Middle East respiratory syndrome coronavirus (MERS-CoV) infections have led to an ongoing outbreak in humans, which was fueled by multiple zoonotic MERS-CoV introductions from dromedary camels. In addition to the implementation of hygiene measures to limit further camel-to-human and human-to-human transmissions, vaccine-mediated reduction of MERS-CoV spread from the animal reservoir may be envisaged. Here we show that a modified vaccinia virus Ankara (MVA) vaccine expressing the MERS-CoV spike protein confers mucosal immunity in dromedary camels. Compared with results for control animals, we observed a significant reduction of excreted infectious virus and viral RNA transcripts in vaccinated animals upon MERS-CoV challenge. Protection correlated with the presence of serum neutralizing antibodies to MERS-CoV. Induction of MVA-specific antibodies that cross-neutralize camelpox virus would also provide protection against camelpox.

doi.org/10.1126/science.aad1283, hdl.handle.net/1765/84022
Department of Virology

Haagmans, B., van den Brand, J., Raj, S., Volz, A., Wohlsein, P., Smits, S., … Osterhaus, A. (2016). An orthopoxvirus-based vaccine reduces virus excretion after MERS-CoV infection in dromedary camels. Science, 351(6268), 77–81. doi:10.1126/science.aad1283