Publications by authors named "Noe B Mercado"

26 Publications

  • Page 1 of 1

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

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

Persistence of viral RNA in lymph nodes in ART-suppressed SIV/SHIV-infected Rhesus Macaques.

Nat Commun 2021 03 5;12(1):1474. Epub 2021 Mar 5.

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

The establishment of a long-lived viral reservoir is the key obstacle for achieving an HIV-1 cure. However, the anatomic, virologic, and immunologic features of the viral reservoir in tissues during antiretroviral therapy (ART) remain poorly understood. Here we present a comprehensive necroscopic analysis of the SIV/SHIV viral reservoir in multiple lymphoid and non-lymphoid tissues from SIV/SHIV-infected rhesus macaques suppressed with ART for one year. Viral DNA is observed broadly in multiple tissues and is comparable in animals that had initiated ART at week 1 or week 52 of infection. In contrast, viral RNA is restricted primarily to lymph nodes. Ongoing viral RNA transcription is not the result of unsuppressed viral replication, as single-genome amplification and subsequent phylogenetic analysis do not show evidence of viral evolution. Gag-specific CD8+ T cell responses are predominantly observed in secondary lymphoid organs in animals chronically infected prior to ART and these responses are dominated by CD69+ populations. Overall, we observe that the viral reservoir in rhesus macaques is widely distributed across multiple tissue sites and that lymphoid tissues act as a site of persistent viral RNA transcription under conditions of long-term ART suppression.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1038/s41467-021-21724-0DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7935896PMC
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

Comparison of Subgenomic and Total RNA in SARS-CoV-2 Challenged Rhesus Macaques.

J Virol 2021 Jan 20. Epub 2021 Jan 20.

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

Respiratory virus challenge studies involve administration of the challenge virus and sampling to assess for protection from the same anatomical locations. It can therefore be difficult to differentiate actively replicating virus from input challenge virus. For SARS-CoV-2, specific monitoring of actively replicating virus is critical to investigate the protective and therapeutic efficacy of vaccines, monoclonal antibodies, and antiviral drugs. We developed a SARS-CoV-2 subgenomic RNA (sgRNA) RT-PCR assay to differentiate productive infection from inactivated or neutralized virus. Subgenomic RNAs are generated after cell entry and are poorly incorporate into mature virions, and thus may provide a marker for actively replicating virus. We show envelope (E) sgRNA was degraded by RNase in infected cell lysates, while genomic RNA (gRNA) was protected, presumably due to packaging into virions. To investigate the capacity of the sgRNA assay to distinguish input challenge virus from actively replicating virus , we compared the E sgRNA assay to a standard nucleoprotein (N) or E total RNA assay in convalescent rhesus macaques and in antibody-treated rhesus macaques after experimental SARS-CoV-2 challenge. In both studies, the E sgRNA assay was negative, suggesting protective efficacy, whereas the N and E total RNA assays remained positive. These data suggest the potential utility of sgRNA to monitor actively replicating virus in prophylactic and therapeutic SARS-CoV-2 studies.Developing therapeutic and prophylactic countermeasures for the SARS-CoV-2 virus is a public health priority. During challenge studies, respiratory viruses are delivered and sampled from the same anatomical location. It is therefore important to distinguish actively replicating virus from input challenge virus. The most common assay for detecting SARS-CoV-2 virus, reverse transcription polymerase chain reaction (RT-PCR) targeting nucleocapsid total RNA, cannot distinguish neutralized input virus from replicating virus. In this study, we assess SARS-CoV-2 subgenomic RNA as a potential measure of replicating virus in rhesus macaques.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1128/JVI.02370-20DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC8103707PMC
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

Origin of rebound virus in chronically SIV-infected Rhesus monkeys following treatment discontinuation.

Nat Commun 2020 10 27;11(1):5412. Epub 2020 Oct 27.

