We tested the efficacy of coronavirus-like particles (VLPs) for protecting mice against severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus (SCoV) infection. Coexpression of SCoV S protein and E, M and N proteins of mouse hepatitis virus in 293T or CHO cells resulted in the efficient production of chimeric VLPs carrying SCoV S protein. Balb/c mice inoculated with a mixture of chimeric VLPs and alum twice at an interval of four weeks were protected from SCoV challenge, as indicated by the absence of infectious virus in the lungs. The same groups of mice had high levels of SCoV-specific neutralizing antibodies, while mice in the negative control groups, which were not immunized with chimeric VLPs, failed to manifest neutralizing antibodies, suggesting that SCoV-specific neutralizing antibodies are important for the suppression of viral replication within the lungs. Despite some differences in the cellular composition of inflammatory infiltrates, we did not observe any overt lung pathology in the chimeric-VLP-treated mice, when compared to the negative control mice. Our results show that chimeric VLP can be an effective vaccine strategy against SCoV infection.