the HVTN 090 trial, leading to broad epitope targeting and maintained CD8 T-cell response rates at early memory. The addition of high-dose pIL-12 given with a DNA prime by electroporation and boosted with VSV-Gag increased the CD8 T-cell responses but decreased the CD4 responses. This approach may be advantageous in reshaping the T-cell responses to a variety of chronic infections or tumors. (This study has been registered at ClinicalTrials.gov under registration no. NCT01578889.).
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1128/CVI.00263-17DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5674193PMC
November 2017

RTS,S/AS01E Malaria Vaccine Induces Memory and Polyfunctional T Cell Responses in a Pediatric African Phase III Trial.

Front Immunol 2017 23;8:1008. Epub 2017 Aug 23.

Vaccine and Infectious Disease Division, Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center, Seattle, WA, United States.

Comprehensive assessment of cellular responses to the RTS,S/AS01E vaccine is needed to understand potential correlates and ultimately mechanisms of protection against malaria disease. Cellular responses recognizing the RTS,S/AS01E-containing circumsporozoite protein (CSP) and Hepatitis B surface antigen (HBsAg) were assessed before and 1 month after primary vaccination by intracellular cytokine staining and 16-color flow cytometry in 105 RTS,S/AS01-vaccinated and 74 rabies-vaccinated participants (controls) in a pediatric phase III trial in Africa. RTS,S/AS01E-vaccinated children had significantly higher frequencies of CSP- and HBsAg-specific CD4 T cells producing IL-2, TNF-α, and CD40L and HBsAg-specific CD4 T producing IFN-γ and IL-17 than baseline and the control group. Vaccine-induced responses were identified in both central and effector memory (EM) compartments. EM CD4 T cells expressing IL-4 and IL-21 were detected recognizing both vaccine antigens. Consistently higher response rates to both antigens in RTS,S/AS01E-vaccinated than comparator-vaccinated children were observed. RTS,S/AS01E induced polyfunctional CSP- and HBsAg-specific CD4 T cells, with a greater degree of polyfunctionality in HBsAg responses. In conclusion, RTS,S/AS01E vaccine induces T cells of higher functional heterogeneity and polyfunctionality than previously characterized. Responses detected in memory CD4 T cell compartments may provide correlates of RTS,S/AS01-induced immunity and duration of protection in future correlates of immunity studies.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.3389/fimmu.2017.01008DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5572329PMC
August 2017

Higher T-Cell Responses Induced by DNA/rAd5 HIV-1 Preventive Vaccine Are Associated With Lower HIV-1 Infection Risk in an Efficacy Trial.

J Infect Dis 2017 05;215(9):1376-1385

Vaccine and Infectious Disease Division, Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center, and.

Background: It is important to identify vaccine-induced immune responses that predict the preventative efficacy of a human immunodeficiency virus (HIV)-1 vaccine. We assessed T-cell response markers as correlates of risk in the HIV Vaccine Trials Network (HVTN) 505 HIV-1 vaccine efficacy trial.

Methods: 2504 participants were randomized to DNA/rAd5 vaccine or placebo, administered at weeks 0, 4, 8, and 24. Peripheral blood mononuclear cells were obtained at week 26 from all 25 primary endpoint vaccine cases and 125 matched vaccine controls, and stimulated with vaccine-insert-matched peptides. Primary variables were total HIV-1-specific CD4+ T-cell magnitude and Env-specific CD4+ polyfunctionality. Four secondary variables were also assessed. Immune responses were evaluated as predictors of HIV-1 infection among vaccinees using Cox proportional hazards models. Machine learning analyses identified immune response combinations best predicting HIV-1 infection.

Results: We observed an unexpectedly strong inverse correlation between Env-specific CD8+ immune response magnitude and HIV-1 infection risk (hazard ratio [HR] = 0.18 per SD increment; P = .04) and between Env-specific CD8+ polyfunctionality and infection risk (HR = 0.34 per SD increment; P < .01).

Conclusions: Further research is needed to determine if these immune responses are predictors of vaccine efficacy or markers of natural resistance to HIV-1 infection.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1093/infdis/jix086DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5853653PMC
May 2017

Current views on the potential for development of a HIV vaccine.

Expert Opin Biol Ther 2017 03 23;17(3):295-303. Epub 2017 Jan 23.

a Vaccine and Infectious Disease Division , Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center , Seattle , WA , USA.

