Antibodies are necessary for rVSV/ZEBOV-GP-mediated protection against lethal Ebola virus challenge in nonhuman primates.
ABSTRACT: Ebola viruses cause hemorrhagic disease in humans and nonhuman primates with high fatality rates. These viruses pose a significant health concern worldwide due to the lack of approved therapeutics and vaccines as well as their potential misuse as bioterrorism agents. Although not licensed for human use, recombinant vesicular stomatitis virus (rVSV) expressing the filovirus glycoprotein (GP) has been shown to protect macaques from Ebola virus and Marburg virus infections, both prophylactically and postexposure in a homologous challenge setting. However, the immune mechanisms of protection conferred by this vaccine platform remain poorly understood. In this study, we set out to investigate the role of humoral versus cellular immunity in rVSV vaccine-mediated protection against lethal Zaire ebolavirus (ZEBOV) challenge. Groups of cynomolgus macaques were depleted of CD4+ T, CD8+ T, or CD20+ B cells before and during vaccination with rVSV/ZEBOV-GP. Unfortunately, CD20-depleted animals generated a robust IgG response. Therefore, an additional group of vaccinated animals were depleted of CD4+ T cells during challenge. All animals were subsequently challenged with a lethal dose of ZEBOV. Animals depleted of CD8+ T cells survived, suggesting a minimal role for CD8+ T cells in vaccine-mediated protection. Depletion of CD4+ T cells during vaccination caused a complete loss of glycoprotein-specific antibodies and abrogated vaccine protection. In contrast, depletion of CD4+ T cells during challenge resulted in survival of the animals, indicating a minimal role for CD4+ T-cell immunity in rVSV-mediated protection. Our results suggest that antibodies play a critical role in rVSV-mediated protection against ZEBOV.
Project description:The family Filoviridae contains three genera, Ebolavirus (EBOV), Marburg virus, and Cuevavirus. Some members of the EBOV genus, including Zaire ebolavirus (ZEBOV), can cause lethal haemorrhagic fever in humans. During 2014 an unprecedented ZEBOV outbreak occurred in West Africa and is still ongoing, resulting in over 10,000 deaths, and causing global concern of uncontrolled disease. To meet this challenge a rapid-acting vaccine is needed. Many vaccine approaches have shown promise in being able to protect nonhuman primates against ZEBOV. In response to the current ZEBOV outbreak several of these vaccines have been fast tracked for human use. However, it is not known whether any of these vaccines can provide protection against the new outbreak Makona strain of ZEBOV. One of these approaches is a first-generation recombinant vesicular stomatitis virus (rVSV)-based vaccine expressing the ZEBOV glycoprotein (GP) (rVSV/ZEBOV). To address safety concerns associated with this vector, we developed two candidate, further-attenuated rVSV/ZEBOV vaccines. Both attenuated vaccines produced an approximately tenfold lower vaccine-associated viraemia compared to the first-generation vaccine and both provided complete, single-dose protection of macaques from lethal challenge with the Makona outbreak strain of ZEBOV.
Project description:Ebola virus (EBOV) poses a significant threat to human health as highlighted by the recent epidemic in West Africa. Data from animal studies and a ring vaccination clinical trial conducted in Guinea during the recent epidemic demonstrated that a recombinant VSV where G protein is replaced with EBOV GP (rVSV-EBOV) is safe and highly efficacious. We previously established that antibodies are essential for rVSV-EBOV mediated protection against EBOV; however, the mechanisms by which this vaccine induces a humoral response and the role of T-cells in rVSV-EBOV mediated protection remain poorly understood. Since this is the only vaccine platform that has completed Phase III clinical studies, it is imperative to gain a better understanding of its mechanisms of protection. Therefore, we performed a longitudinal gene expression analysis of samples collected from controls and T-cell-depleted macaques after rVSV-EBOV vaccination and EBOV challenge. We show that rVSV-EBOV vaccination induces gene expression changes consistent with anti-viral immunity and B-cell proliferation. We also report a previously unappreciated role for CD8+ T-cells in mediating rVSV-EBOV protection. Finally, limited viral transcription in surviving animals may boost protective responses after EBOV challenge by maintaining transcriptional changes. This study presents a novel approach in determining mechanisms of vaccine efficacy.
