Publications by authors named "Laurent Pessaint"

29 Publications

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Control of SARS-CoV-2 infection after Spike DNA or Spike DNA+Protein co-immunization in rhesus macaques.

PLoS Pathog 2021 Sep 22;17(9):e1009701. Epub 2021 Sep 22.

Human Retrovirus Pathogenesis Section, Vaccine Branch, Center for Cancer Research, National Cancer Institute at Frederick, Frederick, Maryland, United States of America.

The speed of development, versatility and efficacy of mRNA-based vaccines have been amply demonstrated in the case of SARS-CoV-2. DNA vaccines represent an important alternative since they induce both humoral and cellular immune responses in animal models and in human trials. We tested the immunogenicity and protective efficacy of DNA-based vaccine regimens expressing different prefusion-stabilized Wuhan-Hu-1 SARS-CoV-2 Spike antigens upon intramuscular injection followed by electroporation in rhesus macaques. Different Spike DNA vaccine regimens induced antibodies that potently neutralized SARS-CoV-2 in vitro and elicited robust T cell responses. The antibodies recognized and potently neutralized a panel of different Spike variants including Alpha, Delta, Epsilon, Eta and A.23.1, but to a lesser extent Beta and Gamma. The DNA-only vaccine regimens were compared to a regimen that included co-immunization of Spike DNA and protein in the same anatomical site, the latter of which showed significant higher antibody responses. All vaccine regimens led to control of SARS-CoV-2 intranasal/intratracheal challenge and absence of virus dissemination to the lower respiratory tract. Vaccine-induced binding and neutralizing antibody titers and antibody-dependent cellular phagocytosis inversely correlated with transient virus levels in the nasal mucosa. Importantly, the Spike DNA+Protein co-immunization regimen induced the highest binding and neutralizing antibodies and showed the strongest control against SARS-CoV-2 challenge in rhesus macaques.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1371/journal.ppat.1009701DOI Listing
September 2021

Protection against SARS-CoV-2 Beta Variant in mRNA-1273 Boosted Nonhuman Primates.

bioRxiv 2021 Aug 12. Epub 2021 Aug 12.

Neutralizing antibody responses gradually wane after vaccination with mRNA-1273 against several variants of concern (VOC), and additional boost vaccinations may be required to sustain immunity and protection. Here, we evaluated the immune responses in nonhuman primates that received 100 µg of mRNA-1273 vaccine at 0 and 4 weeks and were boosted at week 29 with mRNA-1273 (homologous) or mRNA-1273.β (heterologous), which encompasses the spike sequence of the B.1.351 (beta or β) variant. Reciprocal ID pseudovirus neutralizing antibody geometric mean titers (GMT) against live SARS-CoV-2 D614G and the β variant, were 4700 and 765, respectively, at week 6, the peak of primary response, and 644 and 553, respectively, at a 5-month post-vaccination memory time point. Two weeks following homologous or heterologous boost β-specific reciprocal ID GMT were 5000 and 3000, respectively. At week 38, animals were challenged in the upper and lower airway with the β variant. Two days post-challenge, viral replication was low to undetectable in both BAL and nasal swabs in most of the boosted animals. These data show that boosting with the homologous mRNA-1273 vaccine six months after primary immunization provides up to a 20-fold increase in neutralizing antibody responses across all VOC, which may be required to sustain high-level protection against severe disease, especially for at-risk populations.

One-sentence Summary: mRNA-1273 boosted nonhuman primates have increased immune responses and are protected against SARS-CoV-2 beta infection.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1101/2021.08.11.456015DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC8382125PMC
August 2021

mRNA-1273 protects against SARS-CoV-2 beta infection in nonhuman primates.

Nat Immunol 2021 Aug 20. Epub 2021 Aug 20.

Vaccine Research Center; National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, National Institutes of Health, Bethesda, MD, USA.

