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Capsid-like particles decorated with the SARS-CoV-2 receptor-binding domain elicit strong virus neutralization activity

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The rapid development of a SARS-CoV-2 vaccine is a global priority. Here, we develop two capsid-like particle (CLP)-based vaccines displaying the receptor-binding domain (RBD) of the SARS-CoV-2 spike protein. RBD antigens are displayed on AP205 CLPs through a split-protein Tag/Catcher, ensuring unidirectional and high-density display of RBD. Both soluble recombinant RBD and RBD displayed on CLPs bind the ACE2 receptor with nanomolar affinity. Mice are vaccinated with soluble RBD or CLP-displayed RBD, formulated in Squalene-Water-Emulsion. The RBD-CLP vaccines induce higher levels of serum anti-spike antibodies than the soluble RBD vaccines. Remarkably, one injection with our lead RBD-CLP vaccine in mice elicits virus neutralization antibody titers comparable to those found in patients that had recovered from COVID-19. Following booster vaccinations, the virus neutralization titers exceed those measured after natural infection, at serum dilutions above 1:10,000. Thus, the RBD-CLP vaccine is a highly promising candidate for preventing COVID-19.

Original languageEnglish
Article number324
JournalNature Communications
Issue number1
Pages (from-to)324
Publication statusPublished - Dec 2021

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© 2021, The Author(s).

Copyright 2021 Elsevier B.V., All rights reserved.

    Research areas

  • Angiotensin-Converting Enzyme 2, Animals, Antibodies, Neutralizing/immunology, Antibodies, Viral/immunology, COVID-19/prevention & control, COVID-19 Vaccines/immunology, Capsid/immunology, Female, Humans, Immunogenicity, Vaccine, Kinetics, Mice, Mice, Inbred BALB C, Protein Binding/genetics, Recombinant Proteins/genetics, SARS-CoV-2/immunology, Serologic Tests, Spike Glycoprotein, Coronavirus/immunology

ID: 62342255