Heterologous prime-boost vaccination with adenoviral vector and protein nanoparticles induces both Th1 and Th2 responses against Middle East respiratory syndrome coronavirus.Vaccine. 2018 06 07; 36(24):3468-3476.V
The Middle East respiratory syndrome coronavirus (MERS-CoV) is a highly pathogenic and zoonotic virus with a fatality rate in humans of over 35%. Although several vaccine candidates have been developed, there is still no clinically available vaccine for MERS-CoV. In this study, we developed two types of MERS-CoV vaccines: a recombinant adenovirus serotype 5 encoding the MERS-CoV spike gene (Ad5/MERS) and spike protein nanoparticles formulated with aluminum (alum) adjuvant. Next, we tested a heterologous prime-boost vaccine strategy, which compared priming with Ad5/MERS and boosting with spike protein nanoparticles and vice versa, with homologous prime-boost vaccination comprising priming and boosting with either spike protein nanoparticles or Ad5/MERS. Although both types of vaccine could induce specific immunoglobulin G against MERS-CoV, neutralizing antibodies against MERS-CoV were induced only by heterologous prime-boost immunization and homologous immunization with spike protein nanoparticles. Interestingly, Th1 cell activation was induced by immunization schedules including Ad5/MERS, but not by those including only spike protein nanoparticles. Heterologous prime-boost vaccination regimens including Ad5/MERS elicited simultaneous Th1 and Th2 responses, but homologous prime-boost regimens did not. Thus, heterologous prime-boost may induce longer-lasting immune responses against MERS-CoV because of an appropriate balance of Th1/Th2 responses. However, both heterologous prime-boost and homologous spike protein nanoparticles vaccinations could provide protection from MERS-CoV challenge in mice. Our results demonstrate that heterologous immunization by priming with Ad5/MERS and boosting with spike protein nanoparticles could be an efficient prophylactic strategy against MERS-CoV infection.