Publications by authors named "Lawrence Corey"

397 Publications

Safety and Efficacy of Single-Dose Ad26.COV2.S Vaccine against Covid-19.

N Engl J Med 2021 Apr 21. Epub 2021 Apr 21.

From Janssen Vaccines and Prevention, Leiden, the Netherlands (J. Sadoff, G. Shukarev, G. Scheper, M.L.G., H.S., J.V.H., M.D.); South African Research Council, Cape Town, South Africa (G.G.); Janssen Research and Development, Beerse, Belgium (A.V., C.T., H.F., B.S., K.O., M.F.R., N.C., T.T., K.H., J.R.G., F.S.); Janssen Research and Development, Spring House, PA (V.C.); Evandro Chagas National Institute of Infectious Diseases-Fiocruz, Rio de Janeiro (B.G.); the University of Alabama at Birmingham, Birmingham (P.A.G.); the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, Rockville (K.L.T., M.A.M.), Walter Reed Army Institute of Research, Silver Spring (M.L.R.), and the Center for Vaccine Development and Global Health, University of Maryland School of Medicine, Baltimore (K.M.N.) - all in Maryland; Biomedical Advanced Research and Development Authority, Washington, DC (J.T.); the Center for Virology and Vaccine Research, Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center, Boston (D.H.B.); Janssen Research and Development, Raritan, NJ (J. Stoddard); and Vaccine and Infectious Disease Division, Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center, Seattle (L.C.).

Background: The Ad26.COV2.S vaccine is a recombinant, replication-incompetent human adenovirus type 26 vector encoding full-length severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2) spike protein in a prefusion-stabilized conformation.

Methods: In an international, randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled, phase 3 trial, we randomly assigned adult participants in a 1:1 ratio to receive a single dose of Ad26.COV2.S (5×10 viral particles) or placebo. The primary end points were vaccine efficacy against moderate to severe-critical coronavirus disease 2019 (Covid-19) with an onset at least 14 days and at least 28 days after administration among participants in the per-protocol population who had tested negative for SARS-CoV-2. Safety was also assessed.

Results: The per-protocol population included 19,630 SARS-CoV-2-negative participants who received Ad26.COV2.S and 19,691 who received placebo. Ad26.COV2.S protected against moderate to severe-critical Covid-19 with onset at least 14 days after administration (116 cases in the vaccine group vs. 348 in the placebo group; efficacy, 66.9%; adjusted 95% confidence interval [CI], 59.0 to 73.4) and at least 28 days after administration (66 vs. 193 cases; efficacy, 66.1%; adjusted 95% CI, 55.0 to 74.8). Vaccine efficacy was higher against severe-critical Covid-19 (76.7% [adjusted 95% CI, 54.6 to 89.1] for onset at ≥14 days and 85.4% [adjusted 95% CI, 54.2 to 96.9] for onset at ≥28 days). Despite 86 of 91 cases (94.5%) in South Africa with sequenced virus having the 20H/501Y.V2 variant, vaccine efficacy was 52.0% and 64.0% against moderate to severe-critical Covid-19 with onset at least 14 days and at least 28 days after administration, respectively, and efficacy against severe-critical Covid-19 was 73.1% and 81.7%, respectively. Reactogenicity was higher with Ad26.COV2.S than with placebo but was generally mild to moderate and transient. The incidence of serious adverse events was balanced between the two groups. Three deaths occurred in the vaccine group (none were Covid-19-related), and 16 in the placebo group (5 were Covid-19-related).

Conclusions: A single dose of Ad26.COV2.S protected against symptomatic Covid-19 and asymptomatic SARS-CoV-2 infection and was effective against severe-critical disease, including hospitalization and death. Safety appeared to be similar to that in other phase 3 trials of Covid-19 vaccines. (Funded by Janssen Research and Development and others; ENSEMBLE ClinicalTrials.gov number, NCT04505722.).
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1056/NEJMoa2101544DOI Listing
April 2021

A Deferred-Vaccination Design to Assess Durability of COVID-19 Vaccine Effect After the Placebo Group Is Vaccinated.

Ann Intern Med 2021 Apr 13. Epub 2021 Apr 13.

University of Maryland School of Medicine, Baltimore, Maryland (K.M.N.).

Multiple candidate vaccines to prevent COVID-19 have entered large-scale phase 3 placebo-controlled randomized clinical trials, and several have demonstrated substantial short-term efficacy. At some point after demonstration of substantial efficacy, placebo recipients should be offered the efficacious vaccine from their trial, which will occur before longer-term efficacy and safety are known. The absence of a placebo group could compromise assessment of longer-term vaccine effects. However, by continuing follow-up after vaccination of the placebo group, this study shows that placebo-controlled vaccine efficacy can be mathematically derived by assuming that the benefit of vaccination over time has the same profile for the original vaccine recipients and the original placebo recipients after their vaccination. Although this derivation provides less precise estimates than would be obtained by a standard trial where the placebo group remains unvaccinated, this proposed approach allows estimation of longer-term effect, including durability of vaccine efficacy and whether the vaccine eventually becomes harmful for some. Deferred vaccination, if done open-label, may lead to riskier behavior in the unblinded original vaccine group, confounding estimates of long-term vaccine efficacy. Hence, deferred vaccination via blinded crossover, where the vaccine group receives placebo and vice versa, would be the preferred way to assess vaccine durability and potential delayed harm. Deferred vaccination allows placebo recipients timely access to the vaccine when it would no longer be proper to maintain them on placebo, yet still allows important insights about immunologic and clinical effectiveness over time.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.7326/M20-8149DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC8099035PMC
April 2021

B cells, antibody-secreting cells, and virus-specific antibodies respond to herpes simplex virus 2 reactivation in skin.

J Clin Invest 2021 May;131(9)

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

Tissue-based T cells are important effectors in the prevention and control of mucosal viral infections; less is known about tissue-based B cells. We demonstrate that B cells and antibody-secreting cells (ASCs) are present in inflammatory infiltrates in skin biopsy specimens from study participants during symptomatic herpes simplex virus 2 (HSV-2) reactivation and early healing. Both CD20+ B cells, most of which are antigen inexperienced based on their coexpression of IgD, and ASCs - characterized by dense IgG RNA expression in combination with CD138, IRF4, and Blimp-1 RNA - were found to colocalize with T cells. ASCs clustered with CD4+ T cells, suggesting the potential for crosstalk. HSV-2-specific antibodies to virus surface antigens were also present in tissue and increased in concentration during HSV-2 reactivation and healing, unlike in serum, where concentrations remained static over time. B cells, ASCs, and HSV-specific antibody were rarely detected in biopsies of unaffected skin. Evaluation of samples from serial biopsies demonstrated that B cells and ASCs followed a more migratory than resident pattern of infiltration in HSV-affected genital skin, in contrast to T cells. Together, these observations suggest the presence of distinct phenotypes of B cells in HSV-affected tissue; dissecting their role in reactivation may reveal new therapeutic avenues to control these infections.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1172/JCI142088DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC8087200PMC
May 2021

Vaccine Efficacy of ALVAC-HIV and Bivalent Subtype C gp120-MF59 in Adults.

