A single dose of self-transcribing and replicating RNA-based SARS-CoV-2 vaccine produces protective adaptive immunity in mice.Mol Ther. 2021 06 02; 29(6):1970-1983.MT
A self-transcribing and replicating RNA (STARR)-based vaccine (LUNAR-COV19) has been developed to prevent SARS-CoV-2 infection. The vaccine encodes an alphavirus-based replicon and the SARS-CoV-2 full-length spike glycoprotein. Translation of the replicon produces a replicase complex that amplifies and prolongs SARS-CoV-2 spike glycoprotein expression. A single prime vaccination in mice led to robust antibody responses, with neutralizing antibody titers increasing up to day 60. Activation of cell-mediated immunity produced a strong viral antigen-specific CD8+ T lymphocyte response. Assaying for intracellular cytokine staining for interferon (IFN)γ and interleukin-4 (IL-4)-positive CD4+ T helper (Th) lymphocytes as well as anti-spike glycoprotein immunoglobulin G (IgG)2a/IgG1 ratios supported a strong Th1-dominant immune response. Finally, single LUNAR-COV19 vaccination at both 2 μg and 10 μg doses completely protected human ACE2 transgenic mice from both mortality and even measurable infection following wild-type SARS-CoV-2 challenge. Our findings collectively suggest the potential of LUNAR-COV19 as a single-dose vaccine.