Recently Dr. Aradhya Gourapura's lab published their research, entitled: An intranasal vaccine comprising SARS-CoV-2 spike receptor-binding domain protein entrapped in mannose-conjugated chitosan nanoparticle provides protection in hamsters, within Scientific Reports.
Ganesh Yadagiri, Sankar Renu, and Aradhya Gourapura developed a novel intranasal SARS-CoV-2 subunit vaccine called NARUVAX-C19/Nano to protect Syrian hamsters against SARS-CoV-2 infection. Their development of the novel intranasal SARS-CoV-2 subunit vaccine called NARUVAX-C19/Nano was based on the spike protein receptor-binding domain (RBD) entrapped in mannose-conjugated chitosan nanoparticles (NP). A toll-like receptor 9 agonist, CpG55.2, was also added as an adjuvant to see if this would potentiate the cellular immune response to the NP vaccine. The NP vaccine was assessed for immunogenicity, protective efficacy, and ability to prevent virus transmission from vaccinated animals to naive cage-mates. The results were compared with a RBD protein vaccine mixed with alum adjuvant and administered intramuscularly. BALB/c mice vaccinated twice intranasally with the NP vaccines exhibited secretory IgA and a pronounced Th1-cell response, not seen with the intramuscular alum-adjuvanted RBD vaccine. NP vaccines protected Syrian hamsters against a wild-type SARS-CoV-2 infection challenge as indicated by significant reductions in weight loss, lung viral load and lung pathology. However, despite significantly reduced viral load in the nasal turbinates and oropharyngeal swabs from NP-vaccinated hamsters, virus transmission was not prevented to naïve cage-mates. In conclusion, intranasal RBD-based NP formulations induced mucosal and Th1-cell mediated immune responses in mice and protected Syrian hamsters against SARS-CoV-2 infection but not against viral transmission.