Cookies on this website

We use cookies to ensure that we give you the best experience on our website. If you click 'Accept all cookies' we'll assume that you are happy to receive all cookies and you won't see this message again. If you click 'Reject all non-essential cookies' only necessary cookies providing core functionality such as security, network management, and accessibility will be enabled. Click 'Find out more' for information on how to change your cookie settings.

BACKGROUND: The COVID-19 pandemic continues to be a worldwide threat and effective antiviral drugs and vaccines are being developed in a joint global effort. However, some elderly and immune-compromised populations are unable to raise an effective immune response against traditional vaccines. AIMS: We hypothesised that passive immunity engineered by the in vivo expression of anti-SARS-CoV-2 monoclonal antibodies (mAbs), an approach termed vectored-immunoprophylaxis (VIP), could offer sustained protection against COVID-19 in all populations irrespective of their immune status or age. METHODS: We developed three key reagents to evaluate VIP for SARS-CoV-2: (i) we engineered standard laboratory mice to express human ACE2 via rAAV9 in vivo gene transfer, to allow in vivo assessment of SARS-CoV-2 infection, (ii) to simplify in vivo challenge studies, we generated SARS-CoV-2 Spike protein pseudotyped lentiviral vectors as a simple mimic of authentic SARS-CoV-2 that could be used under standard laboratory containment conditions and (iii) we developed in vivo gene transfer vectors to express anti-SARS-CoV-2 mAbs. CONCLUSIONS: A single intranasal dose of rAAV9 or rSIV.F/HN vectors expressing anti-SARS-CoV-2 mAbs significantly reduced SARS-CoV-2 mimic infection in the lower respiratory tract of hACE2-expressing mice. If translated, the VIP approach could potentially offer a highly effective, long-term protection against COVID-19 for highly vulnerable populations; especially immune-deficient/senescent individuals, who fail to respond to conventional SARS-CoV-2 vaccines. The in vivo expression of multiple anti-SARS-CoV-2 mAbs could enhance protection and prevent rapid mutational escape.

Original publication




Journal article



Publication Date



COVID-19, respiratory infection, viral infection