Honors Theses

Date of Award

Spring 5-13-2023

Document Type

Undergraduate Thesis



First Advisor

Wayne Gray

Second Advisor

Peter Zee

Third Advisor

Vitor Pomin

Relational Format



The COVID-19 pandemic caused by severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus (SARS-CoV-2) continues to cause infections and deaths around the globe. Since its emergence, scientists have worked diligently to discover and produce vaccines to battle the virus. While they successfully created and distributed vaccines, the vaccines are not without flaw. These vaccines do not grant long term immunity, require multiple booster shots, and have not prevented the emergence of viral variants. In this study, the SARS-CoV-2 receptor binding domain (RBD), which is a key part of the spike protein (S), and nucleocapsid (N) genetic sequences were inserted into the live varicella zoster virus (VZV) vaccines creating a live recombinant (rVZV) expressing SARS-CoV-2 antigens (rVZV-SARS-Cov-2).

The overall goal of this project was to confirm rVZV-SARS-CoV-2 vaccines express SARS RBD and N antigens. Specific aims of the experiment were to confirm that the SARS RBD and N genetic sequences are located in open reading frame 13 of the rVZV-SARS-CoV-2 vaccines and to confirm expression of SARS RBD and N antigens in rVZV-SARS-CoV-2 infected cells by immunoblot and immunofluorescence assay.

The rVZV-SARS-Cov-2 vaccines were shown to contain the genetic sequence for both the RBD and N antigens by PCR and to express the SARS-CoV-2 RBD and N antigens in infected cells by immunoblot and immunofluorescence assay. Based on these results, the rVZV-SARS-CoV-2 RBD and rVZV-SARS-CoV-2 N vaccines may proceed to animal testing with the hope of reaching clinical trial.

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Creative Commons License

Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License.

Included in

Virology Commons



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