Hyderabad: A faculty from the Department of Bio-Chemistry in University of Hyderabad has come up with potential vaccine candidates against the novel coronavirus. The vaccine, called T cell epitopes, are to be tested against the all the structural and non-structural proteins of novel coronavirus (2019-nCoV).

Dr. Seema Mishra had designed this potential vaccine using immunoinformatics approaches in order to provide putative promiscuous epitopes using genome-wide screening of the novel coronavirus genome. An interesting observation put forth by her study reveals that the usual vaccination strategy applied using on proteins of nCoV may not be applicable across the entire population. “An interesting observation from this study is that surface (spike) and membrane proteins of nCoV provide with very less number of promiscuous epitopes with high degree of unique epitopes across alleles. This shows that these proteins may be less immunologic and the vaccination strategy using these proteins may not work at entire population level across continents,” says her study.

These vaccine candidates, as proposed by Dr Mishra are small coronaviral peptides, or molecules which are used by cells to trigger an immune response to destroy cells harboring these viral peptides.

However, the researcher also cautions that these results have to be investigated experimentally in order to provide conclusive evidence. Her study is one among the very first studies from India on coronavirus vaccines based on structural and non-structural proteins of nCoV.

“Right now, the best defense to prevent further nCoV infections is social distancing. Vaccination will take some time due to the need for further work on these candidate epitopes. We are hopeful that our computational findings will provide a cost- and time-effective framework for rapid experimental trials towards an effective nCoV vaccine,” the teacher said.

Amritha Mohan

Amritha Mohan is a reporter at the NewsMeter. Shortly after completing her Master's in Communication at the University of Hyderabad, she began teaching courses on media and culture as a guest lecturer at the Department of Journalism and Mass Communication, North-Eastern Hill University (NEHU), Shillong. Amritha has previously interned with news organisations such as Greater Kashmir and Newslaundry. A lover of travel and photography, she spends most of her time planning road trips to the North-East. Nothing makes her happier than a green turf and a team to play football with. She primarily reports on education, tech, human-interesting and critical features.

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