Introduction: Despite many recent advances in the HIV prevention landscape, an effective vaccine remains the most promising tool to end the HIV-1 pandemic. Areas covered: This review summarizes past HIV vaccine efficacy trials and current vaccine strategies as well as new approaches about to move into first-in-human trials. Expert opinion: Despite many setbacks in early HIV vaccine efficacy trials, the success of RV144 has provided the glimmer of hope necessary to invigorate the vaccine field, and has led to the development of a large number of vaccine strategies aiming at inducing an array of different immune responses. The follow-up pox-protein trials, developed to replicate and enhance the polyfunctional antibody responses induced by the RV144 regimen, are already reaching efficacy trials, while a large body of work providing a more complete understanding of the development of broadly neutralizing antibodies is now being translated into immunogen design using several different strategies. T-cell based vaccines, fallen out of favor after Ad5-based trials showed increased infection rates in Ad5 seropositive vaccine recipients, are experiencing a comeback based in part on the promising results from non-human primate challenge studies using rhCMV-based immunogens. This diverse array of vaccine candidates may finally allow us to identify a broadly effective HIV vaccine able to contain the epidemic.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1080/14712598.2017.1282457DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5538888PMC
March 2017

Safety and Immunogenicity of Novel Adenovirus Type 26- and Modified Vaccinia Ankara-Vectored Ebola Vaccines: A Randomized Clinical Trial.

JAMA 2016 Apr;315(15):1610-23

Oxford Vaccine Group, Department of Paediatrics, University of Oxford, Oxford, United Kingdom7National Institute for Health Research (NIHR) Oxford Biomedical Research Centre, Oxford, United Kingdom.

Importance: Developing effective vaccines against Ebola virus is a global priority.

Objective: To evaluate an adenovirus type 26 vector vaccine encoding Ebola glycoprotein (Ad26.ZEBOV) and a modified vaccinia Ankara vector vaccine, encoding glycoproteins from Ebola virus, Sudan virus, Marburg virus, and Tai Forest virus nucleoprotein (MVA-BN-Filo).

Design, Setting, And Participants: Single-center, randomized, placebo-controlled, observer-blind, phase 1 trial performed in Oxford, United Kingdom, enrolling healthy 18- to 50-year-olds from December 2014; 8-month follow-up was completed October 2015.

Interventions: Participants were randomized into 4 groups, within which they were simultaneously randomized 5:1 to receive study vaccines or placebo. Those receiving active vaccines were primed with Ad26.ZEBOV (5 × 10(10) viral particles) or MVA-BN-Filo (1 × 10(8) median tissue culture infective dose) and boosted with the alternative vaccine 28 or 56 days later. A fifth, open-label group received Ad26.ZEBOV boosted by MVA-BN-Filo 14 days later.

Main Outcomes And Measures: The primary outcomes were safety and tolerability. All adverse events were recorded until 21 days after each immunization; serious adverse events were recorded throughout the trial. Secondary outcomes were humoral and cellular immune responses to immunization, as assessed by enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay and enzyme-linked immunospot performed at baseline and from 7 days after each immunization until 8 months after priming immunizations.

Results: Among 87 study participants (median age, 38.5 years; 66.7% female), 72 were randomized into 4 groups of 18, and 15 were included in the open-label group. Four participants did not receive a booster dose; 67 of 75 study vaccine recipients were followed up at 8 months. No vaccine-related serious adverse events occurred. No participant became febrile after MVA-BN-Filo, compared with 3 of 60 participants (5%; 95% CI, 1%-14%) receiving Ad26.ZEBOV in the randomized groups. In the open-label group, 4 of 15 Ad26.ZEBOV recipients (27%; 95% CI, 8%-55%) experienced fever. In the randomized groups, 28 of 29 Ad26.ZEBOV recipients (97%; 95% CI, 82%- 99.9%) and 7 of 30 MVA-BN-Filo recipients (23%; 95% CI, 10%-42%) had detectable Ebola glycoprotein-specific IgG 28 days after primary immunization. All vaccine recipients had specific IgG detectable 21 days postboost and at 8-month follow-up. Within randomized groups, at 7 days postboost, at least 86% of vaccine recipients showed Ebola-specific T-cell responses.

Conclusions And Relevance: In this phase 1 study of healthy volunteers, immunization with Ad26.ZEBOV or MVA-BN-Filo did not result in any vaccine-related serious adverse events. An immune response was observed after primary immunization with Ad26.ZEBOV; boosting by MVA-BN-Filo resulted in sustained elevation of specific immunity. These vaccines are being further assessed in phase 2 and 3 studies.

Trial Registration: clinicaltrials.gov Identifier: NCT02313077.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1001/jama.2016.4218DOI Listing
April 2016

HIV-1 single-stranded RNA induces CXCL13 secretion in human monocytes via TLR7 activation and plasmacytoid dendritic cell-derived type I IFN.

J Immunol 2015 Mar 9;194(6):2769-75. Epub 2015 Feb 9.

