Durable immunogenicity, adaptation to emerging variants, and low-dose efficacy of an AAV-based COVID-19 vaccine platform in macaques. Mol Ther 2022;30(9):2952-2967.Abstract.
The COVID-19 pandemic continues to have devastating consequences on health and economy, even after the approval of safe and effective vaccines. Waning immunity, the emergence of variants of concern, breakthrough infections, and lack of global vaccine access and acceptance perpetuate the epidemic. Here, we demonstrate that a single injection of an adenoassociated virus (AAV)-based COVID-19 vaccine elicits at least 17-month-long neutralizing antibody responses in non-human primates at levels that were previously shown to protect from viral challenge. To improve the scalability of this durable vaccine candidate, we further optimized the vector design for greater potency at a reduced dose in mice and non-human primates. Finally, we show that the platform can be rapidly adapted to other variants of concern to robustly maintain immunogenicity and protect from challenge. In summary, we demonstrate this class of AAV can provide durable immunogenicity, provide protection at dose that is low and scalable, and be adapted readily to novel emerging vaccine antigens thus may provide a potent tool in the ongoing fight against severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus-2 (SARS-CoV-2).