Immunization with the receptor–binding domain of SARS-CoV-2 elicits antibodies cross-neutralizing SARS-CoV-2 and SARS-CoV without antibody-dependent enhancement

Published on May 21, 2020in bioRxiv
· DOI :10.1101/2020.05.21.107565
Chenjian Gu (Fudan University Shanghai Medical College), Yu Zhou8
Estimated H-index: 8
(CAS: Chinese Academy of Sciences)
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Abstract
Recently emerged severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2) is the pathogen responsible for the ongoing coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) pandemic. Currently, there is no vaccine available for preventing SARS-CoV-2 infection. Like closely related severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus (SARS-CoV), SARS-CoV-2 also uses its receptor-binding domain (RBD) on the spike (S) protein to engage the host receptor, human angiotensin-converting enzyme 2 (ACE2), facilitating subsequent viral entry. Here we report the immunogenicity and vaccine potential of SARS-CoV-2 RBD (SARS2-RBD)-based recombinant proteins. Immunization with SARS2-RBD recombinant proteins potently induced a multi-functional antibody response in mice. The resulting antisera could efficiently block the interaction between SARS2-RBD and ACE2, inhibit S-mediated cell-cell fusion, and neutralize both SARS-CoV-2 pseudovirus entry and authentic SARS-CoV-2 infection. In addition, the anti-RBD sera also exhibited cross binding, ACE2-blockade, and neutralization effects towards SARS-CoV. More importantly, we found that the anti-RBD sera did not promote antibody-dependent enhancement of either SARS-CoV-2 pseudovirus entry or authentic virus infection of Fc receptor-bearing cells. These findings provide a solid foundation for developing RBD-based subunit vaccines for SARS-CoV2.
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