B.1.351 is the severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2) variant most resistant to antibody neutralization. We demonstrate how the dose and number of immunizations influence protection. Nonhuman primates received two doses of 30 or 100 µg of Moderna's mRNA-1273 vaccine, a single immunization of 30 µg, or no vaccine. Two doses of 100 µg of mRNA-1273 induced 50% inhibitory reciprocal serum dilution neutralizing antibody titers against live SARS-CoV-2 p.Asp614Gly and B.1.351 of 3,300 and 240, respectively. Higher neutralizing responses against B.1.617.2 were also observed after two doses compared to a single dose. After challenge with B.1.351, there was ~4- to 5-log reduction of viral subgenomic RNA and low to undetectable replication in bronchoalveolar lavages in the two-dose vaccine groups, with a 1-log reduction in nasal swabs in the 100-µg group. These data establish that a two-dose regimen of mRNA-1273 will be critical for providing upper and lower airway protection against major variants of concern.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1038/s41590-021-01021-0DOI Listing
August 2021

Protective antibodies elicited by SARS-CoV-2 spike protein vaccination are boosted in the lung after challenge in nonhuman primates.

Sci Transl Med 2021 08 27;13(607). Epub 2021 Jul 27.

Vaccine Research Center, National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, National Institutes of Health, Bethesda, MD 20814, USA.

Adjuvanted soluble protein vaccines have been used extensively in humans for protection against various viral infections based on their robust induction of antibody responses. Here, soluble prefusion-stabilized spike protein trimers (preS dTM) from severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2) were formulated with the adjuvant AS03 and administered twice to nonhuman primates (NHPs). Binding and functional neutralization assays and systems serology revealed that the vaccinated NHP developed AS03-dependent multifunctional humoral responses that targeted distinct domains of the spike protein and bound to a variety of Fc receptors mediating immune cell effector functions in vitro. The neutralizing 50% inhibitory concentration titers for pseudovirus and live SARS-CoV-2 were higher than titers for a panel of human convalescent serum samples. NHPs were challenged intranasally and intratracheally with a high dose (3 × 10 plaque forming units) of SARS-CoV-2 (USA-WA1/2020 isolate). Two days after challenge, vaccinated NHPs showed rapid control of viral replication in both the upper and lower airways. Vaccinated NHPs also had increased spike protein-specific immunoglobulin G (IgG) antibody responses in the lung as early as 2 days after challenge. Moreover, passive transfer of vaccine-induced IgG to hamsters mediated protection from subsequent SARS-CoV-2 challenge. These data show that antibodies induced by the AS03-adjuvanted preS dTM vaccine were sufficient to mediate protection against SARS-CoV-2 in NHPs and that rapid anamnestic antibody responses in the lung may be a key mechanism for protection.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1126/scitranslmed.abi4547DOI Listing
August 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

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

Cell-mimicking nanodecoys neutralize SARS-CoV-2 and mitigate lung injury in a non-human primate model of COVID-19.

Nat Nanotechnol 2021 08 17;16(8):942-951. Epub 2021 Jun 17.

Department of Molecular Biomedical Sciences and Comparative Medicine Institute, North Carolina State University, Raleigh, NC, USA.

Coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19), caused by severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2), has grown into a global pandemic, and only a few antiviral treatments have been approved to date. Angiotensin-converting enzyme 2 (ACE2) plays a fundamental role in SARS-CoV-2 pathogenesis because it allows viral entry into host cells. Here we show that ACE2 nanodecoys derived from human lung spheroid cells (LSCs) can bind and neutralize SARS-CoV-2 and protect the host lung cells from infection. In mice, these LSC-nanodecoys were delivered via inhalation therapy and resided in the lungs for over 72 h post-delivery. Furthermore, inhalation of the LSC-nanodecoys accelerated clearance of SARS-CoV-2 mimics from the lungs, with no observed toxicity. In cynomolgus macaques challenged with live SARS-CoV-2, four doses of these nanodecoys delivered by inhalation promoted viral clearance and reduced lung injury. Our results suggest that LSC-nanodecoys can serve as a potential therapeutic agent for treating COVID-19.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1038/s41565-021-00923-2DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC8364483PMC
August 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

Evaluation of mRNA-1273 against SARS-CoV-2 B.1.351 Infection in Nonhuman Primates.

bioRxiv 2021 May 24. Epub 2021 May 24.

