Research Article

Chimeric spike mRNA vaccines protect against Sarbecovirus challenge in mice

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Science  22 Jun 2021:
DOI: 10.1126/science.abi4506


The emergence of SARS-CoV in 2003 and SARS-CoV-2 in 2019 highlights the need to develop universal vaccination strategies against the broader Sarbecovirus subgenus. Using chimeric spike designs, we demonstrate protection against challenge from SARS-CoV, SARS-CoV-2, SARS-CoV-2 B.1.351, bat CoV (Bt-CoV) RsSHC014, and a heterologous Bt-CoV WIV-1 in vulnerable aged mice. Chimeric spike mRNAs induced high levels of broadly protective neutralizing antibodies against high-risk Sarbecoviruses. In contrast, SARS-CoV-2 mRNA vaccination not only showed a marked reduction in neutralizing titers against heterologous Sarbecoviruses, but SARS-CoV and WIV-1 challenge in mice resulted in breakthrough infections. Chimeric spike mRNA vaccines efficiently neutralized D614G, mink cluster five, and the UK B.1.1.7., and South African B.1.351 variants of concern. Thus, multiplexed-chimeric spikes can prevent SARS-like zoonotic coronavirus infections with pandemic potential.

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