N Engl J Med 2021 03;384(12):1089-1100

From the Vaccine and Infectious Disease Division, Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center (G.E.G., Z.M., N. Grunenberg, Y.H., D.G., B.P., J.J.K., J.H., C.B., S.R., S.T., M.J., M. Sikhosana, M. Andrasik, J.G.K., M.J.M., P.B.G., H.J., L.C.), Seattle; the Perinatal HIV Research Unit, Faculty of Health Sciences, University of the Witwatersrand (G.E.G., F.L., E.L., B.M., T.P., S.T.), the National Institute for Communicable Diseases, National Health Laboratory Service (A.P.), and Aurum Institute (C.I., M. Sebe, W.B., P.S., T.A., G. Kobane), Johannesburg, Desmond Tutu HIV Centre (L.-G.B., S.K., C.N.N., M. Atujuna), the Department of Medicine, Wellcome Centre for Infectious Diseases Research in Africa, and Institute of Infectious Disease and Molecular Medicine (G.M., A.M.W.), and the Division of Clinical Pharmacology, Department of Medicine (L.W.), University of Cape Town, Cape Town, Setshaba Research Centre, Soshanguve (M.M., K.S.M.), Mecru Clinical Research Unit, Sefako Mkgatho Health Sciences University, Ga-Rankuwa (M.N., M.P.M.), Nelson Mandela Academic Clinical Research Unit and Department of Internal Medicine and Pharmacology, Walter Sisulu University, Mthatha (T.D., P.M.), the School of Health Systems and Public Health, Faculty of Health Sciences, University of Pretoria, Pretoria (S.T.), the South African Medical Research Council (G.E.G., D.K., N.S., V.N., G. Kistnasami, Z.G.) and the Centre for the AIDS Programme of Research in South Africa, University of KwaZulu-Natal (N.N., N. Garrett), Durban, and Qhakaza Mbokodo Research Clinic, Ladysmith (P.K., P.B.M.) - all in South Africa; the Vaccine Research Program, Division of AIDS, National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, National Institutes of Health, Bethesda (M. Allen), and GlaxoSmithKline Vaccines, Rockville (N.K.-T.) - both in Maryland; the Department of Biostatistics and Bioinformatics, Rollins School of Public Health, Emory University, Atlanta (D.B.); GSK Vaccines, Cambridge, MA (S.W.B.); Sanofi Pasteur, Swiftwater, PA (S.P., C.D.G.); GlaxoSmithKline, Siena, Italy (S.P.); GlaxoSmithKline, Wavre (M.K.), and GlaxoSmithKline, Rixensart (O.V.D.M.) - both in Belgium; and the Graduate Group in Biostatistics and the Center for Computational Biology, University of California, Berkeley (N.S.H.).

Background: A safe, effective vaccine is essential to eradicating human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) infection. A canarypox-protein HIV vaccine regimen (ALVAC-HIV plus AIDSVAX B/E) showed modest efficacy in reducing infection in Thailand. An analogous regimen using HIV-1 subtype C virus showed potent humoral and cellular responses in a phase 1-2a trial in South Africa. Efficacy data and additional safety data were needed for this regimen in a larger population in South Africa.

Methods: In this phase 2b-3 trial, we randomly assigned 5404 adults without HIV-1 infection to receive the vaccine (2704 participants) or placebo (2700 participants). The vaccine regimen consisted of injections of ALVAC-HIV at months 0 and 1, followed by four booster injections of ALVAC-HIV plus bivalent subtype C gp120-MF59 adjuvant at months 3, 6, 12, and 18. The primary efficacy outcome was the occurrence of HIV-1 infection from randomization to 24 months.

Results: In January 2020, prespecified criteria for nonefficacy were met at an interim analysis; further vaccinations were subsequently halted. The median age of the trial participants was 24 years; 70% of the participants were women. The incidence of adverse events was similar in the vaccine and placebo groups. During the 24-month follow-up, HIV-1 infection was diagnosed in 138 participants in the vaccine group and in 133 in the placebo group (hazard ratio, 1.02; 95% confidence interval, 0.81 to 1.30; P = 0.84).

Conclusions: The ALVAC-gp120 regimen did not prevent HIV-1 infection among participants in South Africa despite previous evidence of immunogenicity. (HVTN 702 ClinicalTrials.gov number, NCT02968849.).
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1056/NEJMoa2031499DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7888373PMC
March 2021

Two Randomized Trials of Neutralizing Antibodies to Prevent HIV-1 Acquisition.

N Engl J Med 2021 03;384(11):1003-1014

From the Vaccine and Infectious Disease Division, Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center (L.C., P.B.G., M.J., S.T.K., A.C.C., E.R., Y.H., K.E.M., J. Hural, M.J.M.E., C.B., S.T., N.E., A.K.R., N.K., D.J.D., J.G.K., G.G.), and the Departments of Global Health, Microbiology, and Medicine, University of Washington (J.I.M.), Seattle; the Department of Surgery and Duke Human Vaccine Institute, Duke University Medical Center (D.C.M.), and FHI 360 (N.S., P.A.), Durham, and the Institute for Global Health and Infectious Disease, University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill (M.S.C.) - both in North Carolina; the National Institute for Communicable Diseases of the National Health Laboratory Service (L.M.) and the Antibody Immunity Research Unit, Faculty of Health Sciences (L.M.), and the Perinatal HIV Research Unit, Faculty of Health Sciences (F.L., E.M.L., S.T.), University of the Witwatersrand, Johannesburg, the Desmond Tutu HIV Centre, Department of Medicine and Institute of Infectious Disease and Molecular Medicine (C.O.), and the Division of Medical Virology (C.W.), University of Cape Town, Cape Town, the School of Health Systems and Public Health, Faculty of Health Sciences, University of Pretoria, Pretoria (S.T.), and the South African Medical Research Council, Tygerberg (G.G.) - all in South Africa; the Department of Medicine, Division of Infectious Diseases, Emory University, Atlanta (S.E.); the University of Zimbabwe College of Health Sciences Clinical Trials Research Centre, Harare, Zimbabwe (N.M.M., P.G.M.); Servicio de Enfermedades Infecciosas y Tropicales, Hospital Nacional Dos de Mayo (P.G.), Asociación Civil Via Libre (R.C.), Asociación Civil Impacta Salud y Educación (J.R.L.), and Centro de Investigaciones Tecnológicas, Biomédicas y Medioambientales, Universidad Nacional Mayor de San Marcos (J.S.), Lima, and Association Civil Selva Amazónica, Clinical Research Site, Iquitos (J. Hinojosa) - both in Peru; the Infectious Diseases Division, Perelman School of Medicine, University of Pennsylvania, Philadelphia (I.F.); the Division of Infectious Diseases, Department of Medicine, Columbia University Irving Medical Center, New York (M.E.S.); Botswana Harvard AIDS Institute, Gaborone, Botswana (J.M.); Brigham and Women's Hospital, Harvard Medical School, Boston (L.R.B.); and the Vaccine Research Program, Division of AIDS, National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, National Institutes of Health (NIH), Rockville (M.M.G.L.), the Prevention Sciences Program, Division of AIDS (D.N.B.), and the Vaccine Research Center (J.E.L., J.R.M.), National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, NIH, Bethesda, and Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine, Baltimore (E.P.-M.) - all in Maryland.

