Oral delivery of a chitosan adjuvanted COVID-19 vaccine provides long-lasting and broad-spectrum protection against SARS-CoV-2 variants of concern in golden hamsters

Antiviral Res. 2023 Dec:220:105765. doi: 10.1016/j.antiviral.2023.105765. Epub 2023 Nov 28.


Coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) seriously threatens public health safety and the global economy, which warrant effective prophylactic and therapeutic approaches. Currently, vaccination and establishment of immunity have significantly reduced the severity and mortality of COVID-19. However, in regard to COVID-19 vaccines, the broad-spectrum protective efficacy against SARS-CoV-2 variants and the blocking of virus transmission need to be further improved. In this study, an optimum oral COVID-19 vaccine candidate, rVSVΔG-Sdelta, was selected from a panel of vesicular stomatitis virus (VSV)-based constructs bearing spike proteins from different SARS-CoV-2 strains. After chitosan modification, rVSVΔG-Sdelta induced both local and peripheral antibody response, particularly, broad-spectrum and long-lasting neutralizing antibodies against SARS-CoV-2 persisted for 1 year. Cross-protection against SARS-CoV-2 WT, Beta, Delta, BA.1, and BA.2 strains was achieved in golden hamsters, which presented as significantly reduced viral replication in the respiratory tract and alleviated pulmonary pathology post SARS-CoV-2 challenge. Overall, this study provides a convenient, oral-delivered, and effective oral mucosal vaccine against COVID-19, which would supplement pools and facilitate the distribution of COVID-19 vaccines.

Keywords: Chitosan; Mucosal vaccine; Oral delivery; SARS-CoV-2; Vesicular stomatitis virus.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adjuvants, Immunologic
  • Animals
  • Antibodies, Neutralizing
  • Antibodies, Viral
  • COVID-19 Vaccines
  • COVID-19* / prevention & control
  • Chitosan*
  • Cricetinae
  • Humans
  • Mesocricetus
  • SARS-CoV-2
  • Spike Glycoprotein, Coronavirus / genetics


  • COVID-19 Vaccines
  • Chitosan
  • Adjuvants, Immunologic
  • Antibodies, Neutralizing
  • Antibodies, Viral
  • Spike Glycoprotein, Coronavirus
  • spike protein, SARS-CoV-2

Supplementary concepts

  • SARS-CoV-2 variants