Intranasal adminstration of a live-attenuated recombinant newcastle disease virus expressing the SARS-CoV-2 Spike protein induces high neutralizing antibody levels and protects from experimental challenge infection in hamsters

de Swart, R.L.; de Leeuw, O.S.; Oreshkova, N.D.; Gerhards, N.M.; Albulescu, Irina C.; Vreman, S.; Gonzales Rojas, J.L.; Maas, H.A.; Van Kuppeveld, Frank J.M.; Soema, Peter; Bosch, Berend Jan; Peeters, B.P.H.


The emergence of SARS-CoV-2 in December 2019 resulted in the COVID-19 pandemic. Recurring disease outbreaks repeatedly overloaded the public health sector and severely affected the global economy. We developed a candidate COVID-19 vaccine based on a recombinant Newcastle disease virus (NDV) vaccine vector, encoding a pre-fusion stabilized full-length Spike protein obtained from the original SARS-CoV-2 Wuhan isolate. Vaccination of hamsters by intra-muscular injection or intra-nasal instillation induced high neutralizing antibody responses. Intranasal challenge infection with SARS-CoV-2 strain Lelystad demonstrated that both vaccination routes provided partial protection in the upper respiratory tract, and almost complete protection in the lower respiratory tract, as measured by suppressed viral loads and absence of histological lung lesions. Activity wheel measurements demonstrated that animals vaccinated by intranasal inoculation rapidly recovered to normal activity. NDV constructs encoding the spike of SARS-CoV-2 may be attractive candidates for development of intra-nasal COVID-19 booster vaccines