Background: Whether a broadly neutralizing antibody (bnAb) can be used to prevent human immunodeficiency virus type 1 (HIV-1) acquisition is unclear.

Methods: We enrolled at-risk cisgender men and transgender persons in the Americas and Europe in the HVTN 704/HPTN 085 trial and at-risk women in sub-Saharan Africa in the HVTN 703/HPTN 081 trial. Participants were randomly assigned to receive, every 8 weeks, infusions of a bnAb (VRC01) at a dose of either 10 or 30 mg per kilogram (low-dose group and high-dose group, respectively) or placebo, for 10 infusions in total. HIV-1 testing was performed every 4 weeks. The VRC01 80% inhibitory concentration (IC) of acquired isolates was measured with the TZM-bl assay.

Results: Adverse events were similar in number and severity among the treatment groups within each trial. Among the 2699 participants in HVTN 704/HPTN 085, HIV-1 infection occurred in 32 in the low-dose group, 28 in the high-dose group, and 38 in the placebo group. Among the 1924 participants in HVTN 703/HPTN 081, infection occurred in 28 in the low-dose group, 19 in the high-dose group, and 29 in the placebo group. The incidence of HIV-1 infection per 100 person-years in HVTN 704/HPTN 085 was 2.35 in the pooled VRC01 groups and 2.98 in the placebo group (estimated prevention efficacy, 26.6%; 95% confidence interval [CI], -11.7 to 51.8; P = 0.15), and the incidence per 100 person-years in HVTN 703/HPTN 081 was 2.49 in the pooled VRC01 groups and 3.10 in the placebo group (estimated prevention efficacy, 8.8%; 95% CI, -45.1 to 42.6; P = 0.70). In prespecified analyses pooling data across the trials, the incidence of infection with VRC01-sensitive isolates (IC <1 μg per milliliter) per 100 person-years was 0.20 among VRC01 recipients and 0.86 among placebo recipients (estimated prevention efficacy, 75.4%; 95% CI, 45.5 to 88.9). The prevention efficacy against sensitive isolates was similar for each VRC01 dose and trial; VRC01 did not prevent acquisition of other HIV-1 isolates.

Conclusions: VRC01 did not prevent overall HIV-1 acquisition more effectively than placebo, but analyses of VRC01-sensitive HIV-1 isolates provided proof-of-concept that bnAb prophylaxis can be effective. (Supported by the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases; HVTN 704/HPTN 085 and HVTN 703/HPTN 081 ClinicalTrials.gov numbers, NCT02716675 and NCT02568215.).
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1056/NEJMoa2031738DOI Listing
March 2021

A Phase 2b Study to Evaluate the Safety and Efficacy of VRC01 Broadly Neutralizing Monoclonal Antibody in Reducing Acquisition of HIV-1 Infection in Women in Sub-Saharan Africa: Baseline Findings.

J Acquir Immune Defic Syndr 2021 May;87(1):680-687

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

Background: HIV Vaccine Trials Network 703/HIV Prevention Trials Network 081 is a phase 2b randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled trial to assess the safety and efficacy of passively infused monoclonal antibody VRC01 in preventing HIV acquisition in heterosexual women between the ages of 18 and 50 years at risk of HIV. Participants were enrolled at 20 sites in Botswana, Kenya, Malawi, Mozambique, South Africa, Tanzania, and Zimbabwe. It is one of the 2 Antibody Mediated Prevention efficacy trials, with HIV Vaccine Trials Network 704/HIV Prevention Trials Network 085, evaluating VRC01 for HIV prevention.

Methods: Intense community engagement was used to optimize participant recruitment and retention. Participants were randomly assigned to receive intravenous VRC01 10 mg/kg, VRC01 30 mg/kg, or placebo in a 1:1:1 ratio. Infusions were given every 8 weeks with a total of 10 infusions and 104 weeks of follow-up after the first infusion.

Results: Between May 2016 and September 2018, 1924 women from sub-Saharan Africa were enrolled. The median age was 26 years (interquartile range: 22-30), and 98.9% were Black. Sexually transmitted infection prevalence at enrollment included chlamydia (16.9%), trichomonas (7.2%), gonorrhea (5.7%), and syphilis (2.2%). External condoms (83.2%) and injectable contraceptives (61.1%) were the methods of contraception most frequently used by participants. In total, through April 3, 2020, 38,490 clinic visits were completed with a retention rate of 96% and 16,807 infusions administered with an adherence rate of 98%.

Conclusions: This proof-of-concept, large-scale monoclonal antibody study demonstrates the feasibility of conducting complex trials involving intravenous infusions in high incidence populations in sub-Saharan Africa.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1097/QAI.0000000000002649DOI Listing
May 2021

Feasibility and Successful Enrollment in a Proof-of-Concept HIV Prevention Trial of VRC01, a Broadly Neutralizing HIV-1 Monoclonal Antibody.

J Acquir Immune Defic Syndr 2021 May;87(1):671-679

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

Background: The Antibody-Mediated Prevention trials (HVTN 704/HPTN 085 and HVTN 703/HPTN 081) are the first efficacy trials to evaluate whether VRC01, a broadly neutralizing monoclonal antibody targeting the CD4-binding site of the HIV envelope protein, prevents sexual transmission of HIV-1. HVTN 704/HPTN 085 enrolled 2701 cisgender men and transgender (TG) individuals who have sex with men at 26 sites in Brazil, Peru, Switzerland, and the United States.

Methods: Participants were recruited and retained through early, extensive community engagement. Eligible participants were randomized 1:1:1 to 10 mg/kg or 30 mg/kg of VRC01 or saline placebo. Visits occurred monthly, with intravenous (IV) infusions every 8 weeks over 2 years, for a total of 10 infusions. Participants were followed for 104 weeks after first infusion.

