Live attenuated virus vaccine protects against SARS-CoV-2 variants of concern B.1.1.7 (Alpha) and B.1.351 (Beta)

Sci Adv. 2021 Dec 3;7(49):eabk0172. doi: 10.1126/sciadv.abk0172. Epub 2021 Dec 1.


Vaccines are instrumental and indispensable in the fight against the COVID-19 pandemic. Several recent SARS-CoV-2 variants are more transmissible and evade infection- or vaccine-induced protection. We constructed live attenuated vaccine candidates by large-scale recoding of the SARS-CoV-2 genome and showed that the lead candidate, designated sCPD9, protects Syrian hamsters from a challenge with ancestral virus. Here, we assessed immunogenicity and protective efficacy of sCPD9 in the Roborovski dwarf hamster, a nontransgenic rodent species that is highly susceptible to SARS-CoV-2 and severe COVID-19–like disease. We show that a single intranasal vaccination with sCPD9 elicited strong cross-neutralizing antibody responses against four current SARS-CoV-2 variants of concern, B.1.1.7 (Alpha), B.1.351 (Beta), B. (Gamma), and B.1.617.2 (Delta). The sCPD9 vaccine offered complete protection from COVID-19–like disease caused by the ancestral SARS-CoV-2 variant B.1 and the two variants of concern B.1.1.7 and B.1.351.