The current SARS-CoV-2 pandemics has infected 20 million people worldwide in seven months and demands immediate and accurate efforts to prevent its spread. The subunit vaccines proposed in this project will employ the SAPN technology (self-assembling protein nanoparticles) and are formulated with highly immunogenic fragments of structural proteins, particularly S and N (Spike and Nucleocapsid, respectively). The nanovaccines resulting from this design will be produced in E. coli and purified with a combination of chromatographic techniques, and once obtained, will be optimized regarding stability and size. Then, the nanovaccines will be administered to C57BL6 mice using different inoculation routes (intramuscular and subcutaneous), to be further evaluated regarding the immune responses induced. Antibody quantification will be performed with ELISA, and PRNT will be performed to validate the neutralizing capacity of antibodies, which will allow moving further to challenge animals susceptible to SARS-CoV-2. The postdoctoral researcher will be responsible for developing and optimizing the nanovaccines, assuring the quality control and proper characterization of the nanovaccines, and conducting in vivo immunizations to assess the antibody responses. The results obtained in this project may significantly contribute to the generation of new vaccine antigens against COVID-19, but also to the development of a new nanovaccines strategy with potential to be widely applied.
Articles published in Pesquisa para Inovação FAPESP about the scholarships: