This study evaluates safety of FINLAY-FR-02, a vaccine candidate against SARS-CoV-2 based on the recombinant receptor binding domain conjugated to tetanus toxoid, in a preclinical, repeat-dose toxicity and local tolerance study. Sprague Dawley rats were randomly allocated to three experimental groups: control (receiving physiological saline solution); placebo (receiving all vaccine components except antigens) and vaccine group (receiving three doses of the vaccine candidate, 37.5 µg of RBD) administered intramuscularly in hind limbs at 24 h intervals during three days. We evaluated physiological condition, pain, food and water consumption, body temperature, dermal irritability, injection site temperature and inﬂammation, immunological response, blood chemistry, relative organ weight, histopathology and immunotoxicology. The product was well tolerated; no clinically relevant changes, pain, local effects or adverse systemic toxicological changes or deaths were observed. These preliminary results permitted the Cuban regulatory authorities to authorize clinical trials in humans.
Keywords: COVID-19 vaccine; Conjugate vaccine; Cuba; Local tolerance; RBD; Repeat-dose toxicity; SARS-CoV-2; Sprague Dawley rats; Tetanus toxoid.
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