Enhanced elicitation of potent neutralizing antibodies by the SARS-CoV-2 spike receptor binding domain Fc fusion protein in mice.Vaccine. 2020 10 27; 38(46):7205-7212.V
The development of an effective vaccine against SARS-CoV-2 is urgently needed. We generated SARS-CoV-2 RBD-Fc fusion protein and evaluated its potency to elicit neutralizing antibody response in mice. RBD-Fc elicited a higher neutralizing antibodies titer than RBD as evaluated by a pseudovirus neutralization assay and a live virus based microneutralization assay. Furthermore, RBD-Fc immunized sera better inhibited cell-cell fusion, as evaluated by a quantitative cell-cell fusion assay. The cell-cell fusion assay results correlated well with the virus neutralization potency and could be used for high-throughput screening of large panels of anti-SARS-CoV-2 antibodies and vaccines without the requirement of live virus infection in BSL3 containment. Moreover, the anti-RBD sera did not enhance the pseudotyped SARS-CoV-2 infection of K562 cells. These results demonstrate that Fc fusion can significantly improve the humoral immune response to recombinant RBD immunogen, and suggest that RBD-Fc could serve as a useful component of effective vaccines against SARS-CoV-2.