Project description:For Ebola virus (EBOV), 4 different species are known: Zaire, Sudan, Côte d'Ivoire, and Reston ebolavirus. The newly discovered Bundibugyo ebolavirus has been proposed as a 5th species. So far, no cross-neutralization among EBOV species has been described, aggravating progress toward cross-species protective vaccines. With the use of recombinant vesicular stomatitis virus (rVSV)-based vaccines, guinea pigs could be protected against Zaire ebolavirus (ZEBOV) infection only when immunized with a vector expressing the homologous, but not a heterologous, EBOV glycoprotein (GP). However, infection of guinea pigs with nonadapted wild-type strains of the different species resulted in full protection of all animals against subsequent challenge with guinea pig-adapted ZEBOV, showing that cross-species protection is possible. New vectors were generated that contain EBOV viral protein 40 (VP40) or EBOV nucleoprotein (NP) as a second antigen expressed by the same rVSV vector that encodes the heterologous GP. After applying a 2-dose immunization approach, we observed an improved cross-protection rate, with 5 of 6 guinea pigs surviving the lethal ZEBOV challenge if vaccinated with rVSV-expressing SEBOV-GP and -VP40. Our data demonstrate that cross-protection between the EBOV species can be achieved, although EBOV-GP alone cannot induce the required immune response.
Project description:The rVSV-ZEBOV Ebolavirus vaccine confers protection within days after immunization, suggesting the contribution of innate immune responses. We report modulation of rVSV-ZEBOV vaccinee blood CD56+ NK cell numbers, NKG2D or NKp30 surface receptor expression, Killer Immunoglobulin-like Receptor (KIR)+ cell percentages and NK-cell-related genes on day 1 post immunization. Inverse correlations existed between the concentration of several plasma cytokines and inhibitory KIR+ CD56dim or cytokine-responsive CD56bright NK cells. Thus, NK cells may contribute to the early protective efficacy of rVSV-ZEBOV in humans.
Project description:Zaire Ebola virus (ZEBOV) survivors experience visual and CNS sequelae that suggests the ZEBOV glycoprotein can mediate neurotropism. Replication-competent rVSV?G-ZEBOV-GP vaccine candidate is generally well tolerated; however, its potential neurotropism requires careful study. Here, we show that a single inoculation of rVSV?G-ZEBOV-GP virus in neonatal C57BL/6 mice results in transient viremia, neurological symptoms, high viral titers in eyes and brains, and death. rVSV?G-ZEBOV-GP infects the inner layers of the retina, causing severe retinitis. In the cerebellum, rVSV?G-ZEBOV-GP infects neurons in the granular and Purkinje layers, resulting in progressive foci of apoptosis and neurodegeneration. The susceptibility to infection is not due to impaired type I IFN responses, although MDA5-/-, IFN?-/-, and IFNAR1-/- mice have accelerated mortality. However, boosting interferon levels by co-administering poly(I:C) reduces viral titers in CNS and improves survival. Although these data should not be directly extrapolated to humans, they challenge the hypothesis that VSV-based vaccines are non-neurotropic.
Project description:The most recent Zaire Ebolavirus (ZEBOV) outbreak was the largest and most widespread in recorded history, emphasizing the need for an effective vaccine. Here, we analyzed human cellular immune responses induced by a single dose of the rVSV-ZEBOV vaccine candidate, which showed significant protective efficacy in endemic populations in Guinea. This is the first in-depth characterization of ZEBOV-GP specific, circulating follicular T cells (cTfh). Since antibody titers correlated with protection in preclinical models of ZEBOV infection, Tfh were predicted to correlate with protection. Indeed, the ZEBOV-specific cTfh data correlated with antibody titers in human vaccines and unexpectedly with the Tfh17 subset. The combination of two cutting edge technologies allowed the immuno-profiling of rare cell populations and may help elucidate correlates of protection for a variety of vaccines.
Project description:BACKGROUND:The recent West African Ebola epidemic led to accelerated efforts to test Ebola vaccine candidates. As part of the World Health Organisation-led VSV Ebola Consortium (VEBCON), we performed a phase I clinical trial investigating rVSV-ZEBOV (a recombinant vesicular stomatitis virus-vectored Ebola vaccine), which has recently demonstrated protection from Ebola virus disease (EVD) in phase III clinical trials and is currently in advanced stages of licensing. So far, correlates of immune protection are incompletely understood and the role of cell-mediated immune responses has not been comprehensively investigated to date. METHODS:We recruited 30 healthy subjects aged 18-55 into an open-label, dose-escalation phase I trial testing three doses of rVSV-ZEBOV (3×105 plaque-forming units (PFU), 3×106 PFU, 2×107 PFU) (ClinicalTrials.gov; NCT02283099). Main study objectives were safety and immunogenicity, while exploratory objectives included lymphocyte dynamics, cell-mediated immunity and cytokine networks, which were assessed using flow cytometry, ELISpot and LUMINEX assay. FINDINGS:Immunization with rVSV-ZEBOV was well tolerated without serious vaccine-related adverse events. Ebola virus-specific neutralizing antibodies were induced in nearly all individuals. Additionally, vaccinees, particularly within the highest dose cohort, generated Ebola glycoprotein (GP)-specific T cells and initiated a cascade of signaling molecules following stimulation of peripheral blood mononuclear cells with Ebola GP peptides. INTERPRETATION:In addition to a benign safety and robust humoral immunogenicity profile, subjects immunized with 2×107 PFU elicited higher cellular immune responses and stronger interlocked cytokine networks compared to lower dose groups. To our knowledge these data represent the first detailed cell-mediated immuneprofile of a clinical trial testing rVSV-ZEBOV, which is of particular interest in light of its potential upcoming licensure as the first Ebola vaccine. VEBCON trial Hamburg, Germany (NCT02283099).
