A Single Dose of Modified Vaccinia Ankara expressing Ebola Virus Like Particles Protects Nonhuman Primates from Lethal Ebola Virus Challenge.
ABSTRACT: Ebola virus (EBOV), isolate Makona, was the causative agent of the West African epidemic devastating predominantly Guinea, Liberia and Sierra Leone from 2013-2016. While several experimental vaccine and treatment approaches have been accelerated through human clinical trials, there is still no approved countermeasure available against this disease. Here, we report the construction and preclinical efficacy testing of a novel recombinant modified vaccinia Ankara (MVA)-based vaccine expressing the EBOV-Makona glycoprotein GP and matrix protein VP40 (MVA-EBOV). GP and VP40 form EBOV-like particles and elicit protective immune responses. In this study, we report 100% protection against lethal EBOV infection in guinea pigs after prime/boost vaccination with MVA-EBOV. Furthermore, this MVA-EBOV protected macaques from lethal disease after a single dose or prime/boost vaccination. The vaccine elicited a variety of antibody responses to both antigens, including neutralizing antibodies and antibodies with antibody-dependent cellular cytotoxic activity specific for GP. This is the first report that a replication-deficient MVA vector can confer full protection against lethal EBOV challenge after a single dose vaccination in macaques.
Project description:Zaire and Sudan ebolavirus species cause a severe disease in humans and nonhuman primates (NHPs) characterized by a high mortality rate. There are no licensed therapies or vaccines against Ebola virus disease (EVD), and the recent 2013 to 2016 outbreak in West Africa highlighted the need for EVD-specific medical countermeasures. Here, we generated and characterized head-to-head the immunogenicity and efficacy of five vaccine candidates against Zaire ebolavirus (EBOV) and Sudan ebolavirus (SUDV) based on the highly attenuated poxvirus vector modified vaccinia virus Ankara (MVA) expressing either the virus glycoprotein (GP) or GP together with the virus protein 40 (VP40) forming virus-like particles (VLPs). In a human monocytic cell line, the different MVA vectors (termed MVA-EBOVs and MVA-SUDVs) triggered robust innate immune responses, with production of beta interferon (IFN-?), proinflammatory cytokines, and chemokines. Additionally, several innate immune cells, such as dendritic cells, neutrophils, and natural killer cells, were differentially recruited in the peritoneal cavity of mice inoculated with MVA-EBOVs. After immunization of mice with a homologous prime/boost protocol (MVA/MVA), total IgG antibodies against GP or VP40 from Zaire and Sudan ebolavirus were differentially induced by these vectors, which were mainly of the IgG1 and IgG3 isotypes. Remarkably, an MVA-EBOV construct coexpressing GP and VP40 protected chimeric mice challenged with EBOV to a greater extent than a vector expressing GP alone. These results support the consideration of MVA-EBOVs and MVA-SUDVs expressing GP and VP40 and producing VLPs as best-in-class potential vaccine candidates against EBOV and SUDV.IMPORTANCE EBOV and SUDV cause a severe hemorrhagic fever affecting humans and NHPs. Since their discovery in 1976, they have caused several sporadic epidemics, with the recent outbreak in West Africa from 2013 to 2016 being the largest and most severe, with more than 11,000 deaths being reported. Although some vaccines are in advanced clinical phases, less expensive, safer, and more effective licensed vaccines are desirable. We generated and characterized head-to-head the immunogenicity and efficacy of five novel vaccines against EBOV and SUDV based on the poxvirus MVA expressing GP or GP and VP40. The expression of GP and VP40 leads to the formation of VLPs. These MVA-EBOV and MVA-SUDV recombinants triggered robust innate and humoral immune responses in mice. Furthermore, MVA-EBOV recombinants expressing GP and VP40 induced high protection against EBOV in a mouse challenge model. Thus, MVA expressing GP and VP40 and producing VLPs is a promising vaccine candidate against EBOV and SUDV.
