Single-dose attenuated Vesiculovax vaccines protect primates against Ebola Makona virus.
ABSTRACT: 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: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:Recent studies have shown that transcriptomic analysis of blood samples taken from patients with acute Ebola virus disease (EVD) during the 2013-2016 West African outbreak was suggestive that a severe inflammatory response took place in acutely ill patients. The significant knowledge gained from studying the Makona variant, a cause of the largest known EVD outbreak, may be applicable to other species of ebolavirus, and other variants of the Ebola virus (EBOV) species. To investigate the ability of Makona to initiate an inflammatory response in human macrophages and characterise the host response in a similar manner to previously characterised EBOV variants, the human monocytic cell line THP-1 was differentiated into macrophage-like cells and infected with Makona. RNA-Seq and quantitative proteomics were used to identify and quantify host mRNA and protein abundance during infection. Data from infection with Reston virus (RESTV) were used as comparators to investigate changes that may be specific to, or enhanced in, Makona infection in relation to a less pathogenic species of ebolavirus.. This study found demonstrable induction of the inflammatory response, and increase in the activation state of THP-1 macrophages infected with Makona. NF?B and inflammation-associated transcripts displayed significant changes in abundance, reflective of what was observed in human patients during the 2013-2016 EBOV outbreak in West Africa, and demonstrated that transcriptomic changes found in Makona-infected cells were similar to that observed in Reston virus infection and that have been described in previous studies of other variants of EBOV.
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:Zaire Ebolavirus (ZEBOV) continues to pose a significant threat to human health as highlighted by the recent epidemic that originated in West Africa and the ongoing outbreak in the Democratic Republic of the Congo. Although the ZEBOV variant responsible for this epidemic (Makona) shares significant genetic similarity with previously identified variants (Kikwit and Mayinga), recent reports suggest slower disease progression in nonhuman primates. However, the pathogenesis caused by the new variant is not fully understood. We present the first comprehensive approach in understanding ZEBOV-Makona pathogenesis in cynomolgus macaques by measuring changes in immune cell frequencies, plasma levels of immune mediators, and differentially expressed genes (DEGs) within whole blood (WB) and peripheral blood mononuclear cells (PBMC). Our combined approach revealed a link between: 1) increased interferon-stimulated gene expression, IFN? levels, and activated plasmacytoid dendritic cells; 2) higher proinflammatory gene expression, cytokine and chemokine levels, and non-classical monocytes; 3) gene signature of leukocyte activation and increased granulocytes; and 4) decreased expression of lymphocyte related genes and lymphopenia. In addition, our data strongly indicate delayed disease progression as well as limited overlap (~30%) in host transcriptome changes following ZEBOV-Makona infection compared to ZEBOV-Kikwit. These observations provide novel insight into the molecular mechanisms of ZEBOV-Makona pathogenesis.
Project description:A licensed vaccine against Ebola virus (EBOV) remains unavailable, despite >11 000 deaths from the 2014-2016 outbreak of EBOV disease in West Africa. Past studies have shown that recombinant vaccine viruses expressing EBOV glycoprotein (GP) are able to protect nonhuman primates (NHPs) from a lethal EBOV challenge. However, these vaccines express the viral GP-based EBOV variants found in Central Africa, which has 97.3% amino acid homology to the Makona variant found in West Africa. Our previous study showed that a recombinant adenovirus serotype 5 (Ad5)-vectored vaccine expressing the Makona EBOV GP (MakGP) was safe and immunogenic during clinical trials in China, but it is unknown whether the vaccine protects against EBOV infection. Here, we demonstrate that guinea pigs immunized with Ad5-MakGP developed robust humoral responses and were protected against exposure to guinea pig-adapted EBOV. Ad5-MakGP also elicited specific B- and T-cell immunity in NHPs and conferred 100% protection when animals were challenged 4 weeks after immunization. These results support further clinical development of this candidate and highlight the utility of Ad5-MakGP as a prophylactic measure in future outbreaks of EBOV disease.
