A Novel SARS-CoV-2 Multitope Protein/Peptide Vaccine Candidate is Highly Immunogenic and Prevents Lung Infection in an AAV hACE2 Mouse Model and non-human primates
Juin Hua Huang,
Chung Ho Hung,
Brandon T. Schurter,
Mei Mei Hu,
Delphine C. Malherbe,
Thomas P. Monath,
Chang Yi Wang
Posted 30 Nov 2020
bioRxiv DOI: 10.1101/2020.11.30.399154
Posted 30 Nov 2020
A novel multitope protein-peptide vaccine against Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome Coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2) infection and disease is described in this report. The initial development and characterization experiments are presented along with proof-of-concept studies for the vaccine candidate UB-612. UB-612 consists of eight components rationally designed for induction of potently neutralizing antibodies and broad T cell responses against SARS-CoV-2: the S1-RBD-sFc fusion protein, six synthetic peptides (one universal peptide and five SARS-CoV-2-derived peptides), a proprietary CpG TLR-9 agonist at low concentration as an excipient, and aluminum phosphate adjuvant. Through immunogenicity studies in Guinea pigs and rats, we optimized the design of protein/peptide immunogens and selected an adjuvant system, yielding a vaccine that provides excellent S1-RBD binding and high neutralizing antibody responses, robust cellular responses, and a Th1-oriented response at low doses. In challenge studies, UB-612 vaccination reduced viral load and prevented development of disease in mouse and non-human primate challenge models. With a Phase 1 trial completed, a Phase 2 trial ongoing in Taiwan, and additional trials planned to support global authorizations, UB-612 is a highly promising and differentiated vaccine candidate for prevention of SARS-CoV-2 infection and COVID-19 disease.
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