Although unprecedented efforts aiming to stop the COVID-19 pandemic have been made over the past two years, SARSCoV-2 virus still continues to cause intolerable health and economical losses. Vaccines are considered the most effective way to prevent infectious diseases, which has been reaffirmed for COVID-19. However, in the context of the continuing virus spread because of insufficient vaccination coverage and emergence of new variants of concern, there is a high demand for vaccination strategy amendment. The ability to elicit protective immunity at the entry gates of infection provided by mucosal vaccination is key to block virus infection and transmission. Therefore, these mucosal vaccines are believed to be a "silver bullet" that could bring the pandemic to an end. Here, we demonstrate that the intranasally delivered Gam-COVID-Vac (Sputnik V) vaccine induced a robust (no less than 180 days) systemic and local immune response in mice. High immunogenic properties of the vaccine were verified in non-human primates (common marmosets) by marked IgG and neutralizing antibody (NtAb) production in blood serum, antigen-specific Tcell proliferation and cytokine release of peripheral blood mononuclear cells accompanied by formation of IgA antibodies in the nasal mucosa. We also demonstrate that Sputnik V vaccine can provide sterilizing immunity in K18-hACE2 transgenic mice exposed to experimental lethal SARS-CoV-2 infection protecting them against severe lung immunopathology and mortality. We believe that intranasal Sputnik V vaccine is a promising novel needle-free mucosal vaccine candidate for primary immunization as well as for revaccination and is worth further clinical investigation.
Keywords: COVID-19; Gam-COVID-Vac; SARS-CoV-2; Sputnik V; intranasal vaccine.