Project description:Previous studies demonstrated that a single intramuscular (i.m.) dose of an attenuated recombinant vesicular stomatitis virus (rVSV) vector (VesiculoVax vector platform; rVSV-N4CT1) expressing the glycoprotein (GP) from the Mayinga strain of Zaire ebolavirus (EBOV) protected nonhuman primates (NHPs) from lethal challenge with EBOV strains Kikwit and Makona. Here, we studied the immunogenicities of an expanded range of attenuated rVSV vectors expressing filovirus GP in mice. Based on data from those studies, an optimal attenuated trivalent rVSV vector formulation was identified that included rVSV vectors expressing EBOV, Sudan ebolavirus (SUDV), and the Angola strain of Marburg marburgvirus (MARV) GPs. NHPs were vaccinated with a single dose of the trivalent formulation, followed by lethal challenge 28 days later with each of the three corresponding filoviruses. At day 14 postvaccination, a serum IgG response specific for all three GPs was detected in all the vaccinated macaques. A modest and balanced cell-mediated immune response specific for each GP was also detected in a majority of the vaccinated macaques. No matter the level of total GP-specific immune response detected postvaccination, all the vaccinated macaques were protected from disease and death following lethal challenge with each of the three filoviruses. These findings indicate that vaccination with a single dose of attenuated rVSV-N4CT1 vectors each expressing a single filovirus GP may provide protection against the filoviruses most commonly responsible for outbreaks of hemorrhagic fever in sub-Saharan Africa.IMPORTANCE The West African Ebola virus Zaire outbreak in 2013 showed that the disease was not only a regional concern, but a worldwide problem, and highlighted the need for a safe and efficacious vaccine to be administered to the populace. However, other endemic pathogens, like Ebola virus Sudan and Marburg, also pose an important health risk to the public and therefore require development of a vaccine prior to the occurrence of an outbreak. The significance of our research was the development of a blended trivalent filovirus vaccine that elicited a balanced immune response when administered as a single dose and provided complete protection against a lethal challenge with all three filovirus pathogens.
Project description:The Zaire ebolavirus (EBOV) glycoprotein (GP) is cleaved into two subunits (GP1 and GP2) that are both required for virus attachment and entry into cells. Sequence changes in the GP have been proposed to increase pathogenesis and to alter virus growth properties. Mutations in GP acquired during EBOV tissue culture passage have also been reported to change virus growth properties. Here, we report the isolation of six amino acid mutations in EBOV GP that spontaneously appeared during recovery and passage of an EBOV-Makona GP-pseudotyped vesicular stomatitis virus (VSV), two of which also occur during passage of EBOV clinical isolates in tissue culture. Each of the six mutations resulted in increased virus growth in monkey and human cell lines. All mutations are located in the GP2 fusion subunit and increase entry kinetics of EBOV virus-like particles (VLPs). The gain-of-entry function mapped to two mechanistic phenotypes. Mutations in heptad repeat 1 (HR1) decreased the requirement for cathepsin B activity for viral infection. Mutations directly within the fusion loop increased entry kinetics without altering the cathepsin B dependence. Several mutations in the fusion loop were substitutions of residues present in other ebolavirus glycoproteins, illustrating the evolutionary paths for maintaining an optimally functioning fusion loop under selection pressure.IMPORTANCEZaire ebolavirus (EBOV) is the causative agent of the highly lethal Ebola virus disease and poses a significant threat to the global health community. Approved antivirals against EBOV are lacking; however, promising therapies targeting the EBOV glycoprotein are being developed. Efficacy testing of these candidate therapeutics relies on EBOV laboratory stocks, which when grown in tissue culture may acquire mutations in the glycoprotein. These mutations can produce inaccurate results in therapeutic testing. Until recently, distinguishing between tissue culture mutations and naturally occurring polymorphisms in EBOV GP was difficult in the absence of consensus clinical GP sequences. Here, we utilize recombinant VSV (rVSV) pseudotyped with the consensus clinical EBOV Makona GP to identify several mutations that have emerged or have potential to emerge in EBOV GP during tissue culture passage. Identifying these mutations informs the EBOV research community as to which mutations may arise during preparation of laboratory virus stocks.
