Multivalent Vaccine to Provide Sterilizing Immunity Against COVID-19

illustration of shield and coronavirus

Social distancing can help deter some of COVID-19’s spread, but the development of a vaccine is the only surefire way to combat this devastating disease.

Virus-like particles (VLPs) are multi-protein structures that mimic the organization and conformation of authentic native viruses but lack the viral genome and therefore are noninfectious. Some of the successful prophylactic VLP-based vaccines currently available are for hepatitis B and human papillomavirus.

Led by Mythili Dileepan, PhD, research associate, Veterinary Biomedical Sciences, this study will develop a new multivalent VLP that contains the viral spike (S) protein and three other structural proteins (membrane M, nucleocapsid N, and envelope E) of the SARS-CoV-2 to provide sterilizing protective immunity against COVID-19.

“We hypothesize that this new VLP is superior to monovalent vaccines as it can minimize the evolution of potential vaccine-escaped virus mutants,” said Dileepan.

This project is supported by the UMN Campus Public Health Officer's CO:VID (Collaborative Outcomes: Visionary Innovation & Discovery) grants program, which support University of Minnesota faculty to catalyze and energize small-scale research projects designed to address and mitigate the COVID-19 virus and its associated risks.