Results: The median HVTN 704/HPTN 085 participant age was 28 years; 99% were assigned male sex; 90% identified as cisgender men, 5% as TG women and the remaining as other genders. Thirty-two percent were White, 15% Black, and 57% Hispanic/Latinx. Twenty-eight percent had a sexually transmitted infection at enrollment. More than 23,000 infusions were administered with no serious IV administration complications. Overall, retention and adherence to the study schedule exceeded 90%, and the dropout rate was below 10% annually (7.3 per 100 person-years) through week 80, the last visit for the primary end point.

Conclusions: HVTN 704/HPTN 085 exceeded accrual and retention expectations. With exceptional safety of IV administration and operational feasibility, it paves the way for future large-scale monoclonal antibody trials for HIV prevention and/or treatment.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1097/QAI.0000000000002639DOI Listing
May 2021

Pharmacokinetics and predicted neutralisation coverage of VRC01 in HIV-uninfected participants of the Antibody Mediated Prevention (AMP) trials.

EBioMedicine 2021 Feb 23;64:103203. Epub 2021 Jan 23.

Perinatal HIV Research Unit (PHRU), Faculty of Health Sciences, University of the Witwatersrand, Johannesburg, Gauteng, South Africa.

The phase 2b AMP trials are testing whether the broadly neutralising antibody VRC01 prevents HIV-1 infection in two cohorts: women in sub-Saharan Africa, and men and transgender persons who have sex with men (MSM/TG) in the Americas and Switzerland. We used nonlinear mixed effects modelling of longitudinal serum VRC01 concentrations to characterise pharmacokinetics and predict HIV-1 neutralisation coverage. We found that body weight significantly influenced clearance, and that the mean peripheral volume of distribution, steady state volume of distribution, elimination half-life, and accumulation ratio were significantly higher in MSM/TG than in women. Neutralisation coverage was predicted to be higher in the first (versus second) half of a given 8-week infusion interval, and appeared to be higher in MSM/TG than in women overall. Study cohort differences in pharmacokinetics and neutralisation coverage provide insights for interpreting the AMP results and for investigating how VRC01 concentration and neutralisation correlate with HIV incidence.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.ebiom.2020.103203DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7841500PMC
February 2021

CRISPR-Cas9 gene editing of hepatitis B virus in chronically infected humanized mice.

Mol Ther Methods Clin Dev 2021 Mar 26;20:258-275. Epub 2020 Nov 26.

Vaccine and Infectious Disease Division, Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center, Seattle, WA 98109, USA.

Chronic hepatitis B virus (HBV) infection is a major public health problem. New treatment approaches are needed because current treatments do not target covalently closed circular DNA (cccDNA), the template for HBV replication, and rarely clear the virus. We harnessed adeno-associated virus (AAV) vectors and CRISPR- ()Cas9 to edit the HBV genome in liver-humanized FRG mice chronically infected with HBV and receiving entecavir. Gene editing was detected in livers of five of eight HBV-specific AAV-Cas9-treated mice, but not control mice, and mice with detectable HBV gene editing showed higher levels of Cas9 delivery to HBV human hepatocytes than those without gene editing. HBV-specific AAV-Cas9 therapy significantly improved survival of human hepatocytes, showed a trend toward decreasing total liver HBV DNA and cccDNA, and was well tolerated. This work provides evidence for the feasibility and safety of gene editing for chronic HBV infections, and it suggests that with further optimization, this approach may offer a plausible way to treat or even cure chronic HBV infections.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.omtm.2020.11.014DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7803634PMC
March 2021

Evaluating the Efficacy of COVID-19 Vaccines.

Clin Infect Dis 2020 Dec 19. Epub 2020 Dec 19.

Vaccine and Infectious Disease Division, Fred Hutch, Seattle, Washington, USA.

A large number of studies are being conducted to evaluate the efficacy and safety of candidate vaccines against novel coronavirus disease-2019 (COVID-19). Most Phase 3 tri- als have adopted virologically confirmed symptomatic COVID-19 disease as the primary efficacy endpoint, although laboratory-confirmed SARS-CoV-2 is also of interest. In addi- tion, it is important to evaluate the effect of vaccination on disease severity. To provide a full picture of vaccine efficacy and make efficient use of available data, we propose using SARS-CoV-2 infection, symptomatic COVID-19, and severe COVID-19 as dual or triple pri- mary endpoints. We demonstrate the advantages of this strategy through realistic simulation studies. Finally, we show how this approach can provide rigorous interim monitoring of the trials and efficient assessment of the durability of vaccine efficacy.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1093/cid/ciaa1863DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7799296PMC
December 2020

Assessing Durability of Vaccine Effect Following Blinded Crossover in COVID-19 Vaccine Efficacy Trials.

medRxiv 2020 Dec 14. Epub 2020 Dec 14.

University of Maryland School of Medicine, Baltimore, MD, USA.

Background: Several candidate vaccines to prevent COVID-19 disease have entered large-scale phase 3 placebo-controlled randomized clinical trials and some have demonstrated substantial short-term efficacy. Efficacious vaccines should, at some point, be offered to placebo participants, which will occur before long-term efficacy and safety are known.

Methods: Following vaccination of the placebo group, we show that placebo-controlled vaccine efficacy can be derived by assuming the benefit of vaccination over time has the same profile for the original vaccine recipients and the placebo crossovers. This reconstruction allows estimation of both vaccine durability and potential vaccine-associated enhanced disease.

Results: Post-crossover estimates of vaccine efficacy can provide insights about durability, identify waning efficacy, and identify late enhancement of disease, but are less reliable estimates than those obtained by a standard trial where the placebo cohort is maintained. As vaccine efficacy estimates for post-crossover periods depend on prior vaccine efficacy estimates, longer pre-crossover periods with higher case counts provide better estimates of late vaccine efficacy. Further, open-label crossover may lead to riskier behavior in the immediate crossover period for the unblinded vaccine arm, confounding vaccine efficacy estimates for all post-crossover periods.

Conclusions: We advocate blinded crossover and continued follow-up of trial participants to best assess vaccine durability and potential delayed enhancement of disease. This approach allows placebo recipients timely access to the vaccine when it would no longer be proper to maintain participants on placebo, yet still allows important insights about immunological and clinical effectiveness over time.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1101/2020.12.14.20248137DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7745130PMC
December 2020

Evaluation of SARS-CoV-2 neutralization assays for antibody monitoring in natural infection and vaccine trials.

medRxiv 2020 Dec 8. Epub 2020 Dec 8.

