Link to Pubmed [PMID] – 36320329
Link to DOI – 10.1016/j.isci.2022.105412
iScience 2022 Nov; 25(11): 105412
Live-attenuated vaccines are generally highly effective. Here, we aimed to develop one against SARS-CoV-2, based on the identification of three types of temperature-sensitive (TS) strains with mutations in nonstructural proteins (nsp), impaired proliferation at 37°C-39°C, and the capacity to induce protective immunity in Syrian hamsters. To develop a live-attenuated vaccine, we generated a virus that combined all these TS-associated mutations (rTS-all), which showed a robust TS phenotype in vitro and high attenuation in vivo. The vaccine induced an effective cross-reactive immune response and protected hamsters against homologous or heterologous viral challenges. Importantly, rTS-all rarely reverted to the wild-type phenotype. By combining these mutations with an Omicron spike protein to construct a recombinant virus, protection against the Omicron strain was obtained. We show that immediate and effective live-attenuated vaccine candidates against SARS-CoV-2 variants may be developed using rTS-all as a backbone to incorporate the spike protein of the variants.