Immunogenicity and efficacy of the COVID-19 candidate vector vaccine MVA-SARS-2-S in preclinical vaccination

Alina Tscherne, Jan Hendrik Schwarz, Cornelius Rohde, Alexandra Kupke, Georgia Kalodimou, Leonard Limpinsel, Nisreen M.A. Okba, Berislav Bošnjak, Inga Sandrock, Ivan Odak, Sandro Halwe, Lucie Sauerhering, Katrin Brosinski, Nan Liangliang, Elke Duell, Sylvia Jany, Astrid Freudenstein, Jörg Schmidt, Anke Werner, Michelle Gellhorn SerraMichael Klüver, Wolfgang Guggemos, Michael Seilmaier, Clemens Martin Wendtner, Reinhold Förster, Bart L. Haagmans, Stephan Becker, Gerd Sutter, Asisa Volz

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

49 Scopus citations

Abstract

Severe acute respiratory syndrome (SARS) coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2) has emerged as the infectious agent causing the pandemic coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) with dramatic consequences for global human health and economics. Previously, we reached clinical evaluation with our vector vaccine based on modified vaccinia virus Ankara (MVA) against the Middle East respiratory syndrome coronavirus (MERS-CoV), which causes an infection in humans similar to SARS and COVID-19. Here,we describe the construction and preclinical characterization of a recombinant MVA expressing full-length SARS-CoV-2 spike (S) protein (MVA-SARS-2-S). Genetic stability and growth characteristics of MVA-SARS-2-S, plus its robust expression of S protein as antigen, make it a suitable candidate vaccine for industrial-scale production. Vaccinated mice produced S-specific CD8+ T cells and serum antibodies binding to S protein that neutralized SARS-CoV-2. Primeboost vaccination with MVA-SARS-2-S protected mice sensitized with a human ACE2-expressing adenovirus from SARS-CoV-2 infection. MVA-SARS-2-S is currently being investigated in a phase I clinical trial as aspirant for developing a safe and efficacious vaccine against COVID-19.

Original languageEnglish
Article numbere2026207118
JournalProceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America
Volume118
Issue number28
DOIs
StatePublished - 13 Jul 2021
Externally publishedYes

Keywords

  • Nonclinical testing
  • Poxvirus
  • Vaccine vector
  • Vaccinia virus

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