Background: Vaccine efficacy against the B.1.351 variant following mRNA-1273 vaccination in humans has not been determined. Nonhuman primates (NHP) are a useful model for demonstrating whether mRNA-1273 mediates protection against B.1.351.

Methods: Nonhuman primates received 30 or 100 µg of mRNA-1273 as a prime-boost vaccine at 0 and 4 weeks, a single immunization of 30 µg at week 0, or no vaccine. Antibody and T cell responses were assessed in blood, bronchioalveolar lavages (BAL), and nasal washes. Viral replication in BAL and nasal swabs were determined by qRT-PCR for sgRNA, and histopathology and viral antigen quantification were performed on lung tissue post-challenge.

Results: Eight weeks post-boost, 100 µg x2 of mRNA-1273 induced reciprocal ID neutralizing geometric mean titers against live SARS-CoV-2 D614G and B.1.351 of 3300 and 240, respectively, and 430 and 84 for the 30 µg x2 group. There were no detectable neutralizing antibodies against B.1351 after the single immunization of 30 µg. On day 2 following B.1.351 challenge, sgRNA in BAL was undetectable in 6 of 8 NHP that received 100 µg x2 of mRNA-1273, and there was a ∼2-log reduction in sgRNA in NHP that received two doses of 30 µg compared to controls. In nasal swabs, there was a 1-log reduction observed in the 100 µg x2 group. There was limited inflammation or viral antigen in lungs of vaccinated NHP post-challenge.

Conclusions: Immunization with two doses of mRNA-1273 achieves effective immunity that rapidly controls lower and upper airway viral replication against the B.1.351 variant in NHP.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1101/2021.05.21.445189DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC8168383PMC
May 2021

Protection against SARS-CoV-2 infection by a mucosal vaccine in rhesus macaques.

JCI Insight 2021 04 28;6(10). Epub 2021 Apr 28.

Vaccine Branch, Center for Cancer Research, National Cancer Institute, NIH, Bethesda, Maryland, USA.

Effective SARS-CoV-2 vaccines are urgently needed. Although most vaccine strategies have focused on systemic immunization, here we compared the protective efficacy of 2 adjuvanted subunit vaccines with spike protein S1: an intramuscularly primed/boosted vaccine and an intramuscularly primed/intranasally boosted mucosal vaccine in rhesus macaques. The intramuscular-alum-only vaccine induced robust binding and neutralizing antibody and persistent cellular immunity systemically and mucosally, whereas intranasal boosting with nanoparticles, including IL-15 and TLR agonists, elicited weaker T cell and Ab responses but higher dimeric IgA and IFN-α. Nevertheless, following SARS-CoV-2 challenge, neither group showed detectable subgenomic RNA in upper or lower respiratory tracts versus naive controls, indicating full protection against viral replication. Although mucosal and systemic protective mechanisms may differ, results demonstrate both vaccines can protect against respiratory SARS-CoV-2 exposure. In summary, we have demonstrated that the mucosal vaccine was safe after multiple doses and cleared the input virus more efficiently in the nasal cavity and thus may act as a potent complementary reinforcing boost for conventional systemic vaccines to provide overall better protection.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1172/jci.insight.148494DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC8262352PMC
April 2021

Immune Correlates of Protection by mRNA-1273 Immunization against SARS-CoV-2 Infection in Nonhuman Primates.

bioRxiv 2021 Apr 23. Epub 2021 Apr 23.

Immune correlates of protection can be used as surrogate endpoints for vaccine efficacy. The nonhuman primate (NHP) model of SARS-CoV-2 infection replicates key features of human infection and may be used to define immune correlates of protection following vaccination. Here, NHP received either no vaccine or doses ranging from 0.3 - 100 μg of mRNA-1273, a mRNA vaccine encoding the prefusion-stabilized SARS-CoV-2 spike (S-2P) protein encapsulated in a lipid nanoparticle. mRNA-1273 vaccination elicited robust circulating and mucosal antibody responses in a dose-dependent manner. Viral replication was significantly reduced in bronchoalveolar lavages and nasal swabs following SARS-CoV-2 challenge in vaccinated animals and was most strongly correlated with levels of anti-S antibody binding and neutralizing activity. Consistent with antibodies being a correlate of protection, passive transfer of vaccine-induced IgG to naïve hamsters was sufficient to mediate protection. Taken together, these data show that mRNA-1273 vaccine-induced humoral immune responses are a mechanistic correlate of protection against SARS-CoV-2 infection in NHP.

