We previously reported that a single immunization with an adenovirus serotype 26 (Ad26)-vector-based vaccine expressing an optimized SARS-CoV-2 spike (Ad26.COV2.S) protected rhesus macaques against SARS-CoV-2 challenge. To evaluate reduced doses of Ad26.COV2.S, 30 rhesus macaques were immunized once with 1 × 1011, 5 × 1010, 1.125 × 1010, or 2 × 109 viral particles (vp) Ad26.COV2.S or sham and were challenged with SARS-CoV-2. Vaccine doses as low as 2 × 109 vp provided robust protection in bronchoalveolar lavage, whereas doses of 1.125 × 1010 vp were required for protection in nasal swabs. Activated memory B cells and binding or neutralizing antibody titers following vaccination correlated with protective efficacy. At suboptimal vaccine doses, viral breakthrough was observed but did not show enhancement of disease. These data demonstrate that a single immunization with relatively low dose of Ad26.COV2.S effectively protected against SARS-CoV-2 challenge in rhesus macaques, although a higher vaccine dose may be required for protection in the upper respiratory tract.
Keywords: Ad26.COV2.S; COVID-19; SARS-CoV-2; humoral immunity; immunology; memory B cells; non-human primates; protection; vaccination.
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