Science. 2019 Aug 2;365(6452):505-509. doi: 10.1126/science.aav9033. PMID:31371616.
Crank MC, Ruckwardt TJ, Chen M, Morabito KM, Phung E, Costner PJ, Holman LA, Hickman SP, Berkowitz NM, Gordon IJ, Yamshchikov GV, Gaudinski MR, Kumar A, Chang LA, Moin SM, Hill JP, DiPiazza AT, Schwartz RM, Kueltzo L, Cooper JW, Chen P, Stein JA, Carlton K, Gall JG, Nason MC, Kwong PD, Chen GL, Mascola JR, McLellan JS, Ledgerwood JE, Graham BS; VRC 317 Study Team
Technologies that define the atomic-level structure of neutralization-sensitive epitopes on viral surface proteins are transforming vaccinology and guiding new vaccine development approaches. Previously, iterative rounds of protein engineering were performed to preserve the prefusion conformation of the respiratory syncytial virus (RSV) fusion (F) glycoprotein, resulting in a stabilized subunit vaccine candidate (DS-Cav1), which showed promising results in mice and macaques. Here, phase I human immunogenicity data reveal a more than 10-fold boost in neutralizing activity in serum from antibodies targeting prefusion-specific surfaces of RSV F. These findings represent a clinical proof of concept for structure-based vaccine design, suggest that development of a successful RSV vaccine will be feasible, and portend an era of precision vaccinology.