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S-Trimer, a COVID-19 subunit vaccine candidate, induces protective immunity in nonhuman primates

By Joshua G. Liang, Danmei Su, Tian-Zhang Song, Yilan Zeng, Weijin Huang, Jinhua Wu, Rong Xu, Peiwen Luo, Xiaofang Yang, Xiaodong Zhang, Shuangru Luo, Ying Liang, Xinglin Li, Jiaju Huang, Qiang Wang, Xueqin Huang, Qingsong Xu, Mei Luo, Anliang Huang, Dongxia Luo, Chenyan Zhao, Fan Yang, Jian-Bao Han, Yong-Tang Zheng, Peng Liang

Posted 24 Sep 2020
bioRxiv DOI: 10.1101/2020.09.24.311027

SARS-CoV-2 is the underlying cause for the COVID-19 pandemic. Like most enveloped RNA viruses, SARS-CoV-2 uses a homotrimeric surface antigen to gain entry into host cells. Here we describe S-Trimer, a native-like trimeric subunit vaccine candidate for COVID-19 based on Trimer-Tag technology. Immunization of S-Trimer with either AS03 (oil-in-water emulsion) or CpG 1018 (TLR9 agonist) plus alum adjuvants induced high-levels of neutralizing antibodies and Th1-biased cellular immune responses in animal models. Moreover, rhesus macaques immunized with adjuvanted S-Trimer were protected from SARS-CoV-2 challenge compared to vehicle controls, based on clinical observations and reduction of viral loads in lungs. Trimer-Tag may be an important new platform technology for scalable production and rapid development of safe and effective subunit vaccines against current and future emerging RNA viruses. ### Competing Interest Statement J.G.L. and P.L. have ownership interest in Clover Biopharmaceuticals. All other authors have no competing interests.

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