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Attenuated influenza virions expressing the SARS-CoV-2 receptor-binding domain induce neutralizing antibodies in mice

By Andrea N. Loes, Lauren E. Gentles, Allison J. Greaney, Katharine H.D. Crawford, Jesse Bloom

Posted 13 Aug 2020
bioRxiv DOI: 10.1101/2020.08.12.248823 (published DOI: 10.3390/v12090987)

An effective vaccine is essential to controlling the spread of SARS-CoV-2 virus. Here, we describe an influenza-virus-based vaccine for SARS-CoV-2. We incorporated a membrane-anchored form of the SARS-CoV-2 Spike receptor binding domain (RBD) in place of the neuraminidase (NA) coding sequence in an influenza virus also possessing a mutation that reduces the affinity of hemagglutinin for its sialic acid receptor. The resulting ΔNA(RBD)-Flu virus can be generated by reverse genetics and grown to high titers in cell culture. A single-dose intranasal inoculation of mice with ΔNA(RBD)-Flu elicits serum neutralizing antibody titers against SAR-CoV-2 comparable to those observed in humans following natural infection (∼1:200). Furthermore, ΔNA(RBD)-Flu itself causes no apparent disease in mice. It might be possible to produce a vaccine similar to ΔNA(RBD)-Flu at scale by leveraging existing platforms for production of influenza vaccines. ### Competing Interest Statement The authors have declared no competing interest.

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