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28 May 2020 : Special report  

A Novel Vaccine Employing Non-Replicating Rabies Virus Expressing Chimeric SARS-CoV-2 Spike Protein Domains: Functional Inhibition of Viral/Nicotinic Acetylcholine Receptor Complexes

Michelle L. Stefano1ABCDEF, Richard M. Kream23ABCDEF, George B. Stefano23ABCDEF*

DOI: 10.12659/MSM.926016

Med Sci Monit 2020; 26:e926016

Abstract

ABSTRACT: The emergence of the novel β-coronavirus, severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2), has resulted in a global pandemic of coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19). Clinical studies have documented that potentially severe neurological symptoms are associated with SARS-CoV-2 infection, thereby suggesting direct CNS penetration by the virus. Prior studies have demonstrated that the destructive neurological effects of rabies virus (RABV) infections are mediated by CNS transport of the virus tightly bound to the nicotinic acetylcholine receptor (nAChR). By comparison, it has been hypothesized that a similar mechanism exists to explain the multiple neurological effects of SARS-CoV-2 via binding to peripheral nAChRs followed by orthograde or retrograde transport into the CNS. Genetic engineering of the RABV has been employed to generate novel vaccines consisting of non-replicating RABV particles expressing chimeric capsid proteins containing human immunodeficiency virus 1 (HIV-1), Middle East respiratory syndrome (MERS-CoV), Ebolavirus, and hepatitis C virus (HCV) sequences. Accordingly, we present a critical discussion that integrates lessons learned from prior RABV research and vaccine development into a working model of a SARS-CoV-2 vaccine that selectively targets and neutralizes CNS penetration of a tightly bound viral nAChR complex.

Keywords: Coronavirus, COVID-19, Rabies virus, Receptors, Nicotinic, Vaccines, Betacoronavirus, COVID-19, COVID-19 Vaccines, Coronavirus Infections, Pandemics, Pneumonia, Viral, Protein Domains, SARS-CoV-2, Spike Glycoprotein, Coronavirus, Viral Vaccines, Virus Replication

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Medical Science Monitor Basic Research eISSN: 2325-4416
Medical Science Monitor Basic Research eISSN: 2325-4416