ChAdOx1 nCoV-19 (AZD1222) or nCoV-19-Beta (AZD2816) protect Syrian hamsters against Beta Delta and Omicron variants

ChAdOx1 nCoV-19 (AZD1222) is a replication-deficient simian adenovirus-vectored vaccine encoding the spike (S) protein of SARS-CoV-2, based on the first published full-length sequence (Wuhan-1). AZD1222 has been shown to have 74% vaccine efficacy against symptomatic disease in clinical trials. However, variants of concern (VoCs) have been detected, with substitutions that are associated with a reduction in virus neutralizing antibody titer. Updating vaccines to include S proteins of VoCs may be beneficial, even though current real-world data is suggesting good efficacy following boosting with vaccines encoding the ancestral S protein. Using the Syrian hamster model, we evaluate the effect of a single dose of AZD2816, encoding the S protein of the Beta VoC, and efficacy of AZD1222/AZD2816 as a heterologous primary series against challenge with the Beta or Delta variant. Minimal to no viral sgRNA could be detected in lungs of vaccinated animals obtained at 3- or 5- days post inoculation, in contrast to lungs of control animals. In Omicron-challenged hamsters, a single dose of AZD2816 or AZD1222 reduced virus shedding. Thus, these vaccination regimens are protective against the Beta, Delta, and Omicron VoCs in the hamster model.

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