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

Viral rebound following antiretroviral therapy (ART) discontinuation in HIV-1-infected individuals is believed to originate from a small pool of CD4+ T cells harboring replication-competent provirus. However, the origin and nature of the rebound virus has remained unclear. Recent studies have suggested that rebound virus does not originate directly from individual latent proviruses but rather from recombination events involving multiple proviruses. Here we evaluate the origin of rebound virus in 16 ART-suppressed, chronically SIV-infected rhesus monkeys following ART discontinuation. We sequence viral RNA and viral DNA in these animals prior to ART initiation, during ART suppression, and following viral rebound, and we compare rebound viral RNA after ART discontinuation with near full-length viral DNA from peripheral blood and lymph node mononuclear cells (PBMC and LNMC) during ART suppression. Sequences of initial rebound viruses closely match viral DNA sequences in PBMC and LNMC during ART suppression. Recombinant viruses are rare in the initial rebound virus populations but arise quickly within 2-4 weeks after viral rebound. These data suggest that intact proviral DNA in PBMC and LNMC during ART suppression is likely the direct origin of viral rebound in chronically SIV-infected rhesus monkeys following ART discontinuation.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1038/s41467-020-19254-2DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7591481PMC
October 2020

Passive Transfer of Vaccine-Elicited Antibodies Protects against SIV in Rhesus Macaques.

Cell 2020 10;183(1):185-196.e14

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

Several HIV-1 and SIV vaccine candidates have shown partial protection against viral challenges in rhesus macaques. However, the protective efficacy of vaccine-elicited polyclonal antibodies has not previously been demonstrated in adoptive transfer studies in nonhuman primates. In this study, we show that passive transfer of purified antibodies from vaccinated macaques can protect naive animals against SIVmac251 challenges. We vaccinated 30 rhesus macaques with Ad26-SIV Env/Gag/Pol and SIV Env gp140 protein vaccines and assessed the induction of antibody responses and a putative protective signature. This signature included multiple antibody functions and correlated with upregulation of interferon pathways in vaccinated animals. Adoptive transfer of purified immunoglobulin G (IgG) from the vaccinated animals with the most robust protective signatures provided partial protection against SIVmac251 challenges in naive recipient rhesus macaques. These data demonstrate the protective efficacy of purified vaccine-elicited antiviral antibodies in this model, even in the absence of virus neutralization.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.cell.2020.08.033DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7534693PMC
October 2020

Feasibility and safety of ultrasound-guided minimally invasive autopsy in COVID-19 patients.

Abdom Radiol (NY) 2021 03 17;46(3):1263-1271. Epub 2020 Sep 17.

Department of Pathology, Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center, Harvard Medical School, Boston, MA, USA.

Objectives: To determine the feasibility and safety of ultrasound-guided minimally invasive autopsy in COVID-19 patients.

Methods: 60 patients who expired between 04/22/2020-05/06/2020 due to COVID-19 were considered for inclusion in the study, based on availability of study staff. Minimally invasive ultrasound-guided autopsy was performed with 14G core biopsies through a 13G coaxial needle. The protocol required 20 cores of the liver, 30 of lung, 12 of spleen, 20 of heart, 20 of kidney, 4 of breast, 4 of testis, 2 of skeletal muscle, and 4 of fat with total of 112 cores per patient. Quality of the samples was evaluated by number, size, histology, immunohistochemistry, and in situ hybridization for COVID-19 and PCR-measured viral loads for SARS-CoV-2.

Results: Five (5/60, 8%) patients were included. All approached families gave their consent for the minimally invasive autopsy. All organs for biopsy were successfully targeted with ultrasound guidance obtaining all required samples, apart from 2 patients where renal samples were not obtained due to atrophic kidneys. The number, size, and weight of the tissue cores met expectation of the research group and tissue histology quality was excellent. Pathology findings were concordant with previously reported autopsy findings for COVID-19. Highest SARS-CoV-2 viral load was detected in the lung, liver, and spleen that had small to moderate amount, and low viral load in was detected in the heart in 2/5 (40%). No virus was detected in the kidney (0/3, 0%).

Conclusions: Ultrasound-guided percutaneous post-mortem core biopsies can safely provide adequate tissue. Highest SARS-CoV-2 viral load was seen in the lung, followed by liver and spleen with small amount in the myocardium.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1007/s00261-020-02753-7DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7494380PMC
March 2021

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

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

Potently neutralizing and protective human antibodies against SARS-CoV-2.

Nature 2020 08 15;584(7821):443-449. Epub 2020 Jul 15.

Microbial Sciences, BioPharmaceuticals R&D, AstraZeneca, Gaithersburg, MD, USA.

