Experimental COVID-19 vaccine offers long-term protection against serious illness – ScienceDaily

In 2021, a group of scientists led by researchers from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, Weill Cornell Medicine and NewYork-Presbyterian reported that Moderna’s mRNA vaccine and a protein-based vaccine candidate contain an adjuvant, a substance that enhances the immune response elicited sustained neutralizing antibody responses to SARS-CoV-2 in preclinical research in infancy.

Now a follow-up study by the same group, published in Science Translational Medicinefound that the 2-dose vaccines in rhesus monkeys provided protection against lung disease for one year after vaccination as infants.

Article co-authors are Kristina De Paris, PhD, Professor of Microbiology and Immunology at UNC School of Medicine, Sallie Permar, MD, PhD, Chair of the Department of Pediatrics at Weill Cornell Medicine, and Koen KA Van Rompay, DVM, PhD , director of the Division of Infectious Diseases at California National Primate Research at the University of California, Davis. Co-first authors are Emma C. Milligan of the Children’s Research Institute at the UNC School of Medicine and Katherine Olstad of the California National Primate Research Center.

To evaluate the SARS-CoV-2 infant vaccine, researchers immunized two groups of eight infant rhesus monkeys at the California National Primate Research Center at 2 months of age and again four weeks later. Each animal received one of two types of vaccine: a preclinical version of Moderna’s mRNA vaccine, or a vaccine that combines a protein developed by the Vaccine Research Center of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases (NIAID), part of the National Institutes of Health , a potent adjuvant formulation was developed. Consisting of 3M’s molecular adjuvant 3M-052 formulated by Access to Advanced Health Institute (AAHI) in a squalene emulsion, the adjuvant formulation stimulates immune responses by activating receptors on immune cells.

“Following our SARS-CoV-2 infant rhesus monkey study, we challenged the animals one year later with a high-dose challenge with a SARS-CoV-2 variant to assess the durability of vaccine-induced immune responses and their efficacy.” , said Dr., said de Paris. “We found that both vaccines protected against lung disease, even though the challenging SARS-CoV-2 variants had numerous mutations in their spike protein that differed from the vaccine immunogen.”

Overall, the adjuvanted protein vaccine candidate retained higher levels of neutralizing antibodies and provided superior protection compared to the mRNA vaccine, said Dr. DeParis. These data imply that these vaccines are safe and highly effective when given to young macaque infants. In addition, the results inform the optimization and development of SARS-CoV-2 vaccines in a way that can reduce the need for frequent booster shots and protect special populations that do not have a fully developed immune system, such as B. small children.

“With COVID-19, young children are one of the most vulnerable pediatric populations. This fall we are seeing a sharp increase in hospitalizations for respiratory viral disease in infants as a result of a confluence of SARS-CoV-2, influenza, and RSV circulation,” said Dr. Permar, who is also the Nancy C. Paduano Professor of Pediatrics at the Weill is Cornell Medicine and Chief Pediatrician at New York-Presbyterian Komansky Children’s Hospital, “We should take every opportunity to provide our youngest patients with safe and effective vaccine immunity, including considering getting the COVID-19 vaccine before the currently recommended age of 6 months to consider.”

“This study emphasizes the need to immunize human infants against SARS-CoV-2 as much as possible, as the benefits are clear and long-lasting. It also underscores the value of animal models in infectious disease research,” said Dr. Van Rompay said. “The lessons we have learned and the resources and tools developed in the current study will be very valuable for future pandemic preparedness to more effectively manage outbreaks of novel coronaviruses or other respiratory viruses in pediatric populations.”

This research was funded by grants from the National Institutes of Health (P01AI117915-06S1), (U54 CA260543), (P510D11107), (UM1 AI068618-15: HVTN/HPTN, CoVPN), (P30AI050410: UNC Center for AIDS Research), and (P30 CA016086: UNC-LCCC Flow Cytometry Core Facility).

Additional authors include Caitlin A. Williams, Michael Mallory, Patricia Cano, Kaitlyn A. Cross, Jennifer E. Munt, Carolina Garrido, Lisa Lindesmith, Jennifer Watanabe, Jodie L. Usachenko, Lincoln Hopkins, Ramya Immareddy, Yashavanth Shaan Lakshmanappa, Sonny R Elizaldi, Jamin W Roh, Rebecca L Sammak, JoAnn L Yee, Savannah Herbek, Trover Scobey, Dieter Miehlke, Genevieve Fouda, Guido Ferrari, Hongmei Gao, Xiaoying Shen, Pamela A Kozlowski, David Montefiori, Michael Hudgens, Darin K Edwards, Andrea Carfi, Kizzmekia S Corbett, Barney S Graham, Christopher B Fox, Mark Tomai, Smita S Iyer, Ralph Baric, Rachel Reader, and Dirk P Dittmer.

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