ISSN / EISSN : 2076-393X / 2076-393X
Current Publisher: MDPI AG (10.3390)
Total articles ≅ 1,918
Latest articles in this journal
Vaccines, Volume 9; doi:10.3390/vaccines9060633
Vaccination against SARS-CoV-2 represents an effective and safe tool to protect the population against the disease; however, COVID-19 vaccine hesitancy could be a major barrier to achieving herd immunity. Despite the severity of the current pandemic, the population’s intention to get vaccinated against COVID-19 is still not clear. The aim of this study was to evaluate the intention to get vaccinated against COVID-19 among a convenience sample of the general population resident in Italy and the factors associated with hesitancy and acceptance of the vaccine in the context of the current pandemic before the rolling out of COVID-19 vaccines. An anonymous online survey was diffused among a general adult population living in Italy. Participants aged 18 or older and living in Italy were considered eligible. Incomplete questionnaires were excluded. Overall, 7605 valid questionnaires were collected. Most of the participants (81.9%) were inclined to get vaccinated; male sex (OR 1.38, 95% CI 1.12–1.71), a high level of trust in institutions (OR 3.93, 95% CI 2.04–7.83), and personal beliefs about high safety of COVID-19 vaccines (OR 56.33, 95% CI 31.57–105.87) were found to be among the significant predictors of COVID-19 acceptance. These data could help design larger studies to address the problem of COVID-19 vaccine hesitancy in the current pandemic.
Vaccines, Volume 9; doi:10.3390/vaccines9060635
The COVID-19 pandemic, caused by severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2), seems to be difficult to overcome. A pandemic of such a scale has not been seen since the 1918 influenza pandemic. Although the predominant clinical presentation is respiratory disease, neurological manifestations and sequelae are increasingly being recognized. We observed a case series of rapid recovery of ARDS within 24 h in the preliminary clinical features of COVID-19 ARDS-associated neurological disease. It was also noted that by 15 April, 2021, there was no SARS-CoV-2 ARDS on Sorok Island in South Korea, where lepers had been living together. We compared each of dapsone’s effects on humans and considered those of SARS-CoV-2. Dapsone showed different effects in the brain. The Sorokdo National Hospital reported a relationship between dapsone and the neuroinflammasome of Alzheimer’s disease (AD) in Sorok Island from January 2005 to June 2020. AD prevalence was low in the leprosy patient group who took dapsone regularly. The preliminary cross-sectional study of the trial group (22 subjects) and the control group (22 subjects) in the Hunt Regional Hospital reported the following results: The chi-square statistic is 5.1836. The p-value is 0.022801. The result is considered significant at p< 0.05. The results from the medical treatment from 21 December to 29 December 2020 were considered. The mortality rates at the ARDS onset stage were 0% with dapsone administered as a standard COVID-19 treatment and 40% without dapsone administered as a standard COVID-19 treatment, respectively. Based on the respiratory failure and sudden high death rate originating from the involvement of the brainstem, especially the pre-Bötzinger complex, dapsone can be used to significantly reduce the incidence of the cases of acute respiratory distress syndrome and other illnesses caused by SARS-CoV-2.
Vaccines, Volume 9; doi:10.3390/vaccines9060634
Tumors are composed of not only epithelial cells but also many other cell types that contribute to the tumor microenvironment (TME). Within this space, cancer-associated fibroblasts (CAFs) are a prominent cell type, and these cells are connected to an increase in tumor progression as well as alteration of the immune landscape present in and around the tumor. This is accomplished in part by their ability to alter the presence of both innate and adaptive immune cells as well as the release of various chemokines and cytokines, together leading to a more immunosuppressive TME. Furthermore, new research implicates CAFs as players in immunotherapy response in many different tumor types, typically by blunting their efficacy. Fibroblast activation protein (FAP) and transforming growth factor β (TGF-β), two major CAF proteins, are associated with the outcome of different immunotherapies and, additionally, have become new targets themselves for immune-based strategies directed at CAFs. This review will focus on CAFs and how they alter the immune landscape within tumors, how this affects response to current immunotherapy treatments, and how immune-based treatments are currently being harnessed to target the CAF population itself.
