5 research outputs found

    A SARS-CoV-2 Spike Ferritin Nanoparticle Vaccine Is Protective and Promotes a Strong Immunological Response in the Cynomolgus Macaque Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19) Model

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    The COVID-19 pandemic has had a staggering impact on social, economic, and public health systems worldwide. Vaccine development and mobilization against SARS-CoV-2 (the etiologic agent of COVID-19) has been rapid. However, novel strategies are still necessary to slow the pandemic, and this includes new approaches to vaccine development and/or delivery that will improve vaccination compliance and demonstrate efficacy against emerging variants. Here, we report on the immunogenicity and efficacy of a SARS-CoV-2 vaccine comprising stabilized, pre-fusion spike protein trimers displayed on a ferritin nanoparticle (SpFN) adjuvanted with either conventional aluminum hydroxide or the Army Liposomal Formulation QS-21 (ALFQ) in a cynomolgus macaque COVID-19 model. Vaccination resulted in robust cell-mediated and humoral responses and a significant reduction in lung lesions following SARS-CoV-2 infection. The strength of the immune response suggests that dose sparing through reduced or single dosing in primates may be possible with this vaccine. Overall, the data support further evaluation of SpFN as a SARS-CoV-2 protein-based vaccine candidate with attention to fractional dosing and schedule optimization

    Simian Immunodeficiency Virus (SIV)-Specific Chimeric Antigen Receptor-T Cells Engineered to Target B Cell Follicles and Suppress SIV Replication

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    There is a need to develop improved methods to treat and potentially cure HIV infection. During chronic HIV infection, replication is concentrated within T follicular helper cells (Tfh) located within B cell follicles, where low levels of virus-specific CTL permit ongoing viral replication. We previously showed that elevated levels of simian immunodeficiency virus (SIV)-specific CTL in B cell follicles are linked to both decreased levels of viral replication in follicles and decreased plasma viral loads. These findings provide the rationale to develop a strategy for targeting follicular viral-producing (Tfh) cells using antiviral chimeric antigen receptor (CAR) T cells co-expressing the follicular homing chemokine receptor CXCR5. We hypothesize that antiviral CAR/CXCR5-expressing T cells, when infused into an SIV-infected animal or an HIV-infected individual, will home to B cell follicles, suppress viral replication, and lead to long-term durable remission of SIV and HIV. To begin to test this hypothesis, we engineered gammaretroviral transduction vectors for co-expression of a bispecific anti-SIV CAR and rhesus macaque CXCR5. Viral suppression by CAR/CXCR5-transduced T cells was measured in vitro, and CXCR5-mediated migration was evaluated using both an in vitro transwell migration assay, as well as a novel ex vivo tissue migration assay. The functionality of the CAR/CXCR5 T cells was demonstrated through their potent suppression of SIVmac239 and SIVE660 replication in in vitro and migration to the ligand CXCL13 in vitro, and concentration in B cell follicles in tissues ex vivo. These novel antiviral immunotherapy products have the potential to provide long-term durable remission (functional cure) of HIV and SIV infections