A Replication-Competent Vesicular Stomatitis Virus for Studies of SARS-CoV-2 Spike-Mediated Cell Entry and Its Inhibition

M. Eugenia Dieterle, Denise Haslwanter, Robert H. Bortz, Ariel S. Wirchnianski, Gorka Lasso, Olivia Vergnolle, Shawn A. Abbasi, J. Maximilian Fels, Ethan Laudermilch, Catalina Florez, Amanda Mengotto, Duncan Kimmel, Ryan J. Malonis, George Georgiev, Jose Quiroz, Jason Barnhill, Liise anne Pirofski, Johanna P. Daily, John M. Dye, Jonathan R. LaiAndrew S. Herbert, Kartik Chandran, Rohit K. Jangra

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

108 Scopus citations


There is an urgent need for vaccines and therapeutics to prevent and treat COVID-19. Rapid SARS-CoV-2 countermeasure development is contingent on the availability of robust, scalable, and readily deployable surrogate viral assays to screen antiviral humoral responses, define correlates of immune protection, and down-select candidate antivirals. Here, we generate a highly infectious recombinant vesicular stomatitis virus (VSV) bearing the SARS-CoV-2 spike glycoprotein S as its sole entry glycoprotein and show that this recombinant virus, rVSV-SARS-CoV-2 S, closely resembles SARS-CoV-2 in its entry-related properties. The neutralizing activities of a large panel of COVID-19 convalescent sera can be assessed in a high-throughput fluorescent reporter assay with rVSV-SARS-CoV-2 S, and neutralization of rVSV-SARS-CoV-2 S and authentic SARS-CoV-2 by spike-specific antibodies in these antisera is highly correlated. Our findings underscore the utility of rVSV-SARS-CoV-2 S for the development of spike-specific therapeutics and for mechanistic studies of viral entry and its inhibition.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)486-496.e6
JournalCell Host and Microbe
Issue number3
StatePublished - Sep 9 2020


  • ACE2
  • COVID-19
  • SARS-CoV-2
  • VSV
  • antiviral drugs
  • convalescent plasma
  • neutralization assay
  • neutralizing antibody
  • serology
  • surrogate

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Parasitology
  • Microbiology
  • Virology


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