BREAKING! French Study Published In Journal Of Infections Claims That ADE Or Antibody Dependent Enhancement Is Occurring In Delta Variant Infections!
A new study by French researchers from Aix-Marseille Université has alarmingly found that ADE or antibody dependent enhancement is indeed occurring in infections with the SARS-CoV-2 Delta variant.
The study findings were peer reviewed and published in the Journal of Infections. https://www.journalofinfection.com/article/S0163-4453(21)00392-3/fulltext
ADE or antibody dependent enhancement (ADE) of infection is a safety concern for vaccine strategies.
A misleading earlier study reported that infection-enhancing antibodies directed against the N-terminal domain (NTD) of the SARS-CoV-2 spike protein facilitate virus infection in vitro, but not in vivo. https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S009286742100756X
This study however was performed with the original Wuhan/D614G strain.
Importantly since the COVID-19 pandemic is now dominated with Delta variants, the study team analyzed the interaction of facilitating antibodies with the NTD of these variants.
Utilizing molecular modeling approaches, the team showed that enhancing antibodies have a higher affinity for Delta variants than for Wuhan/D614G NTDs.
The study team demonstrated that enhancing antibodies reinforce the binding of the spike trimer to the host cell membrane by clamping the NTD to lipid raft microdomains. This stabilizing mechanism may facilitate the conformational change that induces the de-masking of the receptor binding domain. As the NTD is also targeted by neutralizing antibodies, the study data suggest that the balance between neutralizing and facilitating antibodies in vaccinated individuals is in favor of neutralization for the original Wuhan/D614G strain.
Alarmingly, in the case of the Delta variant, neutralizing antibodies have a decreased affinity for the spike protein, whereas facilitating antibodies display a strikingly increased affinity.
Hence antibody dependent enhancement or ADE may be a concern for people receiving vaccines based on the original Wuhan strain spike sequence (either mRNA or viral vectors). Under these circumstances, second generation vaccines with spike protein formulations lacking structurally-conserved ADE-related epitopes should be considered.
The objective of the present study was to evaluate the recognition of SARS-CoV-2 Delta variants by infection enhancing antibodies directed against the NTD. The antibody studied is 1054 (pdb file #7LAB) which has been isolated from a symptomatic COVID-19 patient.
Molecular modeling simulations were performed as previously described
2. Two currently circulating Delta variants were investigated, with the following mutational patterns in the NTD:
- G142D/E154K (B.1.617.1)
- T19R/E156G/del157/del158/A222V (B.1.617.2)
Each mutational pattern was introduced in the original Wuhan/D614G strain, submitted to energy minimization, and then tested for antibody binding.
The energy of inte
raction (ΔG) of the reference pdb file #7LAB (Wuhan/D614G strain) in the NTD region was estimated to -229 kJ/mol−1. In the case of Delta variants, the energy of interaction was raised to -272 kJ.mol−1 (B.1.617.1) and -246 kJ.mol−1 (B.1.617.2).
Hence it was found that these infection enhancing antibodies not only still recognize Delta variants but even display a higher affinity for those variants than for the original SARS-CoV-2 strain.
As expected, the facilitating antibody bound to the NTD is located behind the contact surface so that it does not interfere with virus-cell attachment. Indeed, a preformed antibody-NTD complex could perfectly bind to the host cell membrane. The interaction between the NTD and a lipid raft and a whole raft-spike-antibody complex.
Interestingly, a small part of the antibody was found to interact with the lipid raft. More precisely, two distinct loops of the heavy chain of the antibody encompassing amino acid residues 28-31 and 72-74, stabilize the complex through a direct interaction with the edge of lipid raft.
Overall, the energy of interaction of the NTD-raft complex was raised from -399 kJ.mol−1 in absence of the antibody to -457 kJ.mol−1 with the antibody. By clamping the NTD and the lipid raft, the antibody reinforces the attachment of the spike protein to the cell surface and thus facilitates the conformational change of the RBD which is the next step of the virus infection process.
This notion of a dual NTD-raft recognition by an infection enhancing antibody may represent a new type of ADE that could be operative with other viruses. Incidentally, the study data provide a mechanistic explanation of the FcR-independent enhancement of infection induced by the 1054 antibody.
The model the study team proposes, which links for the first time lipid rafts to ADE of SARS-CoV-2, is in line with previous data showing that intact lipid rafts are required for ADE of dengue virus infection. https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/19828759/
Neutralizing antibodies directed against the NTD have also been detected in Covid-19 patients. https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/32571838/
The 4A8 antibody is a major representant of such antibodies. The epitope recognized by this antibody on the flat NTD surface is dramatically affected in the NTD of Delta variants, suggesting a significant loss of activity in vaccinated people exposed to Delta variants. More generally, it can be reasonably assumed that the balance between neutralizing and facilitating antibodies may greatly differ according to the virus strain.
It should be noted that all current Covid-19 vaccines (either mRNA or viral vectors) are based on the original Wuhan spike sequence. In as much as neutralizing antibodies overwhelm facilitating antibodies, ADE is not a concern. However, the emergence of SARS-CoV-2 variants may tip the scales in favor of infection enhancement. The study’s structural and modeling data suggest that it might be indeed the case for Delta variants.
The study team concludes and warns that ADE may occur in individuals receiving vaccines based on the original Wuhan strain spike sequence (either mRNA or viral vectors) and then exposed to a Delta variant.
Despite this potential risk has been cleverly anticipated before the massive use of Covid-19 vaccines, the ability of SARS-CoV-2 antibodies to mediate infection enhancement in vivo has never been formally demonstrated. However, although the results obtained so far have been rather reassuring, to the best of our knowledge ADE of Delta variants has not been specifically assessed.
Importantly as the study data indicate that Delta variants are especially well recognized by infection enhancing antibodies targeting the NTD, the possibility of ADE should be further investigated as it may represent a potential risk for mass vaccination during the current Delta variant pandemic.
The study team stresses that in this respect, second generation vaccines
with spike protein formulations lacking structurally-conserved ADE-related epitopes should be considered urgently.
For more in ADE and Delta Variant
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Share to as many people this new critical scientific study finding that has been peer reviewed and published in a credible medical journal as many bastard American and British social media platforms, search engines, mainstream media, American and British health and government officials and big pharma are trying to suppress data like these to the public. Lets pray that as more variants and more surges come, these people trying to controlling the narratives of the COVID-19 pandemic and their loved ones and supporters perish in the most painful manner.