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Haagmans, Bart L.; Brand, Judith M. A. van den; Raj, V. Stalin; Volz, Asisa; Wohlsein, Peter; Smits, Saskia L.; Schipper, Debby; Bestebroer, Theo M.; Okba, Nisreen; Fux, Robert; Bensaid, Albert; Foz, David Solanes; Kuiken, Thijs; Baumgärtner, Wolfgang; Segalés, Joaquim; Sutter, Gerd ORCID: 0000-0001-6143-082X; Osterhaus, Albert D. M. E. (2016): An orthopoxvirus-based vaccine reduces virus excretion after MERS-CoV infection in dromedary camels. In: Science, Vol. 351, No. 6268: pp. 77-81
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Middle East respiratory syndrome coronavirus (MERS-CoV) infections have led to an ongoing outbreak in humans, which was fueled by multiple zoonotic MERS-CoV introductions from dromedary camels. In addition to the implementation of hygiene measures to limit further camel-to-human and human-to-human transmissions, vaccine-mediated reduction of MERS-CoV spread from the animal reservoir may be envisaged. Here we show that a modified vaccinia virus Ankara (MVA) vaccine expressing the MERS-CoV spike protein confers mucosal immunity in dromedary camels. Compared with results for control animals, we observed a significant reduction of excreted infectious virus and viral RNA transcripts in vaccinated animals upon MERS-CoV challenge. Protection correlated with the presence of serum neutralizing antibodies to MERS-CoV. Induction of MVA-specific antibodies that cross-neutralize camelpox virus would also provide protection against camelpox.