A Replication-Competent Vesicular Stomatitis Virus for Studies of SARS-CoV-2 Spike-Mediated Cell Entry and Its Inhibition.Cell Host Microbe. 2020 09 09; 28(3):486-496.e6.CH
There is an urgent need for vaccines and therapeutics to prevent and treat COVID-19. Rapid SARS-CoV-2 countermeasure development is contingent on the availability of robust, scalable, and readily deployable surrogate viral assays to screen antiviral humoral responses, define correlates of immune protection, and down-select candidate antivirals. Here, we generate a highly infectious recombinant vesicular stomatitis virus (VSV) bearing the SARS-CoV-2 spike glycoprotein S as its sole entry glycoprotein and show that this recombinant virus, rVSV-SARS-CoV-2 S, closely resembles SARS-CoV-2 in its entry-related properties. The neutralizing activities of a large panel of COVID-19 convalescent sera can be assessed in a high-throughput fluorescent reporter assay with rVSV-SARS-CoV-2 S, and neutralization of rVSV-SARS-CoV-2 S and authentic SARS-CoV-2 by spike-specific antibodies in these antisera is highly correlated. Our findings underscore the utility of rVSV-SARS-CoV-2 S for the development of spike-specific therapeutics and for mechanistic studies of viral entry and its inhibition.