Epitope-based chimeric peptide vaccine design against S, M and e proteins of SARS-CoV-2, the etiologic agent of COVID-19 pandemic: An in silico approach

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Journal Article

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B-cell Epitope; Chimeric Peptide Vaccine; Muti-epitope; SARS-CoV-2; T-cell Epitope


Severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2) is the etiologic agent of the ongoing pandemic of coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19), a public health emergