Designing Multi-Epitope Vaccines to Combat Emerging Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19) by Employing Immuno-Informatics Approach.Front Immunol. 2020; 11:1663.FI
A recent pandemic caused by a single-stranded RNA virus, COVID-19, initially discovered in China, is now spreading globally. This poses a serious threat that needs to be addressed immediately. Genome analysis of SARS-CoV-2 has revealed its close relation to SARS-coronavirus along with few changes in its spike protein. The spike protein aids in receptor binding and viral entry within the host and therefore represents a potential target for vaccine and therapeutic development. In the current study, the spike protein of SARS-CoV-2 was explored for potential immunogenic epitopes to design multi-epitope vaccine constructs. The S1 and S2 domains of spike proteins were analyzed, and two vaccine constructs were prioritized with T-cell and B-cell epitopes. We adapted a comprehensive predictive framework to provide novel insights into immunogenic epitopes of spike proteins, which can further be evaluated as potential vaccine candidates against COVID-19. Prioritized epitopes were then modeled using linkers and adjuvants, and respective 3D models were constructed to evaluate their physiochemical properties and their possible interactions with ACE2, HLA Superfamily alleles, TLR2, and TLR4.