Preliminary Identification of Potential Vaccine Targets for the COVID-19 Coronavirus (SARS-CoV-2) Based on SARS-CoV Immunological Studies.
ABSTRACT: The beginning of 2020 has seen the emergence of COVID-19 outbreak caused by a novel coronavirus, Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome Coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2). There is an imminent need to better understand this new virus and to develop ways to control its spread. In this study, we sought to gain insights for vaccine design against SARS-CoV-2 by considering the high genetic similarity between SARS-CoV-2 and SARS-CoV, which caused the outbreak in 2003, and leveraging existing immunological studies of SARS-CoV. By screening the experimentally-determined SARS-CoV-derived B cell and T cell epitopes in the immunogenic structural proteins of SARS-CoV, we identified a set of B cell and T cell epitopes derived from the spike (S) and nucleocapsid (N) proteins that map identically to SARS-CoV-2 proteins. As no mutation has been observed in these identified epitopes among the 120 available SARS-CoV-2 sequences (as of 21 February 2020), immune targeting of these epitopes may potentially offer protection against this novel virus. For the T cell epitopes, we performed a population coverage analysis of the associated MHC alleles and proposed a set of epitopes that is estimated to provide broad coverage globally, as well as in China. Our findings provide a screened set of epitopes that can help guide experimental efforts towards the development of vaccines against SARS-CoV-2.
Project description:The beginning of 2020 was marked as the emergence of a COVID-19 outbreak caused by a new coronavirus, severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2). Currently, there is no vaccine or approved treatment for this infectious virus so the invention of an efficient vaccine is certainly a high priority. Some studies have employed several techniques to facilitate the combination of the immunoinformatics approach and comparative genomic approach in order to determine the potential peptides for designing the T-cell epitope-based peptide vaccine using the 2019-nCoV envelope protein as a target. Via screening the bioimmunoinformatic SARS-CoV2 derived B-cell and T-cell epitopes within the basic immunogenic of SARS-CoV2 proteins, we presented a set of inferred B-cell and T-cell epitopes from the spike (S) and nucleocapsid (N) proteins with high antigenicity and without allergenic property or toxic effects. Our findings provide a screened set of epitopes that can be introduced as potential targets for developing peptide vaccines against the SARS-CoV-2 virus.
Project description:The outbreak of the 2019 novel coronavirus (SARS-CoV-2) has infected millions of people with a large number of deaths across the globe. The existing therapies are limited in dealing with SARS-CoV-2 due to the sudden appearance of the virus. Therefore, vaccines and antiviral medicines are in desperate need. We took immune-informatics approaches to identify B- and T-cell epitopes for surface glycoprotein (S), membrane glycoprotein (M) and nucleocapsid protein (N) of SARS-CoV-2, followed by estimating their antigenicity and interactions with the human leukocyte antigen (HLA) alleles. Allergenicity, toxicity, physiochemical properties analysis and stability were examined to confirm the specificity and selectivity of the epitope candidates. We identified a total of five B cell epitopes in RBD of S protein, seven MHC class-I, and 18 MHC class-II binding T-cell epitopes from S, M and N protein which showed non-allergenic, non-toxic and highly antigenic features and non-mutated in 55,179 SARS-CoV-2 virus strains until June 25, 2020. The epitopes identified here can be a potentially good candidate repertoire for vaccine development.
Project description:Highlights • The disruption of the host immune system is the characteristic of the outbreak of COVID-19.• Identifying the regulating mechanism of virus behavior will help design antiviral vaccine candidates.• SARS-CoV-2 vaccines is critical to reduce morbidity and mortality. The worldwide outbreak of SARS-CoV-2, severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 as a novel human coronavirus, was the worrying news at the beginning of 2020. Since its emergence complicated more than 870,000 individuals and led to more than 43,000 deaths worldwide. Considering to the potential threat of a pandemic and transmission severity of it, there is an urgent need to evaluate and realize this new virus’s structure and behavior and the immunopathology of this disease to find potential therapeutic protocols and to design and develop effective vaccines. This disease is able to agitate the response of the immune system in the infected patients, so ARDS, as a common consequence of immunopathological events for infections with Middle East respiratory syndrome coronavirus (MERS-CoV), SARS-CoV, and SARS-CoV-2, could be the main reason for death. Here, we summarized the immune response and immune evasion characteristics in SARS-CoV, MERS-CoV, and SARS-CoV-2 and therapeutic and prophylactic strategies with a focus on vaccine development and its challenges.
