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      Neutralization of SARS-CoV-2 infection by antibodies targeting diverse epitopes


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          Potent neutralizing antibodies directed to multiple epitopes on SARS-CoV-2 spike

          The severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus-2 (SARS-CoV-2) pandemic continues, with devasting consequences for human lives and the global economy1,2. The discovery and development of virus-neutralizing monoclonal antibodies could be one approach to treat or prevent infection by this coronavirus. Here we report the isolation of sixty-one SARS-CoV-2-neutralizing monoclonal antibodies from five patients infected with SARS-CoV-2 and admitted to hospital with severe coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19). Among these are nineteen antibodies that potently neutralized authentic SARS-CoV-2 in vitro, nine of which exhibited very high potency, with 50% virus-inhibitory concentrations of 0.7 to 9 ng ml-1. Epitope mapping showed that this collection of nineteen antibodies was about equally divided between those directed against the receptor-binding domain (RBD) and those directed against the N-terminal domain (NTD), indicating that both of these regions at the top of the viral spike are immunogenic. In addition, two other powerful neutralizing antibodies recognized quaternary epitopes that overlap with the domains at the top of the spike. Cryo-electron microscopy reconstructions of one antibody that targets the RBD, a second that targets the NTD, and a third that bridges two separate RBDs showed that the antibodies recognize the closed, 'all RBD-down' conformation of the spike. Several of these monoclonal antibodies are promising candidates for clinical development as potential therapeutic and/or prophylactic agents against SARS-CoV-2.
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            Inhibition of SARS-CoV-2 (previously 2019-nCoV) infection by a highly potent pan-coronavirus fusion inhibitor targeting its spike protein that harbors a high capacity to mediate membrane fusion

            The recent outbreak of coronavirus disease (COVID-19) caused by SARS-CoV-2 infection in Wuhan, China has posed a serious threat to global public health. To develop specific anti-coronavirus therapeutics and prophylactics, the molecular mechanism that underlies viral infection must first be defined. Therefore, we herein established a SARS-CoV-2 spike (S) protein-mediated cell–cell fusion assay and found that SARS-CoV-2 showed a superior plasma membrane fusion capacity compared to that of SARS-CoV. We solved the X-ray crystal structure of six-helical bundle (6-HB) core of the HR1 and HR2 domains in the SARS-CoV-2 S protein S2 subunit, revealing that several mutated amino acid residues in the HR1 domain may be associated with enhanced interactions with the HR2 domain. We previously developed a pan-coronavirus fusion inhibitor, EK1, which targeted the HR1 domain and could inhibit infection by divergent human coronaviruses tested, including SARS-CoV and MERS-CoV. Here we generated a series of lipopeptides derived from EK1 and found that EK1C4 was the most potent fusion inhibitor against SARS-CoV-2 S protein-mediated membrane fusion and pseudovirus infection with IC50s of 1.3 and 15.8 nM, about 241- and 149-fold more potent than the original EK1 peptide, respectively. EK1C4 was also highly effective against membrane fusion and infection of other human coronavirus pseudoviruses tested, including SARS-CoV and MERS-CoV, as well as SARSr-CoVs, and potently inhibited the replication of 5 live human coronaviruses examined, including SARS-CoV-2. Intranasal application of EK1C4 before or after challenge with HCoV-OC43 protected mice from infection, suggesting that EK1C4 could be used for prevention and treatment of infection by the currently circulating SARS-CoV-2 and other emerging SARSr-CoVs.
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              By-passing immunization. Human antibodies from V-gene libraries displayed on phage.

              We have mimicked features of immune selection to make human antibodies in bacteria. Diverse libraries of immunoglobulin heavy (VH) and light (V kappa and V lambda) chain variable (V) genes were prepared from peripheral blood lymphocytes (PBLs) of unimmunized donors by polymerase chain reaction (PCR) amplification. Genes encoding single chain Fv fragments were made by randomly combining heavy and light chain V-genes using PCR, and the combinatorial library (greater than 10(7) members) cloned for display on the surface of a phage. Rare phage with "antigen-binding" activities were selected by four rounds of growth and panning with "antigen" (turkey egg-white lysozyme (TEL) or bovine serum albumin) or "hapten" (2-phenyloxazol-5-one (phOx], and the encoding heavy and light chain genes were sequenced. The V-genes were human with some nearly identical to known germ-line V-genes, while others were more heavily mutated. Soluble antibody fragments were prepared and shown to bind specifically to antigen or hapten and with good affinities, Ka (TEL) = 10(7) M-1; Ka (phOx) = 2 x 10(6) M-1. Isolation of higher-affinity fragments may require the use of larger primary libraries or the construction of secondary libraries from the binders. Nevertheless, our results suggest that a single large phage display library can be used to isolate human antibodies against any antigen, by-passing both hybridoma technology and immunization.

                Author and article information

                Genes Dis
                Genes Dis
                Genes & Diseases
                Chongqing Medical University
                09 September 2023
                July 2024
                09 September 2023
                : 11
                : 4
                : 101088
                [a ]Engineering Research Center of Cell and Therapeutic Antibody, Ministry of Education, School of Pharmacy, Shanghai Jiao Tong University, Shanghai 200240, China
                [b ]Jecho Laboratories, Inc., Frederick, MD 21704, USA
                [c ]Jecho Institute Co., Ltd., Shanghai 200240, China
                Author notes
                []Corresponding author. Engineering Research Center of Cell and Therapeutic Antibody, Ministry of Education, School of Pharmacy, Shanghai Jiao Tong University, 800 Dongchuan Road, Shanghai 200240, China. jianweiz@ 123456sjtu.edu.cn
                [∗∗ ]Corresponding author. hua.jiang@ 123456jecholabs.com
                [∗∗∗ ]Corresponding author. yunsheng@ 123456sjtu.edu.cn

                These authors contributed equally to this work and shared the first authorship.

                S2352-3042(23)00371-9 101088
                © 2023 The Authors. Publishing services by Elsevier B.V. on behalf of KeAi Communications Co., Ltd.

                This is an open access article under the CC BY-NC-ND license (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc-nd/4.0/).

                : 11 November 2022
                : 16 July 2023
                : 24 July 2023
                Rapid Communication


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