Project description:Recent West African Ebola virus (EBOV) epidemics have led to testing different anti-EBOV vaccines, including a replication-defective adenovirus (RD-Ad) vector (ChAd3-EBOV) and an infectious, replication-competent recombinant vesicular stomatitis virus expressing the EBOV glycoprotein (rVSV-EBOV; also known as rVSV-ZEBOV). While RD-Ads elicit protection, when scaled up to human trials, the level of protection may be much lower than that of vaccines containing viruses that can replicate. Although a replication-competent Ad (RC-Ad) vaccine might generate a level of protection approximating that of rVSV, this infectious vector would also risk causing adenovirus disease. We recently described a "single-cycle" adenovirus (SC-Ad) vector that amplifies antigen genes like RC-Ad, but that avoids the risk of adenovirus infection. Here we have tested an SC-Ad6 vector expressing the glycoprotein (GP) from a 2014 EBOV strain in mice, hamsters, and rhesus macaques. We show that SC-Ad6-EBOV GP induces a high level of serum antibodies in all species and mediates significant protection against pseudo-challenge with rVSV-EBOV expressing luciferase in mice and hamsters. These data suggest that SC-Ad6-EBOV GP may be useful during future EBOV outbreaks.
Project description:BACKGROUND:This double-blind study assessed immunogenicity, lot consistency, and safety of recombinant vesicular stomatitis virus-Zaire Ebola virus envelope glycoprotein vaccine (rVSV?G-ZEBOV-GP). METHODS:Healthy adults (N = 1197) were randomized 2:2:2:2:1 to receive 1 of 3 consistency lots of rVSV?G-ZEBOV-GP (2 × 107 plaque-forming units [pfu]), high-dose 1 × 108 pfu, or placebo. Antibody responses pre-/postvaccination (28 days, 6 months; in a subset [n = 566], months 12, 18, and 24) were measured. post hoc analysis of risk factors associated with arthritis following vaccination was performed. RESULTS:ZEBOV-GP enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay (ELISA) geometric mean titers (GMTs) increased postvaccination in all rVSV?G-ZEBOV-GP groups by 28 days (>58-fold) and persisted through 24 months. The 3 manufacturing lots demonstrated equivalent immunogenicity at 28 days. Neutralizing antibody GMTs increased by 28 days in all rVSV?G-ZEBOV-GP groups, peaking at 18 months with no decrease through 24 months. At 28 days, ?94% of vaccine recipients seroresponded (ZEBOV-GP ELISA, ?2-fold increase, titer ?200 EU/mL), with responses persisting at 24 months in ?91%. Female sex and a history of arthritis were identified as potential risk factors for the development of arthritis postvaccination. CONCLUSIONS:Immune responses to rVSV?G-ZEBOV-GP persisted to 24 months. Immunogenicity and safety results support continued rVSV?G-ZEBOV-GP development. CLINICAL TRIALS REGISTRATION:NCT02503202.
Project description:The recombinant Vesicular Stomatitis Virus (rVSV) is an emerging platform for viral vector-based vaccines. Promising results have been reported in clinical trials for the rVSV-ZEBOV vaccine for Ebola virus disease prevention. In this study, we describe the titration tools elaborated to assess the titre of rVSV-ZEBOV productions. • A streamlined Median Tissue Culture Infectious Dose (TCID50) assay to determine the infectious titer of this vaccine was established. • A digital polymerase chain reaction (dPCR) assay to assess the total number of viral particles present in cell-free culture supernatants of rVSV productions was developed. • These assays are used to titre rVSV-ZEBOV samples and characterize the ratio of total particles to infectious units for monitoring process robustness and product quality attributes and can be used to titre samples generated in the production of further rVSV vectors.