One-sentence Summary: mRNA-1273 vaccine-induced antibody responses are a mechanistic correlate of protection against SARS-CoV-2 infection in NHP.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1101/2021.04.20.440647DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC8077626PMC
April 2021

Vaccination with SARS-CoV-2 Spike Protein and AS03 Adjuvant Induces Rapid Anamnestic Antibodies in the Lung and Protects Against Virus Challenge in Nonhuman Primates.

bioRxiv 2021 Mar 2. Epub 2021 Mar 2.

Adjuvanted soluble protein vaccines have been used extensively in humans for protection against various viral infections based on their robust induction of antibody responses. Here, soluble prefusion-stabilized spike trimers (preS dTM) from the severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus (SARS-CoV-2) were formulated with the adjuvant AS03 and administered twice to nonhuman primates (NHP). Binding and functional neutralization assays and systems serology revealed that NHP developed AS03-dependent multi-functional humoral responses that targeted multiple spike domains and bound to a variety of antibody F receptors mediating effector functions . Pseudovirus and live virus neutralizing IC titers were on average greater than 1000 and significantly higher than a panel of human convalescent sera. NHP were challenged intranasally and intratracheally with a high dose (3×10 PFU) of SARS-CoV-2 (USA-WA1/2020 isolate). Two days post-challenge, vaccinated NHP showed rapid control of viral replication in both the upper and lower airways. Notably, vaccinated NHP also had increased spike-specific IgG antibody responses in the lung as early as 2 days post challenge. Moreover, vaccine-induced IgG mediated protection from SARS-CoV-2 challenge following passive transfer to hamsters. These data show that antibodies induced by the AS03-adjuvanted preS dTM vaccine are sufficient to mediate protection against SARS-CoV-2 and support the evaluation of this vaccine in human clinical trials.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1101/2021.03.02.433390DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7941623PMC
March 2021

Recombinant protein subunit SARS-CoV-2 vaccines formulated with CoVaccine HT adjuvant induce broad, Th1 biased, humoral and cellular immune responses in mice.

bioRxiv 2021 Mar 3. Epub 2021 Mar 3.

The speed at which several COVID-19 vaccines went from conception to receiving FDA and EMA approval for emergency use is an achievement unrivaled in the history of vaccine development. Mass vaccination efforts using the highly effective vaccines are currently underway to generate sufficient herd immunity and reduce transmission of the SARS-CoV-2 virus. Despite the most advanced vaccine technology, global recipient coverage, especially in resource-poor areas remains a challenge as genetic drift in naïve population pockets threatens overall vaccine efficacy. In this study, we described the production of insect-cell expressed SARS-CoV-2 spike protein ectodomain and examined its immunogenicity in mice. We demonstrated that, when formulated with CoVaccine HT™adjuvant, an oil-in-water nanoemulsion compatible with lyophilization, our vaccine candidates elicit a broad-spectrum IgG response, high neutralizing antibody titers, and a robust, antigen-specific IFN-γ secreting response from immune splenocytes in outbred mice. Our findings lay the foundation for the development of a dry-thermostabilized vaccine that is deployable without refrigeration.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1101/2021.03.02.433614DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7941616PMC
March 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

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

CoVaccine HT™ Adjuvant Potentiates Robust Immune Responses to Recombinant SARS-CoV-2 Spike S1 Immunization.

Front Immunol 2020 30;11:599587. Epub 2020 Oct 30.

Department of Tropical Medicine, John A. Burns School of Medicine, University of Hawaii, Honolulu, HI, United States.

