Immunogenicity and protective efficacy of inactivated SARS-CoV-2 vaccine candidate, BBV152 in rhesus macaques

Nat Commun. 2021 Mar 2;12(1):1386. doi: 10.1038/s41467-021-21639-w.


The COVID-19 pandemic is a global health crisis that poses a great challenge to the public health system of affected countries. Safe and effective vaccines are needed to overcome this crisis. Here, we develop and assess the protective efficacy and immunogenicity of an inactivated SARS-CoV-2 vaccine in rhesus macaques. Twenty macaques were divided into four groups of five animals each. One group was administered a placebo, while three groups were immunized with three different vaccine candidates of BBV152 at 0 and 14 days. All the macaques were challenged with SARS-CoV-2 fourteen days after the second dose. The protective response was observed with increasing SARS-CoV-2 specific IgG and neutralizing antibody titers from 3rd-week post-immunization. Viral clearance was observed from bronchoalveolar lavage fluid, nasal swab, throat swab and lung tissues at 7 days post-infection in the vaccinated groups. No evidence of pneumonia was observed by histopathological examination in vaccinated groups, unlike the placebo group which exhibited interstitial pneumonia and localization of viral antigen in the alveolar epithelium and macrophages by immunohistochemistry. This vaccine candidate BBV152 has completed Phase I/II (NCT04471519) clinical trials in India and is presently in phase III, data of this study substantiates the immunogenicity and protective efficacy of the vaccine candidates.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Antibodies, Neutralizing / immunology
  • Antibodies, Viral / immunology
  • COVID-19 Vaccines / therapeutic use*
  • Enzyme-Linked Immunosorbent Assay
  • Female
  • Immunohistochemistry
  • Lymphocytes / immunology
  • Lymphocytes / metabolism
  • Macaca mulatta
  • Male
  • Pneumonia / immunology
  • Pneumonia / metabolism
  • SARS-CoV-2 / pathogenicity*


  • Antibodies, Neutralizing
  • Antibodies, Viral
  • COVID-19 Vaccines

Associated data