The ongoing pandemic of coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19), which is caused by severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2), is a major threat to global health and the medical countermeasures available so far are limited. Moreover, we currently lack a thorough understanding of the mechanisms of humoral immunity to SARS-CoV-2. Here we analyse a large panel of human monoclonal antibodies that target the spike (S) glycoprotein, and identify several that exhibit potent neutralizing activity and fully block the receptor-binding domain of the S protein (S) from interacting with human angiotensin-converting enzyme 2 (ACE2). Using competition-binding, structural and functional studies, we show that the monoclonal antibodies can be clustered into classes that recognize distinct epitopes on the S, as well as distinct conformational states of the S trimer. Two potently neutralizing monoclonal antibodies, COV2-2196 and COV2-2130, which recognize non-overlapping sites, bound simultaneously to the S protein and neutralized wild-type SARS-CoV-2 virus in a synergistic manner. In two mouse models of SARS-CoV-2 infection, passive transfer of COV2-2196, COV2-2130 or a combination of both of these antibodies protected mice from weight loss and reduced the viral burden and levels of inflammation in the lungs. In addition, passive transfer of either of two of the most potent ACE2-blocking monoclonal antibodies (COV2-2196 or COV2-2381) as monotherapy protected rhesus macaques from SARS-CoV-2 infection. These results identify protective epitopes on the S and provide a structure-based framework for rational vaccine design and the selection of robust immunotherapeutic agents.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1038/s41586-020-2548-6DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7584396PMC
August 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

Differential Outcomes following Optimization of Simian-Human Immunodeficiency Viruses from Clades AE, B, and C.

J Virol 2020 05 4;94(10). Epub 2020 May 4.

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

Simian-human immunodeficiency virus (SHIV) infection of rhesus monkeys is an important preclinical model for human immunodeficiency virus type 1 (HIV-1) vaccines, therapeutics, and cure strategies. SHIVs have been optimized by incorporating HIV-1 Env residue 375 mutations that mimic the bulky or hydrophobic residues typically found in simian immunodeficiency virus (SIV) Env to improve rhesus CD4 binding. We applied this strategy to three SHIV challenge stocks (SHIV-SF162p3, SHIV-AE16, and SHIV-325c) and observed three distinct outcomes. We constructed six Env375 variants (M, H, W, Y, F, and S) for each SHIV, and we performed a pool competition study in rhesus monkeys to define the optimal variant for each SHIV prior to generating large-scale challenge stocks. We identified SHIV-SF162p3S/wild type, SHIV-AE16W, and SHIV-325cH as the optimal variants. SHIV-SF162p3S could not be improved, as it already contained the optimal Env375 residue. SHIV-AE16W exhibited a similar replicative capacity to the parental SHIV-AE16 stock. In contrast, SHIV-325cH demonstrated a 2.6-log higher peak and 1.6-log higher setpoint viral loads than the parental SHIV-325c stock. These data demonstrate the diversity of potential outcomes following Env375 modification in SHIVs. Moreover, the clade C SHIV-325cH challenge stock may prove useful for evaluating prophylactic or therapeutic interventions against clade C HIV-1. We sought to enhance the infectivity of three SHIV stocks by optimization of a key residue in human immunodeficiency virus type 1 (HIV-1) Env (Env375). We developed the following three new simian-human immunodeficiency virus (SHIV) stocks: SHIV-SF162p3S/wild type, SHIV-AE16W, and SHIV-325cH. SHIV-SF162p3S could not be optimized, SHIV-AE16W proved comparable to the parental virus, and SHIV-325cH demonstrated markedly enhanced replicative capacity compared with the parental virus.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1128/JVI.01860-19DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7199416PMC
May 2020

Lack of therapeutic efficacy of an antibody to αβ in SIVmac251-infected rhesus macaques.

Science 2019 09 5;365(6457):1029-1033. Epub 2019 Sep 5.

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

Sustained virologic control of human immunodeficiency virus type 1 (HIV-1) infection after discontinuation of antiretroviral therapy (ART) is a major goal of the HIV-1 cure field. A recent study reported that administration of an antibody against αβ induced durable virologic control after ART discontinuation in 100% of rhesus macaques infected with an attenuated strain of simian immunodeficiency virus (SIV) containing a stop codon in We performed similar studies in 50 rhesus macaques infected with wild-type, pathogenic SIVmac251. In animals that initiated ART during either acute or chronic infection, anti-αβ antibody infusion had no detectable effect on the viral reservoir or viral rebound after ART discontinuation. These data demonstrate that anti-αβ antibody administration did not provide therapeutic efficacy in the model of pathogenic SIVmac251 infection of rhesus macaques.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1126/science.aaw8562DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6768629PMC
September 2019

Publisher Correction: Antibody and TLR7 agonist delay viral rebound in SHIV-infected monkeys.