Determinants of protective immunity against SARS-CoV-2 infection require the development of well-standardized, reproducible antibody assays to be utilized in concert with clinical trials to establish correlates of risk and protection. This need has led to the appearance of a variety of neutralization assays used by different laboratories and companies. Using plasma samples from COVID-19 convalescent individuals with mild-to-moderate disease from a localized outbreak in a single region of the western US, we compared three platforms for SARS-CoV-2 neutralization: assay with live SARS-CoV-2, pseudovirus assay utilizing lentiviral (LV) and vesicular stomatitis virus (VSV) packaging, and a surrogate ELISA test. Vero, Vero E6, HEK293T cells expressing human angiotensin converting enzyme 2 (hACE2), and TZM-bl cells expressing hACE2 and transmembrane serine protease 2 (TMPRSS2) were evaluated. Live-virus and LV-pseudovirus assay with HEK293T cells showed similar geometric mean titers (GMTs) ranging 141-178, but VSV-pseudovirus assay yielded significantly higher GMT (310 95%CI 211-454; p < 0.001). Fifty percent neutralizing dilution (ND50) titers from live-virus and all pseudovirus assay readouts were highly correlated (Pearson = 0.81-0.89). ND50 titers positively correlated with plasma concentration of IgG against SARS-CoV-2 spike and receptor binding domain (RBD) ( = 0.63-0.89), but moderately correlated with nucleoprotein IgG ( = 0.46-0.73). There was a moderate positive correlation between age and spike (Spearman's rho=0.37, p=0.02), RBD (rho=0.39, p=0.013) and nucleoprotein IgG (rho=0.45, p=0.003). ND80 showed stronger correlation with age than ND50 (ND80 rho=0.51 (p=0.001), ND50 rho=0.28 (p=0.075)). Our data demonstrate high concordance between cell-based assays with live and pseudotyped virions.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1101/2020.12.07.20245431DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7743084PMC
December 2020

Intramuscular and Intradermal Electroporation of HIV-1 PENNVAX-GP DNA Vaccine and IL-12 Is Safe, Tolerable, Acceptable in Healthy Adults.

Vaccines (Basel) 2020 Dec 7;8(4). Epub 2020 Dec 7.

Wistar Institute, Philadelphia, PA 19104, USA.

Several techniques are under investigation to improve the immunogenicity of HIV-1 DNA vaccine candidates. DNA vaccines are advantageous due to their ease of design, expression of multiple antigens, and safety.

Methods: The HVTN 098 trial assessed the PENNVAX-GP DNA vaccine (encoding HIV , , ) administered with or without plasmid IL-12 at 0-, 1-, 3-, and 6-month timepoints via intradermal (ID) or intramuscular (IM) electroporation (EP) in healthy, adult participants. We report on safety, tolerability, and acceptability.

Results: HVTN 098 enrolled 94 participants: 85 received PENNVAX-GP and nine received placebo. Visual analog scale (VAS) pain scores immediately after each vaccination were lower in the ID/EP than in the IM/EP group (medians 4.1-4.6 vs. 6-6.5, < 0.01). IM/EP participants reported greater pain and/or tenderness at the injection site. Most ID/EP participants had skin lesions such as scabs/eschars, scars, and pigmentation changes, which resolved within 6 months in 51% of participants (24/55). Eighty-two percent of IM/EP and 92% of ID/EP participant survey responses showed acceptable levels of discomfort.

Conclusions: ID/EP and IM/EP are distinct experiences; however, HIV-1 DNA vaccination by either route was safe, tolerable and acceptable by most study participants.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.3390/vaccines8040741DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7762306PMC
December 2020

The association of α4β7 expression with HIV acquisition and disease progression in people who inject drugs and men who have sex with men: Case control studies.

EBioMedicine 2020 Dec 7;62:103102. Epub 2020 Nov 7.

Laboratory of Immunoregulation, Division of Intramural Research, National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, National Institutes of Health, Bethesda, MD, United States; Department of Medicine, Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine, Baltimore, MD, United States.

Background: α4β7 is a gut-homing integrin heterodimer that can act as a non-essential binding molecule for HIV. A previous study in heterosexual African women found that individuals with higher proportions of α4β7 expressing CD4 T cells were more likely to become infected with HIV, as well as present with faster disease progression. It is unknown if this phenomenon is also observed in men who have sex with men (MSM) or people who inject drugs (PWID).

Methods: MSM and transgender women who seroconverted as part of the HVTN 505 HIV vaccine trial and PWID who seroconverted during the ALIVE cohort study were selected as cases and matched to HIV-uninfected controls from the same studies (1:1 and 1:3, respectively). Pre-seroconversion PBMC samples from cases and controls in both studies were examined by flow cytometry to measure levels of α4β7 expression on CD4 T cells. Multivariable conditional logistic regression was used to compare α4β7 expression levels between cases and controls. A Kaplan-Meier curve was used to examine the association of α4β7 expression pre-seroconversion with HIV disease progression.

Findings: In MSM and transgender women (n = 103 cases, 103 controls), there was no statistically significant difference in the levels of α4β7 expression on CD4 T cells between cases and controls (adjusted odds ratio [adjOR] =1.10, 95% confidence interval [CI]=0.94,1.29; p = 0.246). Interestingly, in PWID (n = 49 cases, 143 controls), cases had significantly lower levels of α4β7 expression compared to their matched controls (adjOR = 0.80, 95% CI = 0.68, 0.93; p = 0.004). Among HIV-positive PWID (n = 47), there was no significant association in HIV disease progression in individuals above or below the median level of α4β7 expression (log-rank p = 0.84).

Interpretation: In contrast to findings in heterosexual women, higher α4β7 expression does not predict HIV acquisition or disease progression in PWID or MSM.

Funding: This study was supported in part by the Division of Intramural Research, National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases (NIAID), National Institutes of Health. The study was also supported by extramural grants from NIAID T32AI102623 (E.U.P.), and UM1AI069470.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.ebiom.2020.103102DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7658649PMC
December 2020

Use of adenovirus type-5 vectored vaccines: a cautionary tale.

Lancet 2020 10 19;396(10260):e68-e69. Epub 2020 Oct 19.

Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Institute, Seattle, WA, USA; Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center, Vaccine and Infectious Disease Division, University of Washington, Seattle, WA, USA.

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http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/S0140-6736(20)32156-5DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7571904PMC
October 2020

Clinical Endpoints for Evaluating Efficacy in COVID-19 Vaccine Trials.

Ann Intern Med 2021 02 22;174(2):221-228. Epub 2020 Oct 22.

Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center and University of Washington, Seattle, Washington (T.R.F., E.R.B., M.C., L.C., P.B.G.).

Several vaccine candidates to protect against severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2) infection or coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) have entered or will soon enter large-scale, phase 3, placebo-controlled randomized clinical trials. To facilitate harmonized evaluation and comparison of the efficacy of these vaccines, a general set of clinical endpoints is proposed, along with considerations to guide the selection of the primary endpoints on the basis of clinical and statistical reasoning. The plausibility that vaccine protection against symptomatic COVID-19 could be accompanied by a shift toward more SARS-CoV-2 infections that are asymptomatic is highlighted, as well as the potential implications of such a shift.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.7326/M20-6169DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7596738PMC
February 2021

Prospects for a safe COVID-19 vaccine.

