Aims: to develop as quickly as possible:
- an in vitro test to detect and quantify SARS-CoV-2 neutralizing antibodies while avoiding the need to handle the virus. The test will be used to demonstrate the feasibility of vaccine candidates (proof of concept).
The availability of a test of this type is crucial in searching for antibodies in samples from patients with Covid-19. These tools will be produced in large quantities and made available to all Institut Pasteur teams.
- a prophylactic vaccine candidate for SARS-CoV-2 based on lentiviral vaccine vectors.
These lentiviral vaccine vectors encode immunogens that protect against SARS-CoV-2 viral surface proteins (spike or nucleocapsid). They will be investigated in an animal model.
Lentiviral vaccine vectors are particularly useful because of their potential to induce long-lasting adaptive immune responses. Scientists have already demonstrated the remarkable protective efficacy of these vectors in mice in several situations (against infection with papillomavirus and some flaviviruses, for example) and a lentiviral vector (LV) has also been successfully investigated in a phase 1 trial for an HIV vaccine, which established its safety in humans.