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A Scalable Topical Vectored Vaccine Candidate Against SARS-CoV-2

Research output: Contribution to Journal/MagazineJournal articlepeer-review

Article number472
<mark>Journal publication date</mark>24/08/2020
Issue number3
Number of pages16
Publication StatusPublished
<mark>Original language</mark>English


The severe acute respiratory syndrome-coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2) caused an ongoing unprecedented global public health crises of coronavirus disease in 2019 (CoVID-19). The precipitously increased death rates, its impact on livelihood and trembling economies warrant the urgent development of a SARS-CoV-2 vaccine which would be safe, efficacious and scalable. Owing to unavailability of the vaccine, we propose a de novo synthesized avian orthoavulavirus 1 (AOaV-1)-based topical respiratory vaccine candidate against CoVID-19. Avirulent strain of AOaV-1 was engineered to express full length spike (S) glycoprotein which is highly neutralizing and a major protective antigen of the SARS-CoV-2. Broad-scale in vitro characterization of a recombinant vaccine candidate demonstrated efficient co-expression of the hemagglutinin-neuraminidase (HN) of AOaV-1 and S protein of SARS-CoV-2, and comparable replication kinetics were observed in a cell culture model. The recombinant vaccine candidate virus actively replicated and spread within cells independently of exogenous trypsin. Interestingly, incorporation of S protein of SARS-CoV-2 into the recombinant AOaV-1 particles attributed the sensitivity to anti-SARS-CoV-2 antiserum and more prominently to anti-AOaV-1 antiserum. Finally, our results demonstrated that the recombinant vaccine vector stably expressed S protein after multiple propagations in chicken embryonated eggs, and this expression did not significantly impact the in vitro growth characteristics of the recombinant. Taken together, the presented respiratory vaccine candidate is highly attenuated in primates per se, safe and lacking pre-existing immunity in human, and carries the potential for accelerated vaccine development against CoVID-19 for clinical studies.