Project description:Coronaviruses (CoVs) cause a broad spectrum of diseases in domestic and wild animals, poultry, and rodents, ranging from mild to severe enteric, respiratory, and systemic disease, and also cause the common cold or pneumonia in humans. Seven coronavirus species are known to cause human infection, 4 of which, HCoV 229E, HCoV NL63, HCoV HKU1 and HCoV OC43, typically cause cold symptoms in immunocompetent individuals. The others namely SARS-CoV (severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus), MERS-CoV (Middle East respiratory syndrome coronavirus) were zoonotic in origin and cause severe respiratory illness and fatalities. On 31 December 2019, the existence of patients with pneumonia of an unknown aetiology was reported to WHO by the national authorities in China. This virus was officially identified by the coronavirus study group as severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2), and the present outbreak of a coronavirus-associated acute respiratory disease was labelled coronavirus disease 19 (COVID-19). COVID-19’s first cases were seen in Turkey on March 10, 2020 and was number 47,029 cases and 1006 deaths after 1 month. Infections with SARS-CoV-2 are now widespread, and as of 10 April 2020, 1,727,602 cases have been confirmed in more than 210 countries, with 105,728 deaths.
Project description:The World Health Organization has recently declared the ongoing outbreak of COVID-19, which is caused by a novel coronavirus SARS-CoV-2, as pandemic. There is currently a lack of knowledge in the antibody response elicited from SARS-CoV-2 infection. One major immunological question is concerning the antigenic differences between SARS-CoV-2 and SARS-CoV. We address this question by using plasma from patients infected by SARS-CoV-2 or SARS-CoV, and plasma obtained from infected or immunized mice. Our results show that while cross-reactivity in antibody binding to the spike protein is common, cross-neutralization of the live viruses is rare, indicating the presence of non-neutralizing antibody response to conserved epitopes in the spike. Whether these non-neutralizing antibody responses will lead to antibody-dependent disease enhancement needs to be addressed in the future. Overall, this study not only addresses a fundamental question regarding the antigenicity differences between SARS-CoV-2 and SARS-CoV, but also has important implications in vaccine.
Project description:The World Health Organization has declared the ongoing outbreak of COVID-19, which is caused by a novel coronavirus SARS-CoV-2, a pandemic. There is currently a lack of knowledge about the antibody response elicited from SARS-CoV-2 infection. One major immunological question concerns antigenic differences between SARS-CoV-2 and SARS-CoV. We address this question by analyzing plasma from patients infected by SARS-CoV-2 or SARS-CoV and from infected or immunized mice. Our results show that, although cross-reactivity in antibody binding to the spike protein is common, cross-neutralization of the live viruses may be rare, indicating the presence of a non-neutralizing antibody response to conserved epitopes in the spike. Whether such low or non-neutralizing antibody response leads to antibody-dependent disease enhancement needs to be addressed in the future. Overall, this study not only addresses a fundamental question regarding antigenicity differences between SARS-CoV-2 and SARS-CoV but also has implications for immunogen design and vaccine development.
Project description:To investigate the evolutionary history of the current pandemic outbreak of severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2), a total of 137 genomes of coronavirus strains with release dates between January 2019 and 25 March 2020, were analyzed. To investigate the potential intermediate host of the SARS-CoV-2, we analyzed spike glycoprotein sequences from different animals, with particular emphasis on bats. We performed phylogenetic analysis and structural reconstruction of the spike glycoproteins with subsequent alignment and comparison. Our phylogenetic results revealed that SARS-CoV-2 was more similar to the bats' betacoronavirus isolates: HKU5-related from Pipistrellus abramus and HKU4-related from Tylonycteris pachypus. We also identified a yak betacoronavirus strain, YAK/HY24/CH/2017, as the closest match in the comparison of the structural models of spike glycoproteins. Interestingly, a set of unique features has been described for this particular strain of the yak betacoronavirus. Therefore, our results suggest that the human SARS-CoV-2, responsible for the current outbreak of COVID-19, could also come from yak as an intermediate host.
