UoH faculty designs potential Covid-19 vaccine candidates

G Naga Sridhar Hyderabad | Updated on March 27, 2020

Seema Mishra, faculty at the Department of Biochemistry, School of Life Sciences, University of Hyderabad (UoH) has designed potential vaccine candidates to fight against the coronavirus.

The candidates are called T-cell epitopes and are against all the structural and non-structural proteins of novel coronavirus-2 (2019-nCoV).

They are small coronaviral peptides or molecules which are used by cells to trigger an immune response to destroy cells harbouring these viral peptides.

“Using powerful immuno-informatics approaches with computational softwares, Dr. Seema Mishra has designed these potential epitopes in a way that can be used to vaccinate entire population,’’ UoH said in a release.

Usually, vaccine discovery takes 15 years, but powerful computational tools have helped to quickly enlist these vaccine candidates in about 10 days. A ranked list of potential candidate vaccines, based on how effectively they will be used by human cells to stop the virus, has been generated.

With no matches present in human protein pool, these coronaviral epitopes pose no cross-reactivity to human cells and hence, the immune response will be against viral proteins and not human proteins.

Experimental testing

However, these results have to be investigated experimentally in order to provide conclusive evidence. These results have been disseminated to the scientific community using the ChemRxiv preprint platform for urgent experimental assays.

This is the first such study on Covid-19 vaccine designs in India, exploring whole coronaviral proteome across structural and non-structural proteins that make up the virus.

“We would like to inform that this research has been disseminated to the scientific community using ChemRXiV preprint platform and it needs to be studied in vitro for conclusive evidence,’’ UoH said.

Published on March 27, 2020

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