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      SARS-CoV-2 spike glycoprotein vaccine candidate NVX-CoV2373 immunogenicity in baboons and protection in mice

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          Abstract

          The COVID-19 pandemic continues to spread throughout the world with an urgent need for a safe and protective vaccine to effectuate herd protection and control the spread of SARS-CoV-2. Here, we report the development of a SARS-CoV-2 subunit vaccine (NVX-CoV2373) from the full-length spike (S) protein that is stable in the prefusion conformation. NVX-CoV2373 S form 27.2-nm nanoparticles that are thermostable and bind with high affinity to the human angiotensin-converting enzyme 2 (hACE2) receptor. In mice, low-dose NVX-CoV2373 with saponin-based Matrix-M adjuvant elicit high titer anti-S IgG that blocks hACE2 receptor binding, neutralize virus, and protects against SARS-CoV-2 challenge with no evidence of vaccine-associated enhanced respiratory disease. NVX-CoV2373 also elicits multifunctional CD4 + and CD8 + T cells, CD4 + follicular helper T cells (Tfh), and antigen-specific germinal center (GC) B cells in the spleen. In baboons, low-dose levels of NVX-CoV2373 with Matrix-M was also highly immunogenic and elicited high titer anti-S antibodies and functional antibodies that block S-protein binding to hACE2 and neutralize virus infection and antigen-specific T cells. These results support the ongoing phase 1/2 clinical evaluation of the safety and immunogenicity of NVX-CoV2373 with Matrix-M (NCT04368988).

          Abstract

          Here, the authors characterize a SARS-CoV-2 subunit vaccine candidate that contains full-length spike protein stabilized in its prefusion conformation, and show immunogenicity in baboons and protection in mice with Matrix-M adjuvanted vaccine.

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          Most cited references 33

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          Structure, Function, and Antigenicity of the SARS-CoV-2 Spike Glycoprotein

          Summary The emergence of SARS-CoV-2 has resulted in >90,000 infections and >3,000 deaths. Coronavirus spike (S) glycoproteins promote entry into cells and are the main target of antibodies. We show that SARS-CoV-2 S uses ACE2 to enter cells and that the receptor-binding domains of SARS-CoV-2 S and SARS-CoV S bind with similar affinities to human ACE2, correlating with the efficient spread of SARS-CoV-2 among humans. We found that the SARS-CoV-2 S glycoprotein harbors a furin cleavage site at the boundary between the S1/S2 subunits, which is processed during biogenesis and sets this virus apart from SARS-CoV and SARS-related CoVs. We determined cryo-EM structures of the SARS-CoV-2 S ectodomain trimer, providing a blueprint for the design of vaccines and inhibitors of viral entry. Finally, we demonstrate that SARS-CoV S murine polyclonal antibodies potently inhibited SARS-CoV-2 S mediated entry into cells, indicating that cross-neutralizing antibodies targeting conserved S epitopes can be elicited upon vaccination.
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            Cryo-EM structure of the 2019-nCoV spike in the prefusion conformation

            Structure of the nCoV trimeric spike The World Health Organization has declared the outbreak of a novel coronavirus (2019-nCoV) to be a public health emergency of international concern. The virus binds to host cells through its trimeric spike glycoprotein, making this protein a key target for potential therapies and diagnostics. Wrapp et al. determined a 3.5-angstrom-resolution structure of the 2019-nCoV trimeric spike protein by cryo–electron microscopy. Using biophysical assays, the authors show that this protein binds at least 10 times more tightly than the corresponding spike protein of severe acute respiratory syndrome (SARS)–CoV to their common host cell receptor. They also tested three antibodies known to bind to the SARS-CoV spike protein but did not detect binding to the 2019-nCoV spike protein. These studies provide valuable information to guide the development of medical counter-measures for 2019-nCoV. Science, this issue p. 1260
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              Angiotensin-converting enzyme 2 is a functional receptor for the SARS coronavirus

              Spike (S) proteins of coronaviruses, including the coronavirus that causes severe acute respiratory syndrome (SARS), associate with cellular receptors to mediate infection of their target cells 1,2 . Here we identify a metallopeptidase, angiotensin-converting enzyme 2 (ACE2) 3,4 , isolated from SARS coronavirus (SARS-CoV)-permissive Vero E6 cells, that efficiently binds the S1 domain of the SARS-CoV S protein. We found that a soluble form of ACE2, but not of the related enzyme ACE1, blocked association of the S1 domain with Vero E6 cells. 293T cells transfected with ACE2, but not those transfected with human immunodeficiency virus-1 receptors, formed multinucleated syncytia with cells expressing S protein. Furthermore, SARS-CoV replicated efficiently on ACE2-transfected but not mock-transfected 293T cells. Finally, anti-ACE2 but not anti-ACE1 antibody blocked viral replication on Vero E6 cells. Together our data indicate that ACE2 is a functional receptor for SARS-CoV. Supplementary information The online version of this article (doi:10.1038/nature02145) contains supplementary material, which is available to authorized users.
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                Author and article information

                Contributors
                GSmith@Novavax.com
                Journal
                Nat Commun
                Nat Commun
                Nature Communications
                Nature Publishing Group UK (London )
                2041-1723
                14 January 2021
                14 January 2021
                2021
                : 12
                Affiliations
                [1 ]GRID grid.436677.7, ISNI 0000 0004 0410 5272, Novavax, Inc., ; 21 Firstfield Road, Gaithersburg, MD 20878 USA
                [2 ]GRID grid.411024.2, ISNI 0000 0001 2175 4264, University of Maryland, School of Medicine, ; 685 West Baltimore St, Baltimore, MD 21201 USA
                [3 ]GRID grid.266902.9, ISNI 0000 0001 2179 3618, Department of Pathology, Division of Comparative Medicine, , University of Oklahoma, Health Sciences Center, ; 940 Stanton L. Young, BMS 203, Oklahoma City, OK 73104 USA
                [4 ]Catalent Cell & Gene Therapy, 20 Firstfield Road, Gaithersburg, MD 20874 USA
                [5 ]GRID grid.39382.33, ISNI 0000 0001 2160 926X, Department of Molecular Virology and Microbiology, and Pediatrics, , Baylor College of Medicine, ; Houston, TX USA
                [6 ]GRID grid.425310.1, Novavax AB, ; Kungsgatan 109, SE-753 18 Uppsala, Sweden
                Article
                20653
                10.1038/s41467-020-20653-8
                7809486
                33446655
                © The Author(s) 2021

                Open Access This article is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License, which permits use, sharing, adaptation, distribution and reproduction in any medium or format, as long as you give appropriate credit to the original author(s) and the source, provide a link to the Creative Commons license, and indicate if changes were made. The images or other third party material in this article are included in the article’s Creative Commons license, unless indicated otherwise in a credit line to the material. If material is not included in the article’s Creative Commons license and your intended use is not permitted by statutory regulation or exceeds the permitted use, you will need to obtain permission directly from the copyright holder. To view a copy of this license, visit http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0/.

                Funding
                Funded by: Coalition for Epidemic Preparedness Innovations, PO Box 123, Torshov, 0412 Oslo, Norway
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                protein vaccines

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