The current COVID-19 pandemic has claimed hundreds of thousands of lives and its causative agent, SARS-CoV-2, has infected millions, globally. The highly contagious nature of this respiratory virus has spurred massive global efforts to develop vaccines at record speeds. In addition to enhanced immunogen delivery, adjuvants may greatly impact protective efficacy of a SARS-CoV-2 vaccine. To investigate adjuvant suitability, we formulated protein subunit vaccines consisting of the recombinant S1 domain of SARS-CoV-2 Spike protein alone or in combination with either CoVaccine HT™ or Alhydrogel. CoVaccine HT™ induced high titres of antigen-binding IgG after a single dose, facilitated affinity maturation and class switching to a greater extent than Alhydrogel and elicited potent cell-mediated immunity as well as virus neutralizing antibody titres. Data presented here suggests that adjuvantation with CoVaccine HT™ can rapidly induce a comprehensive and protective immune response to SARS-CoV-2.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.3389/fimmu.2020.599587DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7661386PMC
December 2020

REGN-COV2 antibodies prevent and treat SARS-CoV-2 infection in rhesus macaques and hamsters.

Science 2020 11 9;370(6520):1110-1115. Epub 2020 Oct 9.

BIOQUAL, Rockville, MD 20850, USA.

An urgent global quest for effective therapies to prevent and treat coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) is ongoing. We previously described REGN-COV2, a cocktail of two potent neutralizing antibodies (REGN10987 and REGN10933) that targets nonoverlapping epitopes on the severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2) spike protein. In this report, we evaluate the in vivo efficacy of this antibody cocktail in both rhesus macaques, which may model mild disease, and golden hamsters, which may model more severe disease. We demonstrate that REGN-COV-2 can greatly reduce virus load in the lower and upper airways and decrease virus-induced pathological sequelae when administered prophylactically or therapeutically in rhesus macaques. Similarly, administration in hamsters limits weight loss and decreases lung titers and evidence of pneumonia in the lungs. Our results provide evidence of the therapeutic potential of this antibody cocktail.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1126/science.abe2402DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7857396PMC
November 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

A Single Immunization with Nucleoside-Modified mRNA Vaccines Elicits Strong Cellular and Humoral Immune Responses against SARS-CoV-2 in Mice.

Immunity 2020 10 30;53(4):724-732.e7. Epub 2020 Jul 30.

Duke Human Vaccine Institute, Duke University School of Medicine, Durham, NC, USA; Department of Pathology, Duke University Medical Center, Durham, NC, USA.

SARS-CoV-2 infection has emerged as a serious global pandemic. Because of the high transmissibility of the virus and the high rate of morbidity and mortality associated with COVID-19, developing effective and safe vaccines is a top research priority. Here, we provide a detailed evaluation of the immunogenicity of lipid nanoparticle-encapsulated, nucleoside-modified mRNA (mRNA-LNP) vaccines encoding the full-length SARS-CoV-2 spike protein or the spike receptor binding domain in mice. We demonstrate that a single dose of these vaccines induces strong type 1 CD4 and CD8 T cell responses, as well as long-lived plasma and memory B cell responses. Additionally, we detect robust and sustained neutralizing antibody responses and the antibodies elicited by nucleoside-modified mRNA vaccines do not show antibody-dependent enhancement of infection in vitro. Our findings suggest that the nucleoside-modified mRNA-LNP vaccine platform can induce robust immune responses and is a promising candidate to combat COVID-19.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.immuni.2020.07.019DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7392193PMC
October 2020

CoVaccine HT™ adjuvant potentiates robust immune responses to recombinant SARS-CoV-2 Spike S1 immunisation.

bioRxiv 2020 Jul 26. Epub 2020 Jul 26.

The current COVID-19 pandemic has claimed hundreds of thousands of lives and its causative agent, SARS-CoV-2, has infected millions, globally. The highly contagious nature of this respiratory virus has spurred massive global efforts to develop vaccines at record speeds. In addition to enhanced immunogen delivery, adjuvants may greatly impact protective efficacy of a SARS-CoV-2 vaccine. To investigate adjuvant suitability, we formulated protein subunit vaccines consisting of the recombinant S1 domain of SARS-CoV-2 Spike protein alone or in combination with either CoVaccine HT™ or Alhydrogel. CoVaccine HT™ induced high titres of antigen-binding IgG after a single dose, facilitated affinity maturation and class switching to a greater extent than Alhydrogel and elicited potent cell-mediated immunity as well as virus neutralising antibody titres. Data presented here suggests that adjuvantation with CoVaccine HT™ can rapidly induce a comprehensive and protective immune response to SARS-CoV-2.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1101/2020.07.24.220715DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7386501PMC
July 2020

Single-shot Ad26 vaccine protects against SARS-CoV-2 in rhesus macaques.