Project description:Ebola virus (EBOV) causes severe hemorrhagic fevers in humans, and no approved therapeutics or vaccine is currently available. Glycoprotein (GP) is the major protective antigen of EBOV, and can generate virus-like particles (VLPs) by co-expression with matrix protein (VP40). In this study, we constructed a recombinant Alphavirus Semliki Forest virus (SFV) replicon vector DREP to express EBOV GP and matrix viral protein (VP40). EBOV VLPs were successfully generated and achieved budding from 293 cells after co-transfection with DREP-based GP and VP40 vectors (DREP-GP+DREP-VP40). Vaccination of BALB/c mice with DREP-GP, DREP-VP40, or DREP-GP+DREP-VP40 vectors, followed by immediate electroporation resulted in a mixed IgG subclass production, which recognized EBOV GP and/or VP40 proteins. This vaccination regimen also led to the generation of both Th1 and Th2 cellular immune responses in mice. Notably, vaccination with DREP-GP and DREP-VP40, which produces both GP and VP40 antigens, induced a significantly higher level of anti-GP IgG2a antibody and increased IFN-? secreting CD8+ T-cell responses relative to vaccination with DREP-GP or DREP-VP40 vector alone. Our study indicates that co-expression of GP and VP40 antigens based on the SFV replicon vector generates EBOV VLPs in vitro, and vaccination with recombinant DREP vectors containing GP and VP40 antigens induces Ebola antigen-specific humoral and cellular immune responses in mice. This novel approach provides a simple and efficient vaccine platform for Ebola disease prevention.
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), isolate Makona, the causative agent of the West African EBOV epidemic, has been the subject of numerous investigations to determine the genetic diversity and its potential implication for virus biology, pathogenicity, and transmissibility. Despite various mutations that have emerged over time through multiple human-to-human transmission chains, their biological relevance remains questionable. Recently, mutations in the glycoprotein GP and polymerase L, which emerged and stabilized early during the outbreak, have been associated with improved viral fitness in cell culture. Here, we infected mice and rhesus macaques with EBOV-Makona isolates carrying or lacking those mutations. Surprisingly, all isolates behaved very similarly independent of the genotype, causing severe or lethal disease in mice and macaques, respectively. Likewise, we could not detect any evidence for differences in virus shedding. Thus, no specific biological phenotype could be associated with these EBOV-Makona mutations in two animal models.
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:Filoviruses cause hemorrhagic fever resulting in significant morbidity and mortality in humans. Several vaccine platforms that include multiple virus-vectored approaches and virus-like particles (VLPs) have shown efficacy in nonhuman primates. Previous studies have shown protection of cynomolgus macaques against homologous infection for Ebola virus (EBOV) and Marburg virus (MARV) following a three-dose vaccine regimen of EBOV or MARV VLPs, as well as heterologous protection against Ravn Virus (RAVV) following vaccination with MARV VLPs. The objectives of the current studies were to determine the minimum number of vaccine doses required for protection (using EBOV as the test system) and then demonstrate protection against Sudan virus (SUDV) and Taï Forest virus (TAFV). Using the EBOV nonhuman primate model, we show that one or two doses of VLP vaccine can confer protection from lethal infection. VLPs containing the SUDV glycoprotein, nucleoprotein and VP40 matrix protein provide complete protection against lethal SUDV infection in macaques. Finally, we demonstrate protective efficacy mediated by EBOV, but not SUDV, VLPs against TAFV; this is the first demonstration of complete cross-filovirus protection using a single component heterologous vaccine within the Ebolavirus genus. Along with our previous results, this observation provides strong evidence that it will be possible to develop and administer a broad-spectrum VLP-based vaccine that will protect against multiple filoviruses by combining only three EBOV, SUDV and MARV components.
Project description:Ebolaviruses pose significant public health problems due to their high lethality, unpredictable emergence, and localization to the poorest areas of the world. In addition to implementation of standard public health control procedures, a number of experimental human vaccines are being explored as a further means for outbreak control. Recombinant cytomegalovirus (CMV)-based vectors are a novel vaccine platform that have been shown to induce substantial levels of durable, but primarily T-cell-biased responses against the encoded heterologous target antigen. Herein, we demonstrate the ability of rhesus CMV (RhCMV) expressing Ebola virus (EBOV) glycoprotein (GP) to provide protective immunity to rhesus macaques against lethal EBOV challenge. Surprisingly, vaccination was associated with high levels of GP-specific antibodies, but with no detectable GP-directed cellular immunity.
