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Novel COVID-19 vaccine approach in development

Novel live attenuated measles virus vectored vaccine candidates for SARS-CoV-2

Drs. Jianrong Li and Stefan Niewiesk, professors in the Department of Biosciences at The Ohio State University College of Veterinary Medicine, are collaborating to develop novel live attenuated recombinant measles virus (rMeV) based vaccine approaches and vaccine candidates for severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2). The candidate vaccines are live attenuated recombinant viral vectored vaccines based on measles vaccine strains, the most safe and efficient human vaccines having been used in children since the 1960s.

The current pandemic of (SARS-CoV-2) is causing tremendous economic, emotional, and public health burdens. There is an urgent need to develop safe and efficacious vaccines to protect the populace from this virus. The SARS-CoV-2 spike (S) protein is the main target for neutralizing antibodies that offer protection from future SARS-CoV-2 infection. Thus, the S protein is one of the  primary targets for SARS-CoV-2 vaccine development. In The Ohio State University College of Veterinary Medicine vaccine approach, the team generated a series of attenuated recombinant rMeVs expressing SARS-CoV-2 S antigens by inserting additional gene units in strategic locations. All resultant recombinant viruses that will be the basis for the vaccine candidates were shown to grow to high virus titer in Vero cells, the WHO-approved cell lines for vaccine production. They were also shown to express the recombinant S antigens, a critical step in developing a SARS-CoV-2 vaccine. The rMeV-based SARs-CoV-2 vaccine candidates, are now moving into pre-clinical trials in animal models. 

square photo collage of researchers, (clockwise from top left) Dr. Jianrong Li, Dr. Mijia Lu, Mr. Anzhong Li, and Dr. Stefan Niewiesk.Questions on collaborations with the Li Lab or interest in advancing the vaccine approaches should be directed to Drs. Jianrong Li (li.926@, Jean Schelhorn ( or 614-638-9547), and Jay Dahlman ( 




Team members who contributed to developing the vaccine approaches and are now involved in further development efforts include (clockwise from top left) Dr. Jianrong Li, Dr. Mijia Lu, Mr. Anzhong Li, and Dr. Stefan Niewiesk.



Last updated: 

Thursday, April 30, 2020 - 10:34am