Nature 2020 10 30;586(7830):583-588. Epub 2020 Jul 30.

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

A safe and effective vaccine for severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2) may be required to end the coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) pandemic. For global deployment and pandemic control, a vaccine that requires only a single immunization would be optimal. Here we show the immunogenicity and protective efficacy of a single dose of adenovirus serotype 26 (Ad26) vector-based vaccines expressing the SARS-CoV-2 spike (S) protein in non-human primates. Fifty-two rhesus macaques (Macaca mulatta) were immunized with Ad26 vectors that encoded S variants or sham control, and then challenged with SARS-CoV-2 by the intranasal and intratracheal routes. The optimal Ad26 vaccine induced robust neutralizing antibody responses and provided complete or near-complete protection in bronchoalveolar lavage and nasal swabs after SARS-CoV-2 challenge. Titres of vaccine-elicited neutralizing antibodies correlated with protective efficacy, suggesting an immune correlate of protection. These data demonstrate robust single-shot vaccine protection against SARS-CoV-2 in non-human primates. The optimal Ad26 vector-based vaccine for SARS-CoV-2, termed Ad26.COV2.S, is currently being evaluated in clinical trials.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1038/s41586-020-2607-zDOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7581548PMC
October 2020

Evaluation of the mRNA-1273 Vaccine against SARS-CoV-2 in Nonhuman Primates.

N Engl J Med 2020 10 28;383(16):1544-1555. Epub 2020 Jul 28.

From the Vaccine Research Center (K.S.C., B. Flynn, K.E.F., J.R.F., S.B.-B., A.P.W., B. Flach, S. O'Connell, A.T.N., N.D., M.M.D., N.N.N., G.S.A., D.R.F., E.L., N.A.D.-R., B.C.L., M.K.L., S. O'Dell, S.D.S., E.P., L.A.C., C.Y., J.-P.M.T., W.S., Y.Z., O.M.A., L.W., A.P., E.S.Y., K.L., T.Z., I.-T.T., A.W., I.G., L.N., R.A.G., R.J.L., J.I.M., W.-P.K., K.M.M., T.J.R., J.E.L., M.R.G., P.D.K., J.R.M., A.M., N.J.S., M.R., R.A.S., B.S.G.), the Infectious Disease Pathogenesis Section (K.W.B., M.M., B.M.N., M.G.L.), and the Biostatistics Research Branch, Division of Clinical Research (M.C.N.), National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, National Institutes of Health, Bethesda, and Bioqual (H.A., L.P., A.V.R., S.B., J.G., T.P.-T., A.S., T.-A.C., A. Cook, A.D., K.S., I.N.M.) and the Public Health Service Commissioned Corps (M.R.G.), Rockville - both in Maryland; the Department of Epidemiology, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, Chapel Hill (D.R.M., R.S.B.); Moderna, Cambridge, MA (D.K.E., G.S.-J., S.H., A. Carfi); and the Institute for Biomedical Sciences, George Washington University, Washington, DC (E.P.).

Background: Vaccines to prevent coronavirus disease 2019 (Covid-19) are urgently needed. The effect of severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2) vaccines on viral replication in both upper and lower airways is important to evaluate in nonhuman primates.

Methods: Nonhuman primates received 10 or 100 μg of mRNA-1273, a vaccine encoding the prefusion-stabilized spike protein of SARS-CoV-2, or no vaccine. Antibody and T-cell responses were assessed before upper- and lower-airway challenge with SARS-CoV-2. Active viral replication and viral genomes in bronchoalveolar-lavage (BAL) fluid and nasal swab specimens were assessed by polymerase chain reaction, and histopathological analysis and viral quantification were performed on lung-tissue specimens.