Project description:An outbreak of coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) caused by severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2) occurred aboard the Diamond Princess cruise ship between her January 20 departure and late February 2020. Here, we used phylodynamic analyses to investigate the transmission dynamics of SARS-CoV-2 during the outbreak. Using a Bayesian coalescent-based method, the estimated mean nucleotide substitution rate of 240 SARS-CoV-2 whole-genome sequences was approximately 7.13 × 10<sup>-4</sup> substitutions per site per year. Population dynamics and the effective reproductive number (R<sub>e</sub>) of SARS-CoV-2 infections were estimated using a Bayesian framework. The estimated origin of the outbreak was January 21, 2020. The infection spread substantially before quarantine on February 5. The R<sub>e</sub> peaked at 6.06 on February 4 and gradually declined to 1.51, suggesting that transmission continued slowly even after quarantine. These findings highlight the high transmissibility of SARS-CoV-2 and the need for effective measures to control outbreaks in confined settings.
Project description:The global outbreak of severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2) urgently requires an effective vaccine for prevention. In this study, 66 epitopes containing pentapeptides of SARS-CoV-2 spike protein in the IEDB database were compared with the amino acid sequence of SARS-CoV-2 spike protein, and 66 potentially immune-related peptides of SARS-CoV-2 spike protein were obtained. Based on the SNPs analysis of spike protein of 1218 SARS-CoV-2 isolates, 52 easily mutated sites were identified and used for vaccine epitope screening. The best vaccine candidate epitopes in the 66 peptides of SARS-CoV-2 spike protein were screened out through mutation and immunoinformatics analysis. The best candidate epitopes were connected by different linkers in silico to obtain vaccine candidate sequences. The results showed that 16 epitopes were relatively conservative, immunological, non-toxic and non-allergenic, could induce the secretion of cytokines and more likely to be exposed on the surface of spike protein. They were both B cell epitopes and T cell epitopes, which could recognize a certain number of HLA molecules and had high coverage rates in different populations. Moreover, epitopes 897-913 were predicted possible cross-immunoprotection for SARS-CoV and SARS-CoV-2. The results of vaccine candidate sequences screening suggested that sequences (without linker, with linker GGGSGGG, EAAAK, GPGPG and KK, respectively) were the best. The proteins translated by these sequences were relatively stable, with high antigenic index and good biological activity. Our study provided vaccine candidate epitopes and sequences for the research of SARS-CoV-2 vaccine. This article is protected by copyright. All rights reserved.
Project description:Coronaviruses are enveloped viruses with a positive-sense single-stranded RNA genome infecting animals and humans. Coronaviruses have been described more than 70 years ago and contain many species. Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome (SARS) and Middle East Respiratory Syndrome (MERS) are lethal species caused by human coronaviruses (HCoVs). Currently, a novel strain of HCoVs, named Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome Coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2) causes coronavirus disease 2019 (Covid-19). SARS-CoV-2 was first identified in December 2019 in Wuhan, the capital city of the Hubei province of China, and has since spread worldwide causing an outbreak in more than 200 countries. The SARS-CoV-2 outbreak was declared a pandemic on March 11th, 2020 and a public health emergency of international concern (PHEIC) in late January 2020 by the World Health Organization (WHO). SARS-CoV-2 infects the respiratory tract causing flu-like symptoms and, in some, may cause severe illness like pneumonia and multi-organ failure leading to death. Today, Covid-19 cases almost reaching 9 million, with more than 450 thousand deaths. There is an urgent demand for developing a vaccine since no effective therapies or vaccines have been approved to this day to prevent or minimize the spread of the infection. In this review, we summarized the furthest vaccines in the clinical pipeline.