Finding a vaccine against COVID-19 to protect against infection and brain damage caused by the virus

summary: A new COVID-19 vaccine developed by researchers at CNB-CSIC appears to protect against brain infection and neurological symptoms associated with the coronavirus.

Source: University of Seville

Although respiratory diseases are the main impact of COVID-19, many patients also present with important neurological symptoms, such as anosmia (loss of smell), headache, malaise, cognitive loss, epilepsy, ataxia, and encephalopathy, from among others.

However, this effect on the nervous system due to coronavirus has not been described in detail, and it is not known whether vaccines developed against COVID-19 prevent the spread of SARS-CoV-2 to the central nervous system and provide protection against brain injury.

Now, using a mouse model susceptible to SARS-CoV-2 infection, a multidisciplinary team of Spanish researchers led by Dr. Javier Villadejo and Dr. Juan José Toledo-Aral (IBiS, CIBERNED, Department of Medical Physiology and Biophysics of the Faculty of Medicine of Seville) and Juan García -Arriaza (Department of Molecular and Cellular Biology of CNB-CSIC, CIBERINFEC and PTI Global Health of CSIC), in collaboration with other groups from the University of Seville and the Spanish National Research Council (CSIC), demonstrates the ability of SARS-CoV-2 to infect different regions of the brain and cause in brain damage, and how the CNB-CSIC vaccine fully protects against brain infection.

These results have been published in Natural neuroscience.

The researchers studied the progression of the viral infection in different brain regions, noting that the multiplication of the virus mainly occurs in neurons, resulting in pathological neurological changes such as loss of neurons, activation of glial cells, and damage to blood vessels.

We have performed a very detailed pathological and molecular study of the brain regions and cell types infected with the virus. It’s fascinating that Javier Villadejo explains how the virus infects different regions and nerve cells.

Once the pattern of infection in the brain by SARS-CoV-2 was identified, the researchers then evaluated the effectiveness of the vaccine against COVID-19 developed at CNB-CSIC. To do this, they immunized mice with one or two doses of MVA-CoV2-S vaccine, based on a modified Vaccine Ankara (MVA) virus expressing the spike (S) protein of SARS-CoV-2, and analyzed the ability to protect against infection. and damage to the brain.

“The results obtained are striking, demonstrating that even a single dose of MVA-CoV2-S vaccine completely prevents SARS-CoV-2 infection in all brain regions studied and prevents associated brain damage, even after reinfection with SARS-CoV-2. Virus This demonstrates the great efficacy and immunogenicity of the vaccine, which induces sterilizing immunity in the brain, ”says Juan Garcia Arreaza.

It shows a person holding a flask
The researchers studied the progression of the viral infection in different brain regions, noting that the multiplication of the virus mainly occurs in neurons, resulting in pathological neurological changes such as loss of neurons, activation of glial cells, and damage to blood vessels. The image is in the public domain

These findings reinforce previous data on the immunogenicity and efficacy of MVA-CoV2-S vaccine in different animal models.

“We have previously shown in a series of publications that the MVA-CoV2-S vaccine we developed at CNB-CSIC induces in three animal models (mice, hamsters and macaques) a strong immune response to the S protein-binding antibodies of the CNB-CSIC,” says Mariano Esteban, CNB-CSIC researcher. Study participant: “The virus and neutralizing antibodies against various variants of concern to the virus, as well as activation of T lymphocytes, are essential markers for infection control.”

The findings have important long-term implications for understanding the infection caused by SARS-CoV-2. “The data we obtained on SARS-CoV-2 infection in the brain are consistent with the neuropathology observed in patients with COVID-19,” says José López-Barneo, an IBiS researcher who co-authored the publication.

“Our work is the first study of a vaccine that is 100% effective against brain damage caused by SARS-CoV-2 in a susceptible mouse, and the results obtained strongly suggest that the vaccine can prevent the persistence of COVID-19 that has been observed in many infected people. With SARS-CoV-2,” says Juan Jose Toledo-Aral.

The data presented in this study with complete inhibition of SARS-CoV-2 replication in the brain mediated by the MVA-CoV2-S vaccine, together with previous studies published by the group and collaborators on the immunogenicity and efficacy of the vaccine against various variants of SARS-CoV-2, support this. Phase I clinical trials with such a vaccine, or similar prototypes, to assess its safety and immunogenicity,” stress the study authors.

About this search for COVID-19 news

author: press office
Source: University of Seville
Contact: Press Office – University of Seville
picture: The image is in the public domain

See also

This indicates damage to the brain tissue

Original search: open access.
“Complete protection against SARS-CoV-2 brain infection and damage in susceptible transgenic mice conferred by an MVA-CoV2-S vaccine candidate” by Javier Villadiego et al. Natural neuroscience


Summary

Complete protection against SARS-CoV-2 brain infection and damage in susceptible transgenic mice conferred by the MVA-CoV2-S vaccine candidate

Vaccines against SARS-CoV-2 have been shown to be safe and effective, but their protective efficacy against infection in the brain remains unclear.

Here, in a K18-hACE2 transgenic mouse model of severe coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19), we report a spatiotemporal characterization of SARS-CoV-2 infection and its replication across the brain. SARS-CoV-2 brain proliferation primarily occurs in neurons, resulting in neuronal loss, signs of glial activation, and vascular damage in SARS-CoV-2-infected mice.

One or two doses of a modified vaccine virus Ankara (MVA) vector expressing the SARS-CoV-2(S) protein (MVA-CoV2-S) provide complete protection against SARS-CoV-2 brain infection, preventing virus replication in All areas of the brain and their associated damage. This protection was maintained even after re-infection with SARS-CoV-2.

These results also support the use of MVA-CoV2-S as a promising vaccine candidate against SARS-CoV-2/COVID-19.

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