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Establishment of replication-competent vesicular stomatitis virus-based recombinant viruses suitable for SARS-CoV-2 entry and neutralization assays

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journal contribution
posted on 17.10.2020 by Hongyue Li, Chaoyue Zhao, Yuhang Zhang, Fei Yuan, Qi Zhang, Xuanling Shi, Linqi Zhang, Chengfeng Qin, Aihua Zheng

Replication-competent vesicular stomatitis virus (VSV)-based recombinant viruses are useful tools for studying emerging and highly pathogenic enveloped viruses in level 2 biosafety facilities. Here, we used a replication-competent recombinant VSVs (rVSVs) encoding the spike (S) protein of SARS-CoV-2 in place of the original G glycoprotein (rVSV-eGFP-SARS-CoV-2) to develop a high-throughput entry assay for SARS-CoV-2. The S protein was incorporated into the recovered rVSV-eGFP-SARS-CoV-2 particles, which could be neutralized by sera from convalescent COVID-19 patients. The recombinant SARS-CoV-2 also displayed entry characteristics similar to the wild type virus, such as cell tropism and pH-dependence. The neutralizing titers of antibodies and sera measured by rVSV-eGFP-SARS-CoV-2 were highly correlated with those measured by wild-type viruses or pseudoviruses. Therefore, this is a safe and convenient screening tool for SARS-CoV-2, and it may promote the development of COVID-19 vaccines and therapeutics.


This project was supported by the National Key Plan for Scientific Research and Development of China (Grant no. 2016YFD0500303); the National Science and Technology Major Project (Grant no. 2018ZX10101004); and National Natural Science Foundation of China, General Program (Grant no. 81871687).