The severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus (SARS-CoV) caused substantial morbidity and mortality in 2002-2003. Deletion of the envelope (E) protein modestly diminished virus growth in tissue culture but abrogated virulence in animals. Here, we show that immunization with rSARS-CoV-ΔE or SARS-CoV-Δ[E,6-9b] (deleted in accessory proteins (6, 7a, 7b, 8a, 8b, 9b) in addition to E) nearly completely protected BALB/c mice from fatal respiratory disease caused by mouse-adapted SARS-CoV and partly protected hACE2 Tg mice from lethal disease. hACE2 Tg mice, which express the human SARS-CoV receptor, are extremely susceptible to infection. We also show that rSARS-CoV-ΔE and rSARS-CoV-Δ[E,6-9b] induced anti-virus T cell and antibody responses. Further, the E-deleted viruses were stable after 16 blind passages through tissue culture cells, with only a single mutation in the surface glycoprotein detected. The passaged virus remained avirulent in mice. These results suggest that rSARS-CoV-ΔE is an efficacious vaccine candidate that might be useful if SARS recurred. © 2009 Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.
Netland, J., DeDiego, M. L., Zhao, J., Fett, C., Álvarez, E., Nieto-Torres, J. L., … Perlman, S. (2010). Immunization with an attenuated severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus deleted in E protein protects against lethal respiratory disease. Virology, 399(1), 120–128. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.virol.2010.01.004