Landscape and Selection of Vaccine Epitopes in SARS-CoV-2

BioRxiv : the Preprint Server for Biology
Christof C SmithAlex Rubinsteyn


There is an urgent need for a vaccine with efficacy against SARS-CoV-2. We hypothesize that peptide vaccines containing epitope regions optimized for concurrent B cell, CD4+ T cell, and CD8+ T cell stimulation would drive both humoral and cellular immunity with high specificity, potentially avoiding undesired effects such as antibody-dependent enhancement (ADE). Additionally, such vaccines can be rapidly manufactured in a distributed manner. In this study, we combine computational prediction of T cell epitopes, recently published B cell epitope mapping studies, and epitope accessibility to select candidate peptide vaccines for SARS-CoV-2. We begin with an exploration of the space of possible T cell epitopes in SARS-CoV-2 with interrogation of predicted HLA-I and HLA-II ligands, overlap between predicted ligands, protein source, as well as concurrent human/murine coverage. Beyond MHC affinity, T cell vaccine candidates were further refined by predicted immunogenicity, viral source protein abundance, sequence conservation, coverage of high frequency HLA alleles and co-localization of CD4+ and CD8+ T cell epitopes. B cell epitope regions were chosen from linear epitope mapping studies of convalescent patient serum, followed by fil...Continue Reading

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