The current work builds on earlier Bjorkman lab experiments, supported by Caltech’s Merkin Institute for Translational Research, that demonstrated broad immune responses in mice against SARS-like betacoronaviruses (Cohen et al, 2021). The new study, sponsored by Wellcome Leap, established protection from a SARS-CoV-2 Delta variant challenge in non-human primates (representing protection for a ‘mismatched’ variant since the SARS-CoV-2 Beta variant was presented in the mosaic-8 construct, but the Delta variant was not). Importantly, as published today in Science
, the vaccine also showed protection from SARS-CoV, a different strain of betacoronavirus, which was also not presented in the mosaic-8 nanoparticle, thereby demonstrating the potential to provide protection against an as-yet-unknown SARS-like betacoronavirus that could spill over into humans. Wellcome Leap’s agile funding model provided the pivotal support needed to achieve these milestones and, importantly, to maintain the scientific momentum catalyzed by Merkin’s funding of the Bjorkman lab.