Preclinical study of a DNA vaccine targeting SARS-CoV-2 by Hiroki Hayashi

To fight against the worldwide COVID-19 pandemic, the development of an effective and safe vaccine against SARS-CoV-2 is required. As potential pandemic vaccines, DNA/RNA vaccines, viral vector vaccines and protein-based vaccines have been rapidly developed to prevent pandemic spread worldwide. In this study, we designed plasmid DNA vaccine targeting the SARS-CoV-2 Spike glycoprotein (S protein) as pandemic vaccine, and the humoral, cellular, and functional immune responses were characterized to…

Curr Res Transl Med. 2022 Apr 20;70(4):103348. doi: 10.1016/j.retram.2022.103348. Online ahead of print.

ABSTRACT

To fight against the worldwide COVID-19 pandemic, the development of an effective and safe vaccine against SARS-CoV-2 is required. As potential pandemic vaccines, DNA/RNA vaccines, viral vector vaccines and protein-based vaccines have been rapidly developed to prevent pandemic spread worldwide. In this study, we designed plasmid DNA vaccine targeting the SARS-CoV-2 Spike glycoprotein (S protein) as pandemic vaccine, and the humoral, cellular, and functional immune responses were characterized to support proceeding to initial human clinical trials. After intramuscular injection of DNA vaccine encoding S protein with alum adjuvant (three times at 2-week intervals), the humoral immunoreaction, as assessed by anti-S protein or anti-receptor-binding domain (RBD) antibody titers, and the cellular immunoreaction, as assessed by antigen-induced IFNγ expression, were up-regulated. In IgG subclass analysis, IgG2b was induced as the main subclass. Based on these analyses, DNA vaccine with alum adjuvant preferentially induced Th1-type T cell polarization. We confirmed the neutralizing action of DNA vaccine-induced antibodies by a binding assay of RBD recombinant protein with angiotensin-converting enzyme 2 (ACE2), a receptor of SARS-CoV-2, and neutralization assays using pseudo-virus, and live SARS-CoV-2. Further B cell epitope mapping analysis using a peptide array showed that most vaccine-induced antibodies recognized the S2 and RBD subunits. Finally, DNA vaccine protected hamsters from SARS-CoV-2 infection. In conclusion, DNA vaccine targeting the spike glycoprotein of SARS-CoV-2 might be an effective and safe approach to combat the COVID-19 pandemic.

PMID:35489099 | DOI:10.1016/j.retram.2022.103348

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