The development of effective countermeasures against severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2), the agent responsible for the COVID-19 pandemic, is a priority. We designed and produced ConVac, a replication-competent vesicular stomatitis virus (VSV) vaccine vector that expresses the S1 subunit of SARS-CoV-2 spike protein. We used golden Syrian hamsters as animal models of severe COVID-19 to test the efficacy of the ConVac vaccine. A single vaccine dose elicited high levels of SARS-CoV-2 specific binding and neutralizing antibodies; following intranasal challenge with SARS-CoV-2, animals were protected from weight loss and viral replication in the lungs. No enhanced pathology was observed in vaccinated animals upon challenge, but some inflammation was still detected. The data indicate rapid control of SARS-CoV-2 replication by the S1-based VSV-vectored SARS-CoV-2 ConVac vaccine.
Malherbe, Delphine C.; Kurup, Drishya; Wirblich, Christoph; Ronk, Adam J.; Mire, Chad; Kuzmina, Natalia; Shaik, Noor; Periasamy, Sivakumar; Hyde, Matthew A.; Williams, Julie M.; Shi, Pei-Yong; Schnell, Matthias J.; and Bukreyev, Alexander, "A single dose of replication-competent VSV-vectored vaccine expressing SARS-CoV-2 S1 protects against virus replication in a hamster model of severe COVID-19." (2021). Department of Microbiology and Immunology Faculty Papers. Paper 131.
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