Sci Transl Med 2020 11 19;12(568). Epub 2020 Oct 19.

Departments of Pediatrics and Microbiology and Immunology, Stanford University School of Medicine, Stanford, CA 94305, USA.

Rapid development of an efficacious vaccine against the viral pathogen severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus-2 (SARS-CoV-2), the cause of the coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) pandemic, is essential, but rigorous studies are required to determine the safety of candidate vaccines. Here, on behalf of the Accelerating COVID-19 Therapeutic Interventions and Vaccines (ACTIV) Working Group, we evaluate research on the potential risk of immune enhancement of disease by vaccines and viral infections, including coronavirus infections, together with emerging data about COVID-19 disease. Vaccine-associated enhanced disease has been rarely encountered with existing vaccines or viral infections. Although animal models of SARS-CoV-2 infection may elucidate mechanisms of immune protection, we need observations of enhanced disease in people receiving candidate COVID-19 vaccines to understand the risk of immune enhancement of disease. Neither principles of immunity nor preclinical studies provide a basis for prioritizing among the COVID-19 vaccine candidates with respect to safety at this time. Rigorous clinical trial design and postlicensure surveillance should provide a reliable strategy to identify adverse events, including the potential for enhanced severity of COVID-19 disease, after vaccination.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1126/scitranslmed.abe0948DOI Listing
November 2020

Safety and immunogenicity of two heterologous HIV vaccine regimens in healthy, HIV-uninfected adults (TRAVERSE): a randomised, parallel-group, placebo-controlled, double-blind, phase 1/2a study.

Lancet HIV 2020 10;7(10):e688-e698

Janssen Research and Development, Titusville, NJ, USA.

Background: Bioinformatically designed mosaic antigens increase the breadth of HIV vaccine-elicited immunity. This study compared the safety, tolerability, and immunogenicity of a newly developed, tetravalent Ad26 vaccine with the previously tested trivalent formulation.

Methods: This randomised, parallel-group, placebo-controlled, double-blind, phase 1/2a study (TRAVERSE) was done at 11 centres in the USA and one centre in Rwanda. Eligible participants were adults aged 18 to 50 years, who were HIV-uninfected, healthy at screening based on their medical history and a physical examination including laboratory assessment and vital sign measurements, and at low risk of HIV infection in the opinion of study staff, who applied a uniform definition of low-risk guidelines that was aligned across sites. Enrolled participants were randomly assigned at a 2:1 ratio to tetravalent and trivalent groups. Participants in tetravalent and trivalent groups were then further randomly assigned at a 5:1 ratio to adenovirus 26 (Ad26)-vectored vaccine and placebo subgroups. Randomisation was stratified by region (USA and Rwanda) and based on a computer-generated schedule using randomly permuted blocks prepared under the sponsor's supervision. We masked participants and investigators to treatment allocation throughout the study. On day 0, participants received a first injection of tetravalent vaccine (Ad26.Mos4.HIV or placebo) or trivalent vaccine (Ad26.Mos.HIV or placebo), and those injections were repeated 12 weeks later. At week 24, vaccine groups received a third dose of tetravalent or trivalent together with clade C gp140, and this was repeated at week 48, with placebos again administered to the placebo group. All study vaccines and placebo were administered by intramuscular injection in the deltoid muscle. We assessed adverse events in all participants who received at least one study injection (full analysis set) and Env-specific binding antibodies in all participants who received at least the first three vaccinations according to the protocol-specified vaccination schedule, had at least one measured post-dose blood sample collected, and were not diagnosed with HIV during the study (per-protocol set). This study is registered with Clinicaltrials.gov, NCT02788045.

Findings: Of 201 participants who were enrolled and randomly assigned, 198 received the first vaccination: 110 were in the tetravalent group, 55 in the trivalent group, and 33 in the placebo group. Overall, 185 (93%) completed two scheduled vaccinations per protocol, 180 (91%) completed three, and 164 (83%) completed four. Solicited, self-limiting local, systemic reactogenicity and unsolicited adverse events were similar in vaccine groups and higher than in placebo groups. All participants in the per-protocol set developed clade C Env binding antibodies after the second vaccination, with higher total IgG titres after the tetravalent vaccine than after the trivalent vaccine (10 413 EU/mL, 95% CI 7284-14 886 in the tetravalent group compared with 5494 EU/mL, 3759-8029 in the trivalent group). Titres further increased after the third and fourth vaccinations, persisting at least through week 72. Other immune responses were also higher with the tetravalent vaccine, including the magnitude and breadth of binding antibodies against a cross-clade panel of Env antigens, and the magnitude of IFNγ ELISPOT responses (median 521 SFU/10 peripheral blood mononuclear cells [PBMCs] in the tetravalent group and median 282 SFU/10 PBMCs in the trivalent group after the fourth vaccination) and Env-specific CD4+ T-cell response rates after the third and fourth vaccinations. No interference by pre-existing Ad26 immunity was identified.

Interpretation: The tetravalent vaccine regimen was generally safe, well-tolerated, and found to elicit higher immune responses than the trivalent regimen. Regimens that use this tetravalent vaccine component are being advanced into field trials to assess efficacy against HIV-1 infection.

Funding: National Institutes of Health, Henry M Jackson Foundation for Advancement of Military Medicine and the US Department of Defense, Ragon Institute of MGH, MIT, & Harvard, Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, and Janssen Vaccines & Prevention.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/S2352-3018(20)30229-0DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7529856PMC
October 2020

Real-Time Killing Assays to Assess the Potency of a New Anti-Simian Immunodeficiency Virus Chimeric Antigen Receptor T Cell.

AIDS Res Hum Retroviruses 2020 12 5;36(12):998-1009. Epub 2020 Nov 5.

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

The success of chimeric antigen receptor (CAR) T cell therapies for treating leukemia has resulted in a booming interest for the technology. Expression of a CAR in T cells allows redirection of their natural cytolytic activity toward cells presenting a specific designated surface antigen. Although CAR T cell therapies have thus far shown promising results mostly in B cell malignancy trials, interest in their potential to treat other diseases is on the rise, including using CAR T cells to control human immunodeficiency virus infection. The assessment of CAR T cell potency toward specific targets is a critical preclinical step. In this study, we describe novel assays that monitor the cytotoxicity of candidate CAR T cells toward simian immunodeficiency virus (SIV) infected CD4 T cells. The assays involve live cell imaging using a fluorescence microscopy system that records in real time the disappearance or appearance of targets infected with SIV carrying a fluorescent protein gene. The assays are highly reproducible, and their rapid turn around and reduced cost present a significant advance regarding the efficient preclinical evaluation of CAR T cell constructs and are broadly applicable to potential human diseases that could benefit from CAR T cell therapy.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1089/AID.2020.0163DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7703091PMC
December 2020

CMV viral load kinetics as surrogate endpoints after allogeneic transplantation.