Results: The mRNA-1273 vaccine candidate induced antibody levels exceeding those in human convalescent-phase serum, with live-virus reciprocal 50% inhibitory dilution (ID) geometric mean titers of 501 in the 10-μg dose group and 3481 in the 100-μg dose group. Vaccination induced type 1 helper T-cell (Th1)-biased CD4 T-cell responses and low or undetectable Th2 or CD8 T-cell responses. Viral replication was not detectable in BAL fluid by day 2 after challenge in seven of eight animals in both vaccinated groups. No viral replication was detectable in the nose of any of the eight animals in the 100-μg dose group by day 2 after challenge, and limited inflammation or detectable viral genome or antigen was noted in lungs of animals in either vaccine group.

Conclusions: Vaccination of nonhuman primates with mRNA-1273 induced robust SARS-CoV-2 neutralizing activity, rapid protection in the upper and lower airways, and no pathologic changes in the lung. (Funded by the National Institutes of Health and others.).
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1056/NEJMoa2024671DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7449230PMC
October 2020

SARS-CoV-2 infection protects against rechallenge in rhesus macaques.

Science 2020 08 20;369(6505):812-817. Epub 2020 May 20.

Janssen Vaccines & Prevention BV, Leiden, Netherlands.

An understanding of protective immunity to severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2) is critical for vaccine and public health strategies aimed at ending the global coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) pandemic. A key unanswered question is whether infection with SARS-CoV-2 results in protective immunity against reexposure. We developed a rhesus macaque model of SARS-CoV-2 infection and observed that macaques had high viral loads in the upper and lower respiratory tract, humoral and cellular immune responses, and pathologic evidence of viral pneumonia. After the initial viral clearance, animals were rechallenged with SARS-CoV-2 and showed 5 log reductions in median viral loads in bronchoalveolar lavage and nasal mucosa compared with after the primary infection. Anamnestic immune responses after rechallenge suggested that protection was mediated by immunologic control. These data show that SARS-CoV-2 infection induced protective immunity against reexposure in nonhuman primates.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1126/science.abc4776DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7243369PMC
August 2020

DNA vaccine protection against SARS-CoV-2 in rhesus macaques.

Science 2020 08 20;369(6505):806-811. Epub 2020 May 20.

Bioqual, Rockville, MD 20852, USA.

The global coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) pandemic caused by severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2) has made the development of a vaccine a top biomedical priority. In this study, we developed a series of DNA vaccine candidates expressing different forms of the SARS-CoV-2 spike (S) protein and evaluated them in 35 rhesus macaques. Vaccinated animals developed humoral and cellular immune responses, including neutralizing antibody titers at levels comparable to those found in convalescent humans and macaques infected with SARS-CoV-2. After vaccination, all animals were challenged with SARS-CoV-2, and the vaccine encoding the full-length S protein resulted in >3.1 and >3.7 log reductions in median viral loads in bronchoalveolar lavage and nasal mucosa, respectively, as compared with viral loads in sham controls. Vaccine-elicited neutralizing antibody titers correlated with protective efficacy, suggesting an immune correlate of protection. These data demonstrate vaccine protection against SARS-CoV-2 in nonhuman primates.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1126/science.abc6284DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7243363PMC
August 2020

The potent synthetic androgens, dimethandrolone (7α,11β-dimethyl-19-nortestosterone) and 11β-methyl-19-nortestosterone, do not require 5α-reduction to exert their maximal androgenic effects.

J Steroid Biochem Mol Biol 2010 Oct 25;122(4):212-8. Epub 2010 Jun 25.

Division of Reproductive Endocrinology and Toxicology, BIOQUAL, Inc, 9600 Medical Center Dr, Rockville, MD 20850, United States.