Vaccines, Volume 9; doi:10.3390/vaccines9060632
The novel coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) has represented an overwhelming challenge for worldwide health systems. Patients with cancer are considered at higher risk for severe COVID-19 and increased mortality in case of infection. Although data on the novel severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2) vaccination in patients with cancer are limited, there is enough evidence supporting anti-infective vaccination in general in patients with active cancer, or with history of previous malignancy. Subjects with classic Kaposi’s sarcoma (KS) represent a small subset of cancer patients, which should be considered at heightened risk for infections due to several factors including age, and impaired immune function status. Several cases of human herpesviruses reactivation among critically ill COVID-19 patients have been described. Moreover, in case of severe infection and treatment with immunomodulating agents, patients with CKS are exposed at significant risk of viral reactivation and disease progression. Considering the baseline clinical risk factors of patients with CKS, and the complex interplay of the two viral agents, SARS-CoV-2 vaccination should be strongly recommended among patients with KS. KS represents an interesting field to study the interactions among chronic viral infections, SARS-CoV-2 and the host’s immune system. Prospective observational studies are needed to provide more insights on vaccine activity and safety among patients with cancer, optimal vaccine schedules, potential interactions with antineoplastic therapies, and other comorbidities including chronic viral infections.
Vaccines, Volume 9; doi:10.3390/vaccines9060628
This retrospective cohort study compared the rates of virologically-confirmed SARS-CoV-2 infections, symptomatic or lethal COVID-19 among the residents of the Italian province of Pescara who received one or two doses of COVID-19 vaccines, versus the unvaccinated. The official data of the National Health System were used, and a total of 69,539 vaccinated adults were compared with 175,687 unvaccinated. Among the subjects who received at least one vaccine dose, 85 infections (0.12%), 18 severe and 3 lethal COVID-19 cases were recorded after an average follow-up of 38 days. Among the unvaccinated, the numbers were 6948 (4.00%), 933 (0.53%) and 241 (0.14%), respectively. The serious adverse event reports—yet unconfirmed—were 24 out of 102,394 administered doses. In a Cox model, adjusting for age, gender, and selected comorbidities, the effectiveness of either BNT162b2, ChAdOx1 nCoV-19 or mRNA-1273 vaccines was higher than 95% in preventing infections (mostly due to B.1.1.7 variant), symptomatic or lethal COVID-19. No differences were observed across genders, and among the 691 subjects who received the second dose of vaccine later than the recommended date. Although preliminary, these findings support current immunization policies and may help reducing vaccine hesitancy.
Vaccines, Volume 9; doi:10.3390/vaccines9060636
Ixodes ricinus is the main vector of tick-borne diseases in Europe. An immunization trial of calves with soluble extracts of I. ricinus salivary glands (SGE) or midgut (ME) previously showed a strong response against subsequent tick challenge, resulting in diminished tick feeding success. Immune sera from these trials were used for the co-immunoprecipitation of tick tissue extracts, followed by LC-MS/MS analyses. This resulted in the identification of 46 immunodominant proteins that were differentially recognized by the serum of immunized calves. Some of these proteins had previously also drawn attention as potential anti-tick vaccine candidates using other approaches. Selected proteins were studied in more detail by measuring their relative expression in tick tissues and RNA interference (RNAi) studies. The strongest RNAi phenotypes were observed for MG6 (A0A147BXB7), a protein containing eight fibronectin type III domains predominantly expressed in tick midgut and ovaries of feeding females, and SG2 (A0A0K8RKT7), a glutathione-S-transferase that was found to be upregulated in all investigated tissues upon feeding. The results demonstrated that co-immunoprecipitation of tick proteins with host immune sera followed by protein identification using LC-MS/MS is a valid approach to identify antigen–antibody interactions, and could be integrated into anti-tick vaccine discovery pipelines.
