Preliminary Identification of Potential Vaccine Targets for the COVID-19 Coronavirus (SARS-CoV-2) Based on SARS-CoV Immunological Studies
Authors: Ahmed, Syed Faraz; Quadeer, Ahmed A.; McKay, Matthew R.
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.
Prospects for a MERS-CoV spike vaccine
EXPERT REVIEW OF VACCINES
Authors: Zhou, Yusen; Jiang, Shibo; Du, Lanying
Introduction: Six years have passed since Middle East respiratory syndrome (MERS) coronavirus (MERS-CoV), a newly emerging infectious virus, was first reported in 2012. Although MERS-CoV has had a consistently high mortality rate in humans, no vaccines have been approved to prevent MERS-CoV infection in humans. MERS-CoV spike (S) protein is a key target for development of MERS vaccines.Areas covered: In this review, we illustrate the structure and function of S protein as a vaccine target, describe available animal models for evaluating MERS vaccines, and summarize recent progress on MERS-CoV S-based vaccines, focusing on their ability to elicit antibody and/or cellular immune responses, neutralizing antibodies, and protection against MERS-CoV infection in different models. Prospects for future MERS-CoV S-based vaccines are discussed.Expert commentary: The majority of MERS vaccines under development are based on MERS-CoV S protein, including full-length S, S1, and receptor-binding domain (RBD). While it is essential to evaluate the safety of full-length S and S1-based MERS vaccines, further improvement of the efficacy of RBD-based vaccines using novel strategies would be necessary. Overall, this review provides informative guidance for designing and developing safe and effective MERS vaccines based on viral S protein.