07 Apr Single-Dose, Intranasal Vaccine with Recombinant Virus May Block COVID-19
MedicalResearch.com Interview with:
Paul B. McCray, Jr., M.D.
Professor of Pediatrics, Microbiology, and Internal Medicine
Executive Vice Chair of Pediatrics
Associate Director: Center for Gene Therapy
Roy J. Carver Chair in Pulmonary Medicine
Pappajohn Biomedical Institute
Carver College of Medicine
University of Iowa, Iowa City, IA 52242
MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study?
Response: In the face of the COVID-19 pandemic, there is great interest in developing a vaccine that could help protect people from infection with SARS-CoV-2. Over the last 15 years, my laboratory has helped develop small animal models of the severe coronavirus diseases SARS and MERS to study disease pathogenesis and to test treatments. In this study, we used a mouse model of the MERS coronavirus to test a vaccine idea in collaboration with Dr. Biao He at the University of Georgia.
MedicalResearch.com: What are the main findings?
Response: We used parainfluenza virus 5 (PIV5) as the vaccine platform. This vaccine approach was developed in Dr. He’s lab. PIV5 is an innocuous virus that is not known to cause any disease in humans. We used PIV5 to deliver the spike protein of the MERS virus to the respiratory tract of the mice. The spike protein of coronaviruses is known to stimulate the host immune system to produce antibodies and cellular immune responses against the virus. When mice that were vaccinated with the PIV5-MERS spike were exposed to a lethal dose of the MERS coronavirus, all mice survived. Those exposed to PIV5 alone had 80% mortality. We found evidence of both antibody and cellular immune responses against the MERS virus in the PIV5-MERS spike treated animals.
MedicalResearch.com: What should readers take away from your report?
Response: This is an encouraging first step in developing an approach to prevent coronavirus infections. Additional work including human studies will be necessary to confirm that this is a safe and effective strategy for disease prevention in humans.
MedicalResearch.com: What recommendations do you have for future research as a result of this work?
Response: A similar approach could be tested against the SARS-CoV-2 that is associated with the current pandemic. We are currently advancing mouse models of COVID-19 and Dr. He has prepared a PIV5 virus expressing the SARS-CoV-2 spike protein to test in this model.
MedicalResearch.com: Is there anything else you would like to add?
Response: Because of the overall safety profile of PIV5, and the availability of means to produce it, we are interested in performing the pre-clinical studies necessary to evaluate its effectiveness against the virus responsible for COVID-19.
In addition to McCray, who also holds and appointment in pediatrics and microbiology and immunology, and He, the research team included Kun Li, Christine Wohlford-Lenane, David Meyerholz, Rudragouda Channappanavar, Dong An, and Stanley Perlman.
The research was funded in part by grants from the National Institutes of Health.
Dr. He is an inventor and holds a patent “Parainfluenza virus 5-based vaccines,” which is owned by the University of Georgia Research Foundation (UGARF). CyanVac LLC, which was founded by B.H., has licensed the IP from UGARF for the development of PIV5-based vaccines.
Kun Li, Zhuo Li, Christine Wohlford-Lenane, David K. Meyerholz, Rudragouda Channappanavar, Dong An, Stanley Perlman, Paul B. McCray, Biao He. Single-Dose, Intranasal Immunization with Recombinant Parainfluenza Virus 5 Expressing Middle East Respiratory Syndrome Coronavirus (MERS-CoV) Spike Protein Protects Mice from Fatal MERS-CoV Infection. mBio, 2020; 11 (2) DOI: 10.1128/mBio.00554-20
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