Lassa virus (LASV) infects hundreds of thousands of individuals each year, highlighting the need for the accelerated development of preventive, diagnostic, and therapeutic interventions. To date, no vaccine has been licensed for LASV. ChAdOx1-Lassa-GPC is a chimpanzee adenovirus-vectored vaccine encoding the Josiah strain LASV glycoprotein precursor (GPC) gene. In the following study, we show that ChAdOx1-Lassa-GPC is immunogenic, inducing robust T-cell and antibody responses in mice. Furthermore, a single dose of ChAdOx1-Lassa-GPC fully protects Hartley guinea pigs against morbidity and mortality following lethal challenge with a guinea pig-adapted LASV (strain Josiah). By contrast, control vaccinated animals reached euthanasia criteria 10-12 days after infection. Limited amounts of LASV RNA were detected in the tissues of vaccinated animals. Viable LASV was detected in only one animal receiving a single dose of the vaccine. A prime-boost regimen of ChAdOx1-Lassa-GPC in guinea pigs significantly increased antigen-specific antibody titers and cleared viable LASV from the tissues. These data support further development of ChAdOx1-Lassa-GPC and testing in non-human primate models of infection.
Laboratory of Virology, Division of Intramural Research, National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, National Institutes of Health, Rocky Mountain Laboratories, Hamilton, MT, USA.