Optimization of antigen dose for a receptorbinding domain-based subunit vaccine against MERS coronavirus

Jian Tang, Naru Zhang, Xinrong Tao, Guangyu Zhao, Yan Guo, Chien Te K. Tseng, Shibo Jiang, Lanying Du, Yusen Zhou

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

67 Scopus citations


Middle East respiratory syndrome (MERS) is an emerging infectious disease caused by MERS coronavirus (MERS-CoV). The continuous increase of MERS cases has posed a serious threat to public health worldwide, calling for development of safe and effective MERS vaccines. We have previously shown that a recombinant protein containing residues 377– 588 of MERS-CoV receptor-binding domain (RBD) fused with human Fc (S377-588-Fc) induced highly potent anti-MERSCoV neutralizing antibodies in the presence of MF59 adjuvant. Here we optimized the doses of S377-588-Fc using MF59 as an adjuvant in order to elicit strong immune responses with minimal amount of antigen. Our results showed that S377-588-Fc at 1 mg was able to induce in the immunized mice potent humoral and cellular immune responses. Particularly, S377-588-Fc at 1 mg elicited strong neutralizing antibody responses against both pseudotyped and live MERS-CoV similar to those induced at 5 and 20 mg, respectively. These results suggest that this RBD-based subunit MERS vaccine candidate at the dose as low as one mg is sufficiently potent to induce strong humoral and cellular immune responses, including neutralizing antibodies, against MERS-CoV infection, thus providing guidance for determining the optimal dosage of RBD-based MERS vaccines in the future clinical trials and for applying the dosesparing strategy in other subunit vaccine trials.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article numberA026
Pages (from-to)1244-1250
Number of pages7
JournalHuman Vaccines and Immunotherapeutics
Issue number5
StatePublished - 2015


  • Antigen doses
  • MERS
  • MERS-CoV
  • Receptor-binding domain
  • Subunit vaccines

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Immunology and Allergy
  • Immunology
  • Pharmacology


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