Seattle Biomedical Research Institute, Seattle, WA 98109; Department of Global Health, University of Washington, Seattle, WA 98195;

Elevated levels of the chemokine CXCL13 have been observed in the plasma of chronically HIV-1-infected subjects and have been correlated with plasma viremia, which in turn has been linked to progressive dysregulation of humoral responses. In this study we sought to identify mechanisms of CXCL13 induction in response to HIV-1 infection. Plasma levels of CXCL13 in HIV-1-infected antiretroviral therapy-naive subjects correlated with viral load and were higher compared with antiretroviral therapy-treated HIV-1-infected and HIV-1-uninfected subjects. To elucidate the relationship between HIV-1 viremia and CXCL13 plasma levels, PBMCs from uninfected donors were stimulated with HIV-1 infectious virions, HIV-1 ssRNA, TLR 7 and 8 agonists, or IFN-α. The cellular sources of CXCL13 were determined by intracellular cytokine staining of cell populations. CXCL13 was produced by monocytes after stimulation with TLR 7 and 8 ligands or HIV-1-derived ssRNA. CXCL13 production by monocytes required TLR7 activation of plasmacytoid dendritic cells and secretion of type I IFN. IFN-α alone was sufficient to induce CXCL13 expression in human monocytes. In sum, we identified a novel mechanism of HIV-1-induced CXCL13 secretion-one caused by TLR7 induction of type I IFN by plasmacytoid dendritic cells and subsequent IFN stimulation of monocytes. Our findings are relevant in understanding how HIV-1 infection leads to immune dysregulation and provide the opportunity to develop and test potential therapeutic interventions.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.4049/jimmunol.1400952DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4363079PMC
March 2015

Engineering HIV envelope protein to activate germline B cell receptors of broadly neutralizing anti-CD4 binding site antibodies.

J Exp Med 2013 Apr 25;210(4):655-63. Epub 2013 Mar 25.

Seattle Biomedical Research Institute, Seattle, WA 98109, USA.

Broadly neutralizing antibodies (bnAbs) against HIV are believed to be a critical component of the protective responses elicited by an effective HIV vaccine. Neutralizing antibodies against the evolutionarily conserved CD4-binding site (CD4-BS) on the HIV envelope glycoprotein (Env) are capable of inhibiting infection of diverse HIV strains, and have been isolated from HIV-infected individuals. Despite the presence of anti-CD4-BS broadly neutralizing antibody (bnAb) epitopes on recombinant Env, Env immunization has so far failed to elicit such antibodies. Here, we show that Env immunogens fail to engage the germline-reverted forms of known bnAbs that target the CD4-BS. However, we found that the elimination of a conserved glycosylation site located in Loop D and two glycosylation sites located in variable region 5 of Env allows Env-binding to, and activation of, B cells expressing the germline-reverted BCRs of two potent broadly neutralizing antibodies, VRC01 and NIH45-46. Our results offer a possible explanation as to why Env immunogens have been ineffective in stimulating the production of such bNAbs. Importantly, they provide key information as to how such immunogens can be engineered to initiate the process of antibody-affinity maturation against one of the most conserved Env regions.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1084/jem.20122824DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3620356PMC
April 2013

Recombinant HIV envelope proteins fail to engage germline versions of anti-CD4bs bNAbs.

PLoS Pathog 2013 Jan 3;9(1):e1003106. Epub 2013 Jan 3.

Seattle Biomedical Research Institute, Seattle, WA, USA.

Vaccine candidates for HIV-1 so far have not been able to elicit broadly neutralizing antibodies (bNAbs) although they express the epitopes recognized by bNAbs to the HIV envelope glycoprotein (Env). To understand whether and how Env immunogens interact with the predicted germline versions of known bNAbs, we screened a large panel (N:56) of recombinant Envs (from clades A, B and C) for binding to the germline predecessors of the broadly neutralizing anti-CD4 binding site antibodies b12, NIH45-46 and 3BNC60. Although the mature antibodies reacted with diverse Envs, the corresponding germline antibodies did not display Env-reactivity. Experiments conducted with engineered chimeric antibodies combining the mature and germline heavy and light chains, respectively and vice-versa, revealed that both antibody chains are important for the known cross-reactivity of these antibodies. Our results also indicate that in order for b12 to display its broad cross-reactivity, multiple somatic mutations within its VH region are required. A consequence of the failure of the germline b12 to bind recombinant soluble Env is that Env-induced B-cell activation through the germline b12 BCR does not take place. Our study provides a new explanation for the difficulties in eliciting bNAbs with recombinant soluble Env immunogens. Our study also highlights the need for intense efforts to identify rare naturally occurring or engineered Envs that may engage the germline BCR versions of bNAbs.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1371/journal.ppat.1003106DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3536657PMC
January 2013
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