Preprint Article Version 1 Preserved in Portico This version is not peer-reviewed

Cellular and humoral immunogenicity of a candidate DNA Vaccine Expressing SARS-CoV-2 Spike Subunit 1

Version 1 : Received: 26 June 2021 / Approved: 28 June 2021 / Online: 28 June 2021 (13:40:25 CEST)

A peer-reviewed article of this Preprint also exists.

Alluhaybi, K.A.; Alharbi, R.H.; Alhabbab, R.Y.; Aljehani, N.D.; Alamri, S.S.; Basabrain, M.; Alharbi, R.; Abdulaal, W.H.; Alfaleh, M.A.; Tamming, L.; Zhang, W.; Hassanain, M.; Algaissi, A.; Abuzenadah, A.M.; Li, X.; Hashem, A.M. Cellular and Humoral Immunogenicity of a Candidate DNA Vaccine Expressing SARS-CoV-2 Spike Subunit 1. Vaccines 2021, 9, 852. Alluhaybi, K.A.; Alharbi, R.H.; Alhabbab, R.Y.; Aljehani, N.D.; Alamri, S.S.; Basabrain, M.; Alharbi, R.; Abdulaal, W.H.; Alfaleh, M.A.; Tamming, L.; Zhang, W.; Hassanain, M.; Algaissi, A.; Abuzenadah, A.M.; Li, X.; Hashem, A.M. Cellular and Humoral Immunogenicity of a Candidate DNA Vaccine Expressing SARS-CoV-2 Spike Subunit 1. Vaccines 2021, 9, 852.

Journal reference: Vaccines 2021, 9, 852
DOI: 10.3390/vaccines9080852

Abstract

The urgent need for effective, safe and equitably accessible vaccines to tackle the ongoing spread of COVID-19 led researchers to generate vaccine candidates targeting varieties of immunogens of SARS-CoV-2. Because of its crucial role in mediating binding and entry to host cell and its proven safety profile, the subunit 1 (S1) of the spike protein represents an attractive immunogen for vaccine development. Here, we developed and assessed the immunogenicity of a DNA vaccine encoding the SARS-CoV-2 S1. Following in vitro confirmation and characterization, the humoral and cellular immune responses of our vaccine candidate (pVAX-S1) was evaluated in BALB/c mice using two different doses, 25 µg and 50 µg. Our data showed high levels of SARS-CoV-2 specific IgG and neutralizing antibodies in mice immunized with three doses of pVAX-S1. Analysis of the induced IgG subclasses showed a Th1-polarized immune response as demonstrated by the significant elevation of spike-specific IgG2a and IgG2b compared to IgG1. Furthermore, we found that immunization of mice with three doses of 50 µg of pVAX-S1 could elicit significant memory CD4+ and CD8+ T cell responses. Taken together, our data indicates that pVAX-S1 is immunogenic and safe in mice and is worthy of further preclinical and clinical evaluation.

Keywords

SARS-CoV-2 vaccine; cellular and humoral immunogenicity; DNA vaccine

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