Project description:A major challenge in developing vaccines for emerging pathogens is their continued evolution and ability to escape human immunity. Therefore, an important goal of vaccine research is to advance vaccine candidates with sufficient breadth to respond to new outbreaks of previously undetected viruses. Ebolavirus (EBOV) vaccines have demonstrated protection against EBOV infection in nonhuman primates (NHP) and show promise in human clinical trials but immune protection occurs only with vaccines whose antigens are matched to the infectious challenge species. A 2007 hemorrhagic fever outbreak in Uganda demonstrated the existence of a new EBOV species, Bundibugyo (BEBOV), that differed from viruses covered by current vaccine candidates by up to 43% in genome sequence. To address the question of whether cross-protective immunity can be generated against this novel species, cynomolgus macaques were immunized with DNA/rAd5 vaccines expressing ZEBOV and SEBOV glycoprotein (GP) prior to lethal challenge with BEBOV. Vaccinated subjects developed robust, antigen-specific humoral and cellular immune responses against the GP from ZEBOV as well as cellular immunity against BEBOV GP, and immunized macaques were uniformly protected against lethal challenge with BEBOV. This report provides the first demonstration of vaccine-induced protective immunity against challenge with a heterologous EBOV species, and shows that Ebola vaccines capable of eliciting potent cellular immunity may provide the best strategy for eliciting cross-protection against newly emerging heterologous EBOV species.
Project description:The 2014-2015 Ebola virus (EBOV) outbreak in West Africa highlighted the urgent need for specific therapeutic interventions for infected patients. The human-mouse chimeric monoclonal antibody (mAb) cocktail ZMapp, previously shown to be efficacious in EBOV (variant Kikwit) lethally infected nonhuman primates (NHPs) when administration was initiated up to 5 days, was used in some patients during the outbreak. We show that a two-antibody cocktail, MIL77E, is fully protective in NHPs when administered at 50 mg/kg 3 days after challenge with a lethal dose of EBOV variant Makona, the virus responsible for the ongoing 2014-2015 outbreak, whereas a similar formulation of ZMapp protected two of three NHPs. The chimeric MIL77E mAb cocktail is produced in engineered Chinese hamster ovary cells and is based on mAbs c13C6 and c2G4 from ZMapp. The use of only two antibodies in MIL77E opens the door to a pan-ebolavirus cocktail.
Project description:Ebola virus (EBOV) is a zoonotic pathogen that poses a significant threat to public health, causing sporadic yet devastating outbreaks that have the potential to spread worldwide, as demonstrated during the 2013-2016 West African outbreak. Mouse models of infection are important tools for the development of therapeutics and vaccines. Exposure of immunocompetent mice to clinical isolates of EBOV is nonlethal; consequently, EBOV requires prior adaptation in mice to cause lethal disease. Until now, the only immunocompetent EBOV mouse model was based on the Mayinga variant, which was isolated in 1976. Here, we generated a novel mouse-adapted (MA)-EBOV based on the 2014 Makona isolate by inserting EBOV/Mayinga-MA mutations into the EBOV/Makona genome, followed by serial passaging of the rescued virus in suckling mice. The resulting EBOV/Makona-MA causes lethal disease in adult immunocompetent mice within 6 to 9 days and has a lethal dose (LD50) of 0.004 plaque forming units (PFU). Two additional mutations emerged after mouse-adaptation in the viral nucleoprotein (NP) and membrane-associated protein VP24. Using reverse genetics, we found the VP24 mutation to be critical for EBOV/Makona-MA virulence. EBOV/Makona-MA infected mice that presented with viremia, high viral burden in organs, increased release of pro-inflammatory cytokines/chemokines, and lymphopenia. Our mouse model will help advance pre-clinical development of countermeasures against contemporary EBOV variants.