Live-attenuated bivalent measles virus-derived vaccines targeting Middle East respiratory syndrome coronavirus induce robust and multifunctional T cell responses against both viruses in an appropriate mouse model

Publication date: August 2018
Source:Virology, Volume 521
Author(s): Bianca S. Bodmer, Anna H. Fiedler, Jan R.H. Hanauer, Steffen Prüfer, Michael D. Mühlebach
Cases of Middle East respiratory syndrome coronavirus (MERS-CoV) continue to occur, making it one of the WHO´s targets for accelerated vaccine development. One vaccine candidate is based on live-attenuated measles virus (MV) vaccine encoding the MERS-CoV spike glycoprotein (MERS-S). MVvac2-MERS-S(H) induces robust humoral and cellular immunity against MERS-S mediating protection. Here, the induction and nature of immunity after vaccination with MVvac2-MERS-S(H) or novel MVvac2-MERS-N were further characterized. We focused on the necessity for vector replication and the nature of induced T cells, since functional CD8+ T cells contribute importantly to clearance of MERS-CoV. While no immunity against MERS-CoV or MV was detected in MV-susceptible mice after immunization with UV-inactivated virus, replication-competent MVvac2-MERS-S(H) triggered robust neutralizing antibody titers also in adult mice. Furthermore, a significant fraction of MERS CoV-specific CD8+ T cells and MV-specific CD4+ T cells simultaneously expressing IFN-γ and TNF-α were induced, revealing that MVvac2-MERS-S(H) induces multifunctional cellular immunity.