The development of an effective vaccine against severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2), the etiologic agent of coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19), is a global priority. Here, we compare the protective capacity of intranasal and intramuscular delivery of a chimpanzee adenovirus-vectored vaccine encoding a prefusion stabilized spike protein (chimpanzee adenovirus [ChAd]-SARS-CoV-2-S) in Golden Syrian hamsters. Although immunization with ChAd-SARS-CoV-2-S induces robust spike-protein-specific antibodies capable of neutralizing the virus, antibody levels in serum are higher in hamsters vaccinated by an intranasal compared to intramuscular route. Accordingly, against challenge with SARS-CoV-2, ChAd-SARS-CoV-2-S-immunized hamsters are protected against less weight loss and have reduced viral infection in nasal swabs and lungs, and reduced pathology and inflammatory gene expression in the lungs, compared to ChAd-control immunized hamsters. Intranasal immunization with ChAd-SARS-CoV-2-S provides superior protection against SARS-CoV-2 infection and inflammation in the upper respiratory tract. These findings support intranasal administration of the ChAd-SARS-CoV-2-S candidate vaccine to prevent SARS-CoV-2 infection, disease, and possibly transmission.
Keywords: ChAd vectored vaccine; SARS-CoV-2; Syrian hamster; intranasal immunization.
Copyright © 2021 The Author(s). Published by Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.