With a large number of fatalities, coronavirus disease-2019 (COVID-19) has greatly affected human health worldwide. Severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2) is the virus that causes COVID-19. The World Health Organization has declared a global pandemic of this contagious disease. Researchers across the world are collaborating in a quest for remedies to combat this deadly virus. It has recently been demonstrated that the spike glycoprotein (SGP) of SARS-CoV-2 is the mediator by which the virus enters host cells.
Our group comprehensibly analyzed the SGP of SARS-CoV-2 through multiple sequence analysis and a phylogenetic analysis. We predicted the strongest immunogenic epitopes of the SGP for both B cells and T cells.
We focused on predicting peptides that would bind major histocompatibility complex class I. Two optimal epitopes were identified, WTAGAAAYY and GAAAYYVGY. They interact with the HLA-B*15:01 allele, which was further validated by molecular docking simulation. This study also found that the selected epitopes are able to be recognized in a large percentage of the world's population. Furthermore, we predicted CD4+ T-cell epitopes and B-cell epitopes.
Our study provides a strong basis for designing vaccine candidates against SARS-CoV-2. However, laboratory work is required to validate our theoretical results, which would lay the foundation for the appropriate vaccine manufacturing and testing processes.