J Clin Invest 2021 Jan;131(1)

Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center, Seattle, Washington, USA.

BACKGROUNDViral load (VL) surrogate endpoints transformed development of HIV and hepatitis C therapeutics. Surrogate endpoints for CMV-related morbidity and mortality could advance development of antiviral treatments. Although observational data support using CMV VL as a trial endpoint, randomized controlled trials (RCTs) demonstrating direct associations between virological markers and clinical endpoints are lacking.METHODSWe performed CMV DNA PCR on frozen serum samples from the only placebo-controlled RCT of ganciclovir for early treatment of CMV after hematopoietic cell transplantation (HCT). We used established criteria to assess VL kinetics as surrogates for CMV disease or death by weeks 8, 24, and 48 after randomization and quantified antiviral effects captured by each marker. We used ensemble-based machine learning to assess the predictive ability of VL kinetics and performed this analysis on a ganciclovir prophylaxis RCT for validation.RESULTSVL suppression with ganciclovir reduced cumulative incidence of CMV disease and death for 20 years after HCT. Mean VL, peak VL, and change in VL during the first 5 weeks of treatment fulfilled the Prentice definition for surrogacy, capturing more than 95% of ganciclovir's effect, and yielded highly sensitive and specific predictions by week 48. In the prophylaxis trial, the viral shedding rate satisfied the Prentice definition for CMV disease by week 24.CONCLUSIONSOur results support using CMV VL kinetics as surrogates for CMV disease, provide a framework for developing CMV preventative and therapeutic agents, and support reductions in VL as the mechanism through which antivirals reduce CMV disease.FUNDINGMerck Sharp & Dohme Corp., a subsidiary of Merck & Co., Inc.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1172/JCI133960DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7773411PMC
January 2021

High Community SARS-CoV-2 Antibody Seroprevalence in a Ski Resort Community, Blaine County, Idaho, US. Preliminary Results.

medRxiv 2020 Jul 21. Epub 2020 Jul 21.

Vaccine and Infectious Diseases Division, Fred Hutch Cancer Research Center, Seattle WA; Division of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, Department of Medicine, University of Washington, Seattle WA; Department of Laboratory Medicine and Pathology, University of Washington, Seattle WA.

Community-level seroprevalence surveys are needed to determine the proportion of the population with previous SARS-CoV-2 infection, a necessary component of COVID-19 disease surveillance. In May, 2020, we conducted a cross-sectional seroprevalence study of IgG antibodies for nucleocapsid of SARS-CoV-2 among the residents of Blaine County, Idaho, a ski resort community with high COVID-19 attack rates in late March and Early April (2.9% for ages 18 and older). Participants were selected from volunteers who registered via a secure web link, using prestratification weighting to the population distribution by age and gender within each ZIP Code. Participants completed a survey reporting their demographics and symptoms; 88% of volunteers who were invited to participate completed data collection survey and had 10 ml of blood drawn. Serology was completed via the Abbott Architect SARS-CoV-2 IgG immunoassay. Primary analyses estimated seroprevalence and 95% credible intervals (CI) using a hierarchical Bayesian framework to account for diagnostic uncertainty. Stratified models were run by age, sex, ZIP Code, ethnicity, employment status, and participant-reported COVID-19 status. Sensitivity analyses to estimate seroprevalence included base models with post-stratification for ethnicity, age, and sex, with or without adjustment for multi-participant households. IgG antibodies to the virus that causes COVID-19 were found among 22.7% (95% CI: 20.1%, 25.5%) of residents of Blaine County. Higher levels of antibodies were found among residents of the City of Ketchum 34.8% (95% CI 29.3%, 40.5%), compared to Hailey 16.8% (95%CI 13.7%, 20.3%) and Sun Valley 19.4% (95% 11.8%, 28.4%). People who self-identified as not believing they had COVID-19 had the lowest prevalence 4.8% (95% CI 2.3%, 8.2%). The range of seroprevalence after correction for potential selection bias was 21.9% to 24.2%. This study suggests more than 80% of SARS-CoV-2 infections were not reported. Although Blaine County had high levels of SARS-CoV-2 infection, the community is not yet near the herd immunity threshold.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1101/2020.07.19.20157198DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7386534PMC
July 2020

Long-term mucosal T cell activation and homing phenotypes in recipients of an Ad5-vectored HIV vaccine.

Vaccine 2020 08 14;38(36):5814-5821. Epub 2020 Jul 14.

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

Background: Vaccine-induced mucosal immune responses may be critical for protection against HIV infection, but may also result in short or long-term changes that enhance susceptibility to infection in some individuals, such as those with baseline seroreactivity to vaccine vector antigens. We examined cellular immune responses in blood and gut mucosal tissue roughly two years following vaccination with placebo or the Step study vaccine MRKAd5/HIV-1.

Methods: Participants vaccinated with either placebo or MRKAd5/HIV-1 during participation in HVTN 071, and HVTN 502/Merck 023 underwent phlebotomy and colonic mucosal biopsies via flexible sigmoidoscopy at two timepoints roughly six months apart. After isolation of mononuclear cells, we compared cellular phenotypes and intracellular cytokine responses in vaccine and placebo recipients with and without baseline serological reactivity to Ad5.

Results: Surface expression of activation and gut-homing markers were elevated on CD4 + and CD8 + gut mucosal mononuclear cells (GMMC) in comparison with PBMC (p < 0.01), but were not significantly affected by baseline Ad5 serostatus or receipt of MRKAd5/HIV-1. ICS responses to stimulation with vaccine antigens were of low frequency and magnitude. Ad5 vector responses were seen in vaccinees and baseline seropositive individuals. CD4 + responses to vector antigens were more common in GMMC than PBMC (p < 0.01) and CD8 + responses to HIV gag insert antigens were more frequent in Ad5 seropositive than Ad5 seronegative individuals (p = 0.03).

Conclusion: Vaccination with the Ad5 vectored candidate HIV vaccine MRKAd5/HIV-1 does not lead to long-term changes in the activation state of mucosal CD4 + or CD8 + T lymphocytes regardless of baseline Ad5 serostatus. The findings of this study do not reveal a basis for enhanced susceptibility to HIV infection two years post vaccination.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.vaccine.2020.06.043DOI Listing
August 2020

An Early Test-and-Treat Strategy for Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome Coronavirus 2.

Open Forum Infect Dis 2020 Jul 12;7(7):ofaa232. Epub 2020 Jun 12.

