The emergence of SARS-CoV-2 variants of concern (VOC) requires adequate coverage of vaccine protection. We evaluated whether a SARS-CoV-2 spike ferritin nanoparticle vaccine (SpFN), adjuvanted with the Army Liposomal Formulation QS21 (ALFQ), conferred protection against the Alpha (B.1.1.7), and Beta (B.1.351) VOCs in Syrian golden hamsters. SpFN-ALFQ was administered as either single or double-vaccination (0 and 4 week) regimens, using a high (10 μg) or low (0.2 μg) dose. Animals were intranasally challenged at week 11. Binding antibody responses were comparable between high- and low-dose groups. Neutralizing antibody titers were equivalent against WA1, B.1.1.7, and B.1.351 variants following two high dose vaccinations. Dose-dependent SpFN-ALFQ vaccination protected against SARS-CoV-2-induced disease and viral replication following intranasal B.1.1.7 or B.1.351 challenge, as evidenced by reduced weight loss, lung pathology, and lung and nasal turbinate viral burden. These data support the development of SpFN-ALFQ as a broadly protective, next-generation SARS-CoV-2 vaccine.
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