A single shot pre-fusion-stabilized bovine RSV F vaccine is safe and effective in newborn calves with maternally derived antibodies

Achieving safe and protective vaccination against respiratory syncytial virus (RSV) in infants and in calves has proven a challenging task. The design of recombinant antigens with a conformation close to their native form in virus particles is a major breakthrough. We compared two subunit vaccines, the bovine RSV (BRSV) pre-fusion F (preF) alone or with nanorings formed by the RSV nucleoprotein (preF+N). PreF and N proteins are potent antigenic targets for neutralizing antibodies and T cell responses, respectively. To tackle the challenges of neonatal immunization, three groups of six one-month-old calves with maternally derived serum antibodies (MDA) to BRSV received a single intramuscular injection of PreF, preF+N with MontanideTM  ISA61 VG (ISA61) as adjuvant or only ISA61 (control). One month later, all calves were challenged with BRSV and monitored for virus replication in the upper respiratory tract and for clinical signs of disease over one week, and then post-mortem examinations of their lungs were performed. Both preF and preF+N vaccines afforded safe, clinical, and virological protection against BRSV, with little difference between the two subunit vaccines. Analysis of immune parameters pointed to neutralizing antibodies and antibodies to preF as being significant correlates of protection. Thus, a single shot vaccination with preF appears sufficient to reduce the burden of BRSV disease in calves with MDA.

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