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Preprint in English | bioRxiv | ID: ppbiorxiv-448958


The spike (S) protein receptor-binding domain (RBD) of SARS-CoV-2 is an attractive target for COVID-19 vaccine developments, which naturally exists in a trimeric form. Here, guided by structural and computational analyses, we present a mutation-integrated trimeric form of RBD (mutI tri-RBD) as a broadly protective vaccine candidate, in which three RBDs were individually grafted from three different circulating SARS-CoV-2 strains including the prototype, Beta (B.1.351) and Kappa (B.1.617). The three RBDs were then connected end-to-end and co-assembled to possibly mimic the native trimeric arrangements in the natural S protein trimer. The recombinant expression of the mutI tri-RBD, as well as the homo-tri-RBD where the three RBDs were all truncated from the prototype strain, by mammalian cell exhibited correct folding, strong bio-activities, and high stability. The immunization of both the mutI tri-RBD and homo-tri-RBD plus aluminum adjuvant induced high levels of specific IgG and neutralizing antibodies against the SARS-CoV-2 prototype strain in mice. Notably, regarding to the "immune-escape" Beta (B.1.351) variant, mutI tri-RBD elicited significantly higher neutralizing antibody titers than homo-tri-RBD. Furthermore, due to harboring the immune-resistant mutations as well as the evolutionarily convergent hotspots, the designed mutI tri-RBD also induced strong broadly neutralizing activities against various SARS-CoV-2 variants, especially the variants partially resistant to homo-tri-RBD. Homo-tri-RBD has been approved by the China National Medical Products Administration to enter clinical trial (No. NCT04869592), and the superior broad neutralization performances against SARS-CoV-2 support the mutI tri-RBD as a more promising vaccine candidate for further clinical developments.

Preprint in English | bioRxiv | ID: ppbiorxiv-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.