Immunogenicity and protective efficacy of an intranasal live-attenuated vaccine against SARS-CoV-2 in preclinical animal models

The global deployment of an effective and safe vaccine is currently a public health priority to curtail the coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) pandemic caused by severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2). Here, we evaluated a Newcastle disease virus (NDV)-based intranasal vectored-vaccine in mice and hamsters for its immunogenicity, safety and protective efficacy in challenge studies with SARS-CoV-2. The recombinant (r)NDV-S vaccine expressing spike (S) protein of SARS-CoV-2 administrated via intranasal route in mice induced high levels of SARS-CoV-2-specific neutralizing immunoglobulin A (IgA) and IgG2a antibodies and T cell-mediated immunity. Hamsters vaccinated with two doses of vaccine showed complete protection from clinical disease including lung infection, inflammation, and pathological lesions after SARS-CoV-2 challenge. Importantly, a single or double dose of intranasal rNDV-S vaccine completely blocked SARS-CoV-2 shedding in nasal turbinate and lungs within 4 days of vaccine administration in hamsters. Taken together, intranasal administration of rNDV-S has the potential to control infection at the site of inoculation, which should prevent both the clinical disease and transmission to halt the spread of the COVID-19 pandemic.

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