An adjuvanted subunit SARS-CoV-2 spike protein vaccine provides protection against Covid-19 infection and transmission

NPJ Vaccines. 2022 Feb 23;7(1):24. doi: 10.1038/s41541-022-00450-8.


Recombinant protein approaches offer major promise for safe and effective vaccine prevention of SARS-CoV-2 infection. We developed a recombinant spike protein vaccine (called NARUVAX-C19) and characterized its ability when formulated with a nanoemulsion adjuvant to induce anti-spike antibody and T-cell responses and provide protection including against viral transmission in rodent. In mice, NARUVAX-C19 vaccine administered intramuscularly twice at 21-day interval elicited balanced Th1/Th2 humoral and T-cell responses with high titers of neutralizing antibodies against wild-type (D614G) and delta (B.1.617.2) variants. In Syrian hamsters, NARUVAX-C19 provided complete protection against wild-type (D614G) infection and prevented its transmission to naïve animals (n = 2/group) placed in the same cage as challenged animals (n = 6/group). The results contrasted with only weak protection seen with a monomeric spike receptor-binding domain (RBD) vaccine even when formulated with the same adjuvant. These encouraging results warrant the ongoing development of this COVID-19 vaccine candidate.