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

As coronavirus disease 2019 cases and deaths continue to expand globally, there is an urgent need to develop, test, and approve effective antiviral therapies. Currently, a majority of clinical trials are evaluating therapies in patients who are already hospitalized with severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS CoV-2) infection. Given that the median time between development of symptoms and need for hospitalization is 1 week, a golden opportunity to intervene early is being missed. Indeed, for many other viral infections, early treatment soon after development of symptoms is associated with decreased mortality, lower hospitalization rates, and lower likelihood of transmission to others. In this study, we advocate for randomized, double-blind, placebo controlled, clinical trials to evaluate promising agents early during SARS CoV-2 infection.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1093/ofid/ofaa232DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7313828PMC
July 2020

Robust antibody and cellular responses induced by DNA-only vaccination for HIV.

JCI Insight 2020 07 9;5(13). Epub 2020 Jul 9.

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

BACKGROUNDHVTN 098, a randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled trial, evaluated the safety, tolerability, and immunogenicity of PENNVAX-GP HIV DNA vaccine, administered with or without plasmid IL-12 (pIL-12), via intradermal (ID) or intramuscular (IM) electroporation (EP) in healthy, HIV-uninfected adults. The study tested whether PENNVAX-GP delivered via ID/EP at one-fifth the dose could elicit equivalent immune responses to delivery via IM/EP and whether inclusion of pIL-12 provided additional benefit.METHODSParticipants received DNA encoding HIV-1 env/gag/pol in 3 groups: 1.6 mg ID (ID no IL-12 group, n = 20), 1.6 mg ID + 0.4 mg pIL-12 (ID + IL-12 group, n = 30), 8 mg IM + 1 mg pIL-12 (IM + IL-12 group, n = 30), or placebo (n = 9) via EP at 0, 1, 3, and 6 months. Results of cellular and humoral immunogenicity assessments are reported.RESULTSFollowing vaccination, the frequency of responders (response rate) to any HIV protein based on CD4+ T cells expressing IFN-γ or IL-2 was 96% for both the ID + IL-12 and IM + IL-12 groups; CD8+ T cell response rates were 64% and 44%, respectively. For ID delivery, the inclusion of pIL-12 increased CD4+ T cell response rate from 56% to 96%. The frequency of responders was similar (≥90%) for IgG binding antibody to gp140 consensus Env across all groups, but the magnitude was higher in the ID + IL-12 group compared with the IM + IL-12 group.CONCLUSIONPENNVAX-GP DNA induced robust cellular and humoral immune responses, demonstrating that immunogenicity of DNA vaccines can be enhanced by EP route and inclusion of pIL-12. ID/EP was dose sparing, inducing equivalent, or in some aspects superior, immune responses compared with IM/EP.TRIAL REGISTRATIONClinicalTrials.gov NCT02431767.FUNDINGThis work was supported by National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases (NIAID), U.S. Public Health Service grants, an HIV Vaccine Design and Development Team contract, Integrated Preclinical/Clinical AIDS Vaccine Development Program, and an NIH award.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1172/jci.insight.137079DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7406303PMC
July 2020

A strategic approach to COVID-19 vaccine R&D.

Science 2020 05 11;368(6494):948-950. Epub 2020 May 11.

National Institutes of Health, Bethesda, MD 20892, USA.

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http://dx.doi.org/10.1126/science.abc5312DOI Listing
May 2020

Combination prevention for COVID-19.

Science 2020 05;368(6491):551

Lawrence Corey is a professor in the Vaccine and Infectious Disease Division at the Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center, Seattle, WA, and a Professor of Laboratory Medicine and Medicine at the University of Washington, Seattle, WA, USA.

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http://dx.doi.org/10.1126/science.abc5798DOI Listing
May 2020

Tissue-resident T cell-derived cytokines eliminate herpes simplex virus-2-infected cells.

J Clin Invest 2020 06;130(6):2903-2919

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

The mechanisms underlying rapid elimination of herpes simplex virus-2 (HSV-2) in the human genital tract despite low CD8+ and CD4+ tissue-resident T cell (Trm cell) density are unknown. We analyzed shedding episodes during chronic HSV-2 infection; viral clearance always predominated within 24 hours of detection even when viral load exceeded 1 × 107 HSV DNA copies, and surges in granzyme B and IFN-γ occurred within the early hours after reactivation and correlated with local viral load. We next developed an agent-based mathematical model of an HSV-2 genital ulcer to integrate mechanistic observations of Trm cells in in situ proliferation, trafficking, cytolytic effects, and cytokine alarm signaling from murine studies with viral kinetics, histopathology, and lesion size data from humans. A sufficiently high density of HSV-2-specific Trm cells predicted rapid elimination of infected cells, but our data suggest that such Trm cell densities are relatively uncommon in infected tissues. At lower, more commonly observed Trm cell densities, Trm cells must initiate a rapidly diffusing, polyfunctional cytokine response with activation of bystander T cells in order to eliminate a majority of infected cells and eradicate briskly spreading HSV-2 infection.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1172/JCI132583DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7260013PMC
June 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

Mathematical modeling to reveal breakthrough mechanisms in the HIV Antibody Mediated Prevention (AMP) trials.

PLoS Comput Biol 2020 02 21;16(2):e1007626. Epub 2020 Feb 21.

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

The ongoing Antibody Mediated Prevention (AMP) trials will uncover whether passive infusion of the broadly neutralizing antibody (bNAb) VRC01 can protect against HIV acquisition. Previous statistical simulations indicate these trials may be partially protective. In that case, it will be crucial to identify the mechanism of breakthrough infections. To that end, we developed a mathematical modeling framework to simulate the AMP trials and infer the breakthrough mechanisms using measurable trial outcomes. This framework combines viral dynamics with antibody pharmacokinetics and pharmacodynamics, and will be generally applicable to forthcoming bNAb prevention trials. We fit our model to human viral load data (RV217). Then, we incorporated VRC01 neutralization using serum pharmacokinetics (HVTN 104) and in vitro pharmacodynamics (LANL CATNAP database). We systematically explored trial outcomes by reducing in vivo potency and varying the distribution of sensitivity to VRC01 in circulating strains. We found trial outcomes could be used in a clinical trial regression model (CTRM) to reveal whether partially protective trials were caused by large fractions of VRC01-resistant (IC50>50 μg/mL) circulating strains or rather a global reduction in VRC01 potency against all strains. The former mechanism suggests the need to enhance neutralizing antibody breadth; the latter suggests the need to enhance VRC01 delivery and/or in vivo binding. We will apply the clinical trial regression model to data from the completed trials to help optimize future approaches for passive delivery of anti-HIV neutralizing antibodies.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1371/journal.pcbi.1007626DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7055956PMC
February 2020