Nature 2018 12;564(7734):E8

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

In Fig. 4b of this Article, the x-axis labels 'PGT121' and 'GS-9620' were inadvertently swapped in both graphs. In Fig. 5a, b, 'TLR7' should have been 'GS-9620'. These figures have been corrected online.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1038/s41586-018-0721-yDOI Listing
December 2018

Antibody and TLR7 agonist delay viral rebound in SHIV-infected monkeys.

Nature 2018 11 3;563(7731):360-364. Epub 2018 Oct 3.

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

The latent viral reservoir is the critical barrier for the development of a cure for HIV-1 infection. Previous studies have shown direct antiviral activity of potent HIV-1 Env-specific broadly neutralizing antibodies (bNAbs) administered when antiretroviral therapy (ART) was discontinued, but it remains unclear whether bNAbs can target the viral reservoir during ART. Here we show that administration of the V3 glycan-dependent bNAb PGT121 together with the Toll-like receptor 7 (TLR7) agonist vesatolimod (GS-9620) during ART delayed viral rebound following discontinuation of ART in simian-human immunodeficiency virus (SHIV)-SF162P3-infected rhesus monkeys in which ART was initiated during early acute infection. Moreover, in the subset of monkeys that were treated with both PGT121 and GS-9620 and that did not show viral rebound after discontinuation of ART, adoptive transfer studies and CD8-depletion studies also did not reveal virus. These data demonstrate the potential of bNAb administration together with innate immune stimulation as a possible strategy for targeting the viral reservoir.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1038/s41586-018-0600-6DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6237629PMC
November 2018

Therapeutic Efficacy of Vectored PGT121 Gene Delivery in HIV-1-Infected Humanized Mice.

J Virol 2018 04 14;92(7). Epub 2018 Mar 14.

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

Broadly neutralizing antibodies (bNAbs) are being explored for HIV-1 prevention and cure strategies. However, administration of purified bNAbs poses challenges in resource-poor settings, where the HIV-1 disease burden is greatest. vector-based production of bNAbs represents an alternative strategy. We investigated adenovirus serotype 5 (Ad5) and adeno-associated virus serotype 1 (AAV1) vectors to deliver the HIV-1-specific bNAb PGT121 in wild-type and immunocompromised C57BL/6 mice as well as in HIV-1-infected bone marrow-liver-thymus (BLT) humanized mice. Ad5.PGT121 and AAV1.PGT121 produced functional antibody Ad5.PGT121 produced PGT121 rapidly within 6 h, whereas AAV1.PGT121 produced detectable PGT121 in serum by 72 h. Serum PGT121 levels were rapidly reduced by the generation of anti-PGT121 antibodies in immunocompetent mice but were durably maintained in immunocompromised mice. In HIV-1-infected BLT humanized mice, Ad5.PGT121 resulted in a greater reduction of viral loads than did AAV1.PGT121. Ad5.PGT121 also led to more-sustained virologic control than purified PGT121 IgG. Ad5.PGT121 afforded more rapid, robust, and durable antiviral efficacy than AAV1.PGT121 and purified PGT121 IgG in HIV-1-infected humanized mice. Further evaluation of vector delivery of HIV-1 bNAbs is warranted, although approaches to prevent the generation of antiantibody responses may also be required. Broadly neutralizing antibodies (bNAbs) are being explored for HIV-1 prevention and cure strategies, but delivery of purified antibodies may prove challenging. We investigated adenovirus serotype 5 (Ad5) and adeno-associated virus serotype 1 (AAV1) vectors to deliver the HIV-1-specific bNAb PGT121. Ad5.PGT121 afforded more rapid, robust, and durable antiviral efficacy than AAV1.PGT121 and purified PGT121 IgG in HIV-1-infected humanized mice.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1128/JVI.01925-17DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5972893PMC
April 2018

Durability and correlates of vaccine protection against Zika virus in rhesus monkeys.

Sci Transl Med 2017 Dec;9(420)

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

An effective Zika virus (ZIKV) vaccine will require long-term durable protection. Several ZIKV vaccine candidates have demonstrated protective efficacy in nonhuman primates, but these studies have typically involved ZIKV challenge shortly after vaccination at peak immunity. We show that a single immunization with an adenovirus vector-based vaccine, as well as two immunizations with a purified inactivated virus vaccine, afforded robust protection against ZIKV challenge in rhesus monkeys at 1 year after vaccination. In contrast, two immunizations with an optimized DNA vaccine, which provided complete protection at peak immunity, resulted in reduced protective efficacy at 1 year that was associated with declining neutralizing antibody titers to subprotective levels. These data define a microneutralization log titer of 2.0 to 2.1 as the threshold required for durable protection against ZIKV challenge in this model. Moreover, our findings demonstrate that protection against ZIKV challenge in rhesus monkeys is possible for at least 1 year with a single-shot vaccine.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1126/scitranslmed.aao4163DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5747972PMC
December 2017

Protection against a mixed SHIV challenge by a broadly neutralizing antibody cocktail.

