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Rapid development of SARS-CoV-2 receptor binding domain-conjugated nanoparticle vaccine candidate

By Yin-Feng Kang, Cong Sun, Zhen Zhuang, Run-Yu Yuan, Qing-Bing Zheng, Ping-Ping Zhou, Jiang-Ping Li, Xin-Chun Chen, Xiao Zhang, Xiao-Hui Yu, Xiang-Wei Kong, Qian-Ying Zhu, Miao Xu, Nan-Shan Zhong, Yi-Xin Zeng, Guo-Kai Feng, Chang-Wen Ke, Jin-Cun Zhao, Mu-Sheng Zeng

Posted 03 Nov 2020
bioRxiv DOI: 10.1101/2020.11.03.366138

The ongoing of coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) pandemic caused by novel SARS-CoV-2 coronavirus, resulting in economic losses and seriously threating the human health in worldwide, highlighting the urgent need of a stabilized, easily produced and effective preventive vaccine. The SARS-COV-2 spike protein receptor binding region (RBD) plays an important role in the process of viral binding receptor angiotensin-converting enzyme 2 (ACE2) and membrane fusion, making it an ideal target for vaccine development. In this study, we designed three different RBD-conjugated nanoparticles vaccine candidates, RBD-Ferritin (24-mer), RBD-mi3 (60-mer) and RBD-I53-50 (120-mer), with the application of covalent bond linking by SpyTag-SpyCatcher system. It was demonstrated that the neutralizing capability of sera from mice immunized with three RBD-conjugated nanoparticles adjuvanted with AddaVax or Sigma Systerm Adjuvant (SAS) after each immunization was ~8- to 120-fold greater than monomeric RBD group in SARS-CoV-2 pseudovirus and authentic virus neutralization assay. Most importantly, sera from RBD-conjugated NPs groups more efficiently blocked the binding of RBD to ACE2 or neutralizing antibody in vitro, a further proof of promising immunization effect. Besides, high physical stability and flexibility in assembly consolidated the benefit for rapid scale-up production of vaccine. These results supported that our designed SARS-CoV-2 RBD-conjugated nanoparticle was competitive vaccine candidate and the carrier nanoparticles could be adopted as universal platform for future vaccine development. ### Competing Interest Statement The authors have declared no competing interest.

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