UMass Chan Medical School Faculty Publications

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Department of Medicine, Division of Infectious Diseases and Immunology

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Article Preprint


Amino Acids, Peptides, and Proteins | Immunology of Infectious Disease | Immunoprophylaxis and Therapy | Immunotherapy | Infectious Disease | Virus Diseases


The nucleocapsid (N) and the receptor binding domain (RBD) of the Spike (S) proteins elicit robust antibody and T cell responses either in vaccinated or COVID-19 convalescent individuals. We generated a chimeric protein that comprises the sequences of RBD from S and N antigens (SpiN). SpiN was highly immunogenic and elicited a strong IFNγ response from T cells and high levels of antibodies to the inactivated virus, but no neutralizing antibodies. Importantly, hamsters and the human Angiotensin Convertase Enzyme-2-transgenic mice immunized with SpiN were highly resistant to challenge with the wild type SARS-CoV-2, as indicated by viral load, clinical outcome, lung inflammation and lethality. Thus, the N protein should be considered to induce T-cell-based immunity to improve SARS-CoV-2 vaccines, and eventually to circumvent the immune scape by variants.


spike proteins, COVID-19, chimeric protein, SpiN, SARS-CoV-2, immunity, vaccines

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bioRxiv 2021.09.16.460663; doi: Link to preprint on bioRxiv.


This article is a preprint. Preprints are preliminary reports of work that have not been certified by peer review.

Full author list omitted for brevity. For the full list of authors, see article.

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Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 4.0 License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 4.0 License.