Sci Transl Med 2017 Sep;9(408)

Center for Virology and Vaccine Research, Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center, Boston, MA 02115, USA.

HIV-1 sequence diversity presents a major challenge for the clinical development of broadly neutralizing antibodies (bNAbs) for both therapy and prevention. Sequence variation in critical bNAb epitopes has been observed in most HIV-1-infected individuals and can lead to viral escape after bNAb monotherapy in humans. We show that viral sequence diversity can limit both the therapeutic and prophylactic efficacy of bNAbs in rhesus monkeys. We first demonstrate that monotherapy with the V3 glycan-dependent antibody 10-1074, but not PGT121, results in rapid selection of preexisting viral variants containing N332/S334 escape mutations and loss of therapeutic efficacy in simian-HIV (SHIV)-SF162P3-infected rhesus monkeys. We then show that the V3 glycan-dependent antibody PGT121 alone and the V2 glycan-dependent antibody PGDM1400 alone both fail to protect against a mixed challenge with SHIV-SF162P3 and SHIV-325c. In contrast, the combination of both bNAbs provides 100% protection against this mixed SHIV challenge. These data reveal that single bNAbs efficiently select resistant viruses from a diverse challenge swarm to establish infection, demonstrating the importance of bNAb cocktails for HIV-1 prevention.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1126/scitranslmed.aao4235DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5747528PMC
September 2017

Protective efficacy of multiple vaccine platforms against Zika virus challenge in rhesus monkeys.

Science 2016 09 4;353(6304):1129-32. Epub 2016 Aug 4.

Bioqual, Rockville, MD 20852, USA.

Zika virus (ZIKV) is responsible for a major ongoing epidemic in the Americas and has been causally associated with fetal microcephaly. The development of a safe and effective ZIKV vaccine is therefore an urgent global health priority. Here we demonstrate that three different vaccine platforms protect against ZIKV challenge in rhesus monkeys. A purified inactivated virus vaccine induced ZIKV-specific neutralizing antibodies and completely protected monkeys against ZIKV strains from both Brazil and Puerto Rico. Purified immunoglobulin from vaccinated monkeys also conferred passive protection in adoptive transfer studies. A plasmid DNA vaccine and a single-shot recombinant rhesus adenovirus serotype 52 vector vaccine, both expressing ZIKV premembrane and envelope, also elicited neutralizing antibodies and completely protected monkeys against ZIKV challenge. These data support the rapid clinical development of ZIKV vaccines for humans.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1126/science.aah6157DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5237380PMC
September 2016

Vaccine protection against Zika virus from Brazil.

Nature 2016 08 28;536(7617):474-8. Epub 2016 Jun 28.

Zika virus (ZIKV) is a flavivirus that is responsible for the current epidemic in Brazil and the Americas. ZIKV has been causally associated with fetal microcephaly, intrauterine growth restriction, and other birth defects in both humans and mice. The rapid development of a safe and effective ZIKV vaccine is a global health priority, but very little is currently known about ZIKV immunology and mechanisms of immune protection. Here we show that a single immunization with a plasmid DNA vaccine or a purified inactivated virus vaccine provides complete protection in susceptible mice against challenge with a strain of ZIKV involved in the outbreak in northeast Brazil. This ZIKV strain has recently been shown to cross the placenta and to induce fetal microcephaly and other congenital malformations in mice. We produced DNA vaccines expressing ZIKV pre-membrane and envelope (prM-Env), as well as a series of deletion mutants. The prM-Env DNA vaccine, but not the deletion mutants, afforded complete protection against ZIKV, as measured by absence of detectable viraemia following challenge, and protective efficacy correlated with Env-specific antibody titers. Adoptive transfer of purified IgG from vaccinated mice conferred passive protection, and depletion of CD4 and CD8 T lymphocytes in vaccinated mice did not abrogate this protection. These data demonstrate that protection against ZIKV challenge can be achieved by single-shot subunit and inactivated virus vaccines in mice and that Env-specific antibody titers represent key immunologic correlates of protection. Our findings suggest that the development of a ZIKV vaccine for humans is likely to be achievable.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1038/nature18952DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5003703PMC
August 2016
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