A single intranasal administration of virus-like particle vaccine induces an efficient protection for mice against human respiratory syncytial virus

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Human respiratory syncytial virus (RSV) is an important pediatric pathogen causing acute viral respiratory disease in infants and young children. However, no licensed vaccines are currently available. Virus-like particles (VLPs) may bring new hope to producing RSV VLP vaccine with high immunogenicity and safety. Here, we constructed the recombinants of matrix protein (M) and fusion glycoprotein (F) of RSV, respectively into a replication-deficient first-generation adenoviral vector (FGAd), which were used to co-infect Vero cells to assemble RSV VLPs successfully. The resulting VLPs showed similar immunoreactivity and function to RSV virion in vitro. Moreover, Th1 polarized response, and effective mucosal virus-neutralizing antibody and CD8+ T-cell responses were induced by a single intranasal (i.n.) administration of RSV VLPs rather than intramuscular (i.m.) inoculation, although the comparable RSV F-specific serum IgG and long-lasting RSV-specific neutralizing antibody were detected in the mice immunized by both routes. Upon RSV challenge, VLP-immunized mice showed increased viral clearance but decreased signs of enhanced lung pathology and fewer eosinophils compared to mice immunized with formalin-inactivated RSV (FI-RSV). In addition, a single i.n. RSV VLP vaccine has the capability to induce RSV-specific long-lasting neutralizing antibody responses observable up to 15 months. Our results demonstrate that the long-term and memory immune responses in mice against RSV were induced by a single i.n. administration of RSV VLP vaccine, suggesting a successful approach of RSV VLPs as an effective and safe mucosal vaccine against RSV infection, and an applicable and qualified platform of FGAd-infected Vero cells for VLP production.

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