Efficacy of a respiratory syncytial virus vaccine candidate in a maternal immunization model
Respiratory syncytial virus (RSV) is the most common cause of bronchiolitis in infants. Maternal immunization is an option to increase maternal antibody levels and protect infants from infection. Here we assess the efficacy of virus-like particle (VLP) vaccine candidates containing stabilized pre-fusion (pre-F) or post-fusion (post-F) conformations of the RSV F protein and the attachment RSV G protein in a maternal immunization model using cotton rats. VLP vaccines containing RSV F and G proteins strongly boost pre-existing RSV immunity in dams preventing their perinatal drop in immunity. Boosting is stronger for the pre-F VLP than for the post-F VLP or purified subunit F protein vaccines, giving an advantage on mothers’ protection. VLP immunization of dams provides significant protection to pups from RSV challenge and reduced pulmonary inflammation. Collectively, our results show that a VLP vaccine with RSV F and G proteins is safe and effective for maternal and adult vaccination.