There is a great need for the development of vaccines that induce potent and long-lasting protective immunity against SARS-CoV-2. Multimeric display of the antigen combined with potent adjuvant can enhance the potency and longevity of the antibody response. The receptor binding domain (RBD) of the spike protein is a primary target of neutralizing antibodies. Here, we developed a trimeric form of the RBD and show that it induces a potent neutralizing antibody response against live virus with diverse effector functions and provides protection against SARS-CoV-2 challenge in mice and rhesus macaques. The trimeric form induces higher neutralizing antibody titer compared to monomer with as low as 1μg antigen dose. In mice, adjuvanting the protein with a TLR7/8 agonist formulation alum-3M-052 induces 100-fold higher neutralizing antibody titer and superior protection from infection compared to alum. SARS-CoV-2 infection causes significant loss of innate cells and pathology in the lung, and vaccination protects from changes in innate cells and lung pathology. These results demonstrate RBD trimer protein as a suitable candidate for vaccine against SARS-CoV-2.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Biochemistry, Genetics and Molecular Biology(all)
- Physics and Astronomy(all)