Severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2) has caused millions of human infections, and an effective vaccine is critical to mitigate coronavirus-induced disease 2019 (COVID-19). Previously, we developed a replication-competent vesicular stomatitis virus (VSV) expressing a modified form of the SARS-CoV-2 spike gene in place of the native glycoprotein gene (VSV-eGFP-SARS-CoV-2). Here, we show that vaccination with VSV-eGFP-SARS-CoV-2 generates neutralizing immune responses and protects mice from SARS-CoV-2. Immunization of mice with VSV-eGFP-SARS-CoV-2 elicits high antibody titers that neutralize SARS-CoV-2 and target the receptor binding domain that engages human angiotensin-converting enzyme-2 (ACE2). Upon challenge with a human isolate of SARS-CoV-2, mice that expressed human ACE2 and were immunized with VSV-eGFP-SARS-CoV-2 show profoundly reduced viral infection and inflammation in the lung, indicating protection against pneumonia. Passive transfer of sera from VSV-eGFP-SARS-CoV-2-immunized animals also protects naive mice from SARS-CoV-2 challenge. These data support development of VSV-SARS-CoV-2 as an attenuated, replication-competent vaccine against SARS-CoV-2.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)465-474.e4
JournalCell Host and Microbe
Issue number3
StatePublished - Sep 9 2020


  • COVID-19
  • SARS-CoV-2
  • correlates
  • humoral immunity
  • immunity
  • neutralizing antibodies
  • vaccine
  • vesicular stomatitis virus


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