Could rotavirus vaccine platforms aid in the immunization campaign against SARS-CoV-2?

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Rotavirus is a common diarrheal disease that affects young children. Live oral rotavirus vaccines have been used to reduce its incidence in many countries. However, with the onset of the coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) pandemic, and amid focus on vaccines as the only definitive method of durable control, a new study describes the possibility of producing a combined vaccine against both infections.

The study began with the generation of recombinant (r)SA11 rotaviruses, into which segment 7 modified RNAs were introduced. These encoded sequences for the non-structural protein NSP3 and some parts of the viral spike.

The research team, from Indiana University in the U.S., has released their findings on the bioRxiv* preprint server.

Expression of foreign protein in rotavirus segment 7

The rotavirus genome comprises 11 double-stranded RNA segments, with a total size of about 19 kb. Using reverse genetics, recombinant rotaviruses of species A have been created. Each of these is assembled from eleven separately transcribed RNAs produced by transfecting the transcription vectors into the right cell lines – BHK-T7.

In group A rotaviruses, the segment 7 of the genome encodes NSP3, which is a translation enhancer of viral positive-sense RNAs, expressed moderately in cells following infection…

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