Adjuvanted soluble protein vaccines have been used extensively in humans for protection against various viral infections based on their robust induction of antibody responses. Here, soluble prefusion-stabilized spike protein trimers (preS dTM) from severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2) were formulated with the adjuvant AS03 and administered twice to nonhuman primates (NHPs). Binding and functional neutralization assays and systems serology revealed that the vaccinated NHP developed AS03-dependent multifunctional humoral responses that targeted distinct domains of the spike protein and bound to a variety of Fc receptors mediating immune cell effector functions in vitro. The neutralizing 50% inhibitory concentration titers for pseudovirus and live SARS-CoV-2 were higher than titers for a panel of human convalescent serum samples. NHPs were challenged intranasally and intratracheally with a high dose (3 × 106 plaque forming units) of SARS-CoV-2 (USA-WA1/2020 isolate). Two days after challenge, vaccinated NHPs showed rapid control of viral replication in both the upper and lower airways. Vaccinated NHPs also had increased spike protein-specific immunoglobulin G (IgG) antibody responses in the lung as early as 2 days after challenge. Moreover, passive transfer of vaccine-induced IgG to hamsters mediated protection from subsequent SARS-CoV-2 challenge. These data show that antibodies induced by the AS03-adjuvanted preS dTM vaccine were sufficient to mediate protection against SARS-CoV-2 in NHPs and that rapid anamnestic antibody responses in the lung may be a key mechanism for protection.
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