Nanoparticle Vaccines Based on the Receptor Binding Domain (RBD) and Heptad Repeat (HR) of SARS-CoV-2 Elicit Robust Protective Immune Responses.Immunity. 2020 12 15; 53(6):1315-1330.e9.I
Various vaccine strategies have been proposed in response to the global COVID-19 pandemic, each with unique strategies for eliciting immune responses. Here, we developed nanoparticle vaccines by covalently conjugating the self-assembled 24-mer ferritin to the receptor binding domain (RBD) and/or heptad repeat (HR) subunits of the Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome Coronavirus-2 (SARS-CoV-2) spike (S) protein. Compared to monomer vaccines, nanoparticle vaccines elicited more robust neutralizing antibodies and cellular immune responses. RBD and RBD-HR nanoparticle vaccinated hACE2 transgenic mice vaccinated with RBD and/or RBD-HR nanoparticles exhibited reduced viral load in the lungs after SARS-CoV-2 challenge. RBD-HR nanoparticle vaccines also promoted neutralizing antibodies and cellular immune responses against other coronaviruses. The nanoparticle vaccination of rhesus macaques induced neutralizing antibodies, and T and B cell responses prior to boost immunization; these responses persisted for more than three months. RBD- and HR-based nanoparticles thus present a promising vaccination approach against SARS-CoV-2 and other coronaviruses.