Dimethandrolone (DMA: 7α,11β-dimethyl-19-nortestosterone) and 11β-methyl-19-nortestosterone (MNT) are potent androgens in development for hormonal therapy in men. As 5α-reduced androgens, such as 5α-dihydrotestosterone (DHT), may raise the risk of benign prostate hyperplasia, accelerate the development of prostate carcinoma, and increase male pattern baldness and acne, we investigated the role of 5α-reduction in the androgenic activity of DMA and MNT. The authentic 5α-reduced metabolites, 5α-dihydroDMA (5α-DHDMA) and 5α-dihydroMNT (5α-DHMNT), were prepared by chemical synthesis and compared in vitro and in vivo to the parent compounds. Both 5α-reduced androgens bound with high affinity to the rat androgen receptor (AR) and were potent inducers of transactivation of 3XHRE-LUC in CV-1 cells cotransfected with a human AR expression plasmid. To examine in vivo androgenic (stimulation of ventral prostate [VP] and seminal vesicle [SV] weights) and anabolic (stimulation of levator ani [LA] muscle weights) activity, 22-day-old castrate male rats were treated sc for 7 days with various doses of DMA, 5α-DHDMA, or testosterone (T) or MNT, 5α-DHMNT, or T and necropsied on day 8. 5α-DHDMA was at least threefold more potent than T in stimulating growth of the VP but only 30-40% as potent as DMA. 5α-DHMNT was four- to eightfold more potent than T, whereas MNT was approximately equipotent to T. To assess the possible role of 5α-reduction in VP and SV growth, castrate immature rats were treated with maximally effective doses of T, DHT, DMA, MNT, or the related 19-norandrogen, 7α-methyl-19-nortestosterone (MENT), or vehicle, with or without dutasteride (DUT), an inhibitor of 5α-reductases types 1 and 2. In rats treated with T+DUT, serum T was significantly higher (P<0.05) than in rats treated with T alone, and serum DHT was decreased (P<0.001) to levels observed in castrate vehicle-treated rats. DUT significantly reduced both VP and SV weights in T-treated rats, whereas there was no significant effect of DUT on weights of these accessory sex glands in rats treated with DMA, MNT, DHT, or MENT. These results indicate that inhibition of 5α-reductase activity in vivo does not affect the androgenic potency of DMA, MNT, or MENT.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.jsbmb.2010.06.009DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2949447PMC
October 2010

Mechanism of action of l-CDB-4022, a potential nonhormonal male contraceptive, in the seminiferous epithelium of the rat testis.

Endocrinology 2008 Apr 3;149(4):1850-60. Epub 2008 Jan 3.

Division of Reproductive Endocrinology and Toxicology, BIOQUAL Inc., 9600 Medical Center Drive, Rockville, MD 20850-3336, USA.

The present study was conducted to elucidate the possible molecular mechanisms involved in the antispermatogenic activity of l-CDB-4022, an indenopyridine. In this study 45-d-old male Sprague-Dawley rats were treated with a single oral dose of l-CDB-4022 (2.5 mg/kg) or vehicle, and blood and testes were collected at various time points. The rate of body weight gain was not affected, but a significant loss of testes weight was induced by l-CDB-4022. Serum hormones were assayed using specific RIAs or ELISAs, and testicular protein and RNA were analyzed by Western blotting and RT-PCR, respectively. There was a significant decrease in inhibin B and concomitant increase in FSH in serum from l-CDB-4022-treated rats, but serum levels of activin A, testosterone, and LH were unchanged. Western analysis of testicular lysates from l-CDB-4022-treated rats exhibited phosphorylation of ERK1/2 at 4 h and later time points. Loss of nectin/afadin complex occurred at 48 h, but there was an increase in levels of integrin-beta1, N-cadherin, alpha-catenin, and beta-catenin protein at 24 h and later time points. Increase in expression of Fas ligand and Fas receptor was detected 8 and 24 h after l-CDB-4022 treatment. The ratio of the membrane to soluble form of stem cell factor mRNA was decreased. Immunohistochemical analysis of testicular sections indicated a dramatic disruption of the Sertoli cell microtubule network in l-CDB-4022-treated rats. Collectively, these results suggest that l-CDB-4022 activates the MAPK pathway, reduces expression of prosurvival factors such as the membrane form of stem cell factor, alters expression of Sertoli-germ cell adherens junction proteins, disrupts Sertoli cell microtubule structure, and induces the proapoptotic factor, Fas, culminating in germ cell loss from the seminiferous epithelium.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1210/en.2007-1332DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2276710PMC
April 2008
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