Project description:It has been proven challenging to conduct traditional efficacy trials for Ebola virus (EBOV) vaccines. In the absence of efficacy data, immunobridging is an approach to infer the likelihood of a vaccine protective effect, by translating vaccine immunogenicity in humans to a protective effect, using the relationship between vaccine immunogenicity and the desired outcome in a suitable animal model. We here propose to infer the protective effect of the Ad26.ZEBOV, MVA-BN-Filo vaccine regimen with an 8-week interval in humans by immunobridging. Immunogenicity and protective efficacy data were obtained for Ad26.ZEBOV and MVA-BN-Filo vaccine regimens using a fully lethal EBOV Kikwit challenge model in cynomolgus monkeys (nonhuman primates [NHP]). The association between EBOV neutralizing antibodies, glycoprotein (GP)-binding antibodies, and GP-reactive T cells and survival in NHP was assessed by logistic regression analysis. Binding antibodies against the EBOV surface GP were identified as the immune parameter with the strongest correlation to survival post EBOV challenge, and used to infer the predicted protective effect of the vaccine in humans using published data from phase I studies. The human vaccine-elicited EBOV GP-binding antibody levels are in a range associated with significant protection against mortality in NHP. Based on this immunobridging analysis, the EBOV GP-specific-binding antibody levels elicited by the Ad26.ZEBOV, MVA-BN-Filo vaccine regimen in humans will likely provide protection against EBOV disease.
Project description:BACKGROUND:Ebola virus (EBOV), variant Makona, was the causative agent of the 2013-2016 West African epidemic responsible for almost 30,000 human infections and over 11,000 fatalities. During the epidemic, the development of several experimental vaccines was accelerated through human clinical trials. One of them, the vesicular stomatitis virus (VSV)-based vaccine VSV-EBOV, showed promising efficacy in a phase 3 clinical trial in Guinea and is currently used in the ongoing EBOV outbreak in the northeastern part of the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC). This vaccine expresses the EBOV-Kikwit glycoprotein from the 1995 outbreak as the immunogen. METHODS:Here we generated a VSV-based vaccine expressing the contemporary EBOV-Makona glycoprotein. We characterized the vaccine in tissue culture and analyzed vaccine efficacy in the cynomolgus macaque model. Subsequently, we determined the dose-dependent protective efficacy in nonhuman primates against lethal EBOV challenge. FINDINGS:We observed complete protection from disease with VSV-EBOV doses ranging from 1?×?107 to 1?×?101 plaque-forming units. Some protected animals receiving lower vaccine doses developed temporary low-level EBOV viremia. Control animals developed classical EBOV disease and reached euthanasia criteria within a week after challenge. This study demonstrates that very low doses of VSV-EBOV uniformly protect macaques against lethal EBOV challenge. INTERPRETATION:Our study provides missing pre-clinical data supporting the use of reduced VSV-EBOV vaccine doses without decreasing protective efficacy and at the same time increase vaccine safety and availability - two critical concerns in public health response. FUNDING:Division of Intramural Research, National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, National Institutes of Health.
Project description:The search for a universal filovirus vaccine that provides protection against multiple filovirus species has been prompted by sporadic but highly lethal outbreaks of Ebolavirus and Marburgvirus infections. A good prophylactic vaccine should be able to provide protection to all known filovirus species and as an upside potentially protect from newly emerging virus strains. We investigated the immunogenicity and protection elicited by multivalent vaccines expressing glycoproteins (GP) from Ebola virus (EBOV), Sudan virus (SUDV), Taï Forest virus (TAFV) and Marburg virus (MARV). Immune responses against filovirus GP have been associated with protection from disease. The GP antigens were expressed by adenovirus serotypes 26 and 35 (Ad26 and Ad35) and modified Vaccinia virus Ankara (MVA) vectors, all selected for their strong immunogenicity and good safety profile. Using fully lethal NHP intramuscular challenge models, we assessed different vaccination regimens for immunogenicity and protection from filovirus disease. Heterologous multivalent Ad26-Ad35 prime-boost vaccination regimens could give full protection against MARV (range 75%-100% protection) and EBOV (range 50% to 100%) challenge, and partial protection (75%) against SUDV challenge. Heterologous multivalent Ad26-MVA prime-boost immunization gave full protection against EBOV challenge in a small cohort study. The use of such multivalent vaccines did not show overt immune interference in comparison with monovalent vaccines. Multivalent vaccines induced GP-specific antibody responses and cellular IFN? responses to each GP expressed by the vaccine, and cross-reactivity to TAFV GP was detected in a trivalent vaccine expressing GP from EBOV, SUDV and MARV. In the EBOV challenge studies, higher humoral EBOV GP-specific immune responses (p = 0.0004) were associated with survival from EBOV challenge and less so for cellular immune responses (p = 0.0320). These results demonstrate that it is feasible to generate a multivalent filovirus vaccine that can protect against lethal infection by multiple members of the filovirus family.