SARS-CoV-2 variants of concern (VOCs) have shown resistance to vaccines targeting the original virus strain. An mRNA vaccine encoding the spike protein of Omicron BA1 (BA1-S-mRNA) was designed, and its neutralizing activity, with or without the original receptor-binding domain (RBD)-mRNA, was tested against SARS-CoV-2 VOCs. First-dose of BA1-S-mRNA followed by two-boosts of RBD-mRNA elicited potent neutralizing antibodies (nAbs) against pseudotyped and authentic original SARS-CoV-2; pseudotyped Omicron BA1, BA2, BA2.12.1 and BA5 subvariants, and Alpha, Beta, Gamma and Delta VOCs; authentic Omicron BA1 subvariant and Delta VOC. By contrast, other vaccination strategies, including RBD-mRNA first-dose plus BA1-S-mRNA two-boosts, RBD-mRNA or BA1-S-mRNA three-doses, or their combinations, failed to elicit high nAb titers against all of these viruses. Overall, this vaccination strategy was effective for inducing broadly and potent nAbs against multiple SARS-CoV-2 VOCs, particularly Omicron BA5, and may guide the rational design of next-generation mRNA vaccines with greater efficacy against future variants.
Available online 1 December 2022, 105690