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Virology. 2007 May 25;362(1):26-37. Epub 2007 Jan 26.

Exosomal vaccines containing the S protein of the SARS coronavirus induce high levels of neutralizing antibodies.

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Department of Molecular and Medical Virology, Ruhr-University Bochum, D-44780 Bochum, Germany.


Infection with the SARS-associated coronavirus (SARS-CoV) induces an atypical pulmonary disease with a high lethality rate. Although the initial SARS epidemic was contained, sporadic outbreaks of the disease still occur, suggesting a continuous need for a vaccine against this virus. We therefore explored exosome-based vaccines containing the spike S proteins of SARS-CoV. S-containing exosomes were obtained by replacing the transmembrane and cytoplasmic domains of the S protein by those of VSV-G. The immunogenicity and efficacy of the S-containing exosomes were tested in mice and compared to an adenoviral vector vaccine expressing the S protein. Both, S-containing exosomes and the adenoviral vector vaccine induced neutralizing antibody titers. After priming with the SARS-S exosomal vaccine and boosting with the adenoviral vector the neutralizing antibody titers exceeded those observed in the convalescent serum of a SARS patient. Both approaches were effective in a SARS-S-expressing tumor challenge model and thus warrant further investigation.

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