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The ongoing severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus-2 (SARS-CoV-2) pandemic necessitates the fast development of vaccines to meet a worldwide need. mRNA-based vaccines are the most promising technology for rapid and safe SARS-CoV-2 vaccine development and production. We have designed CVnCoV, a lipid-nanoparticle (LNP) encapsulated, sequence optimised mRNA-based SARS-CoV-2 vaccine that encodes for full length, pre-fusion stabilised Spike protein. Unlike other mRNA-based approaches, CVnCoV exclusively consists of non-chemically modified nucleotides and can be applied at comparatively low doses. Here we demonstrate that CVnCoV induces robust humoral and cellular responses in non-human primates (NHPs). Animals vaccinated with 8 g of CVnCoV were protected from challenge infection with SARS-CoV-2. Comprehensive analyses of pathological changes in challenged animals via lung histopathology and Computed Tomography (CT) scans gave no indication of enhanced disease upon CVnCoV vaccination. These results demonstrate safety, immunogenicity, and protective efficacy of CVnCoV in NHPs that extend our previously published preclinical data and provide strong support for further clinical testing in ongoing phase 2b/3 efficacy studies.

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