Vaccines, Volume 9; doi:10.3390/vaccines9060638
At the end of 2020, the Italian Ministry of Health launched a national vaccination campaign to counteract the COVID-19 pandemic. The present study aimed at appraising levels of knowledge about and acceptance of COVID-19 vaccination in a sample of Italian undergraduates during the first phase of the immunization plan. A web-based questionnaire was administered to students attending universities in Bari, Naples, and Rome during the period February–April 2021. Of the total of 3226 participants, 91.9% were keen to receive a COVID-19 vaccination. More than 80% gave correct answers to questions about COVID-19 vaccine administration, functioning, and effects on community health. However, only 63.8% identified the correct composition of the available vaccines. Knowledge was found to be related to sociodemographic features and COVID-19 vaccination acceptance (p< 0.05). COVID-19 vaccination acceptance was found to be related to having a previous vaccination against influenza (OR 3.806, CI 95% 1.181–12.267; p = 0.025) and knowledge (OR 4.759, CI 95% 2.106–10.753; p = 0.000). These results show a good level of awareness about COVID-19 vaccination in this population, which may indicate the effectiveness of communication strategies accompanying the COVID-19 immunization campaign in Italy.
Vaccines, Volume 9; doi:10.3390/vaccines9060629
Influenza A virus (IAV) is a significant human pathogen that causes seasonal epidemics. Although various types of vaccines are available, IAVs still circulate among human populations, possibly due to their ability to circumvent host immune responses. IAV expresses two host shutoff proteins, PA-X and NS1, which antagonize the host innate immune response. By transcriptomic analysis, we previously showed that PA-X is a major contributor for general shutoff, while shutoff active NS1 specifically inhibits the expression of host cytokines, MHC molecules, and genes involved in innate immunity in cultured human cells. So far, the impact of these shutoff proteins in the acquired immune response in vivo has not been determined in detail. In this study, we analyzed the effects of PA-X and NS1 shutoff activities on immune response using recombinant influenza A/California/04/2009 viruses containing mutations affecting the expression of shutoff active PA-X and NS1 in a mouse model. Our data indicate that the virus without shutoff activities induced the strongest T and B cell responses. Both PA-X and NS1 reduced host immune responses, but shutoff active NS1 most effectively suppressed lymphocyte migration to the lungs, antibody production, and the generation of IAV specific CD4+ and CD8+ T cells. NS1 also prevented the generation of protective immunity against a heterologous virus challenge. These data indicate that shutoff active NS1 plays a major role in suppressing host immune responses against IAV infection.
Vaccines, Volume 9; doi:10.3390/vaccines9060630
Ebola virus (EBOV) is the cause of sporadic outbreaks of human hemorrhagic disease in Africa, and the best-characterized virus in the filovirus family. The West African epidemic accelerated the clinical development of vaccines and therapeutics, leading to licensure of vaccines and antibody-based therapeutics for human use in recent years. The most widely used vaccine is based on vesicular stomatitis virus (VSV) expressing the EBOV glycoprotein (GP) (VSV-EBOV). Due to its favorable immune cell targeting, this vaccine has also been used as a base vector for the development of second generation VSV-based vaccines against Influenza, Nipah, and Zika viruses. However, in these situations, it may be beneficial if the immunogenicity against EBOV GP is minimized to induce a better protective immune response against the other foreign immunogen. Here, we analyzed if EBOV GP can be truncated to be less immunogenic, yet still able to drive replication of the vaccine vector. We found that the EBOV GP glycan cap and the mucin-like domain are both dispensable for VSV-EBOV replication. The glycan cap, however, appears critical for mediating a protective immune response against lethal EBOV challenge in mice.
Vaccines, Volume 9; doi:10.3390/vaccines9060631
As coronaviruses have a wide range of host species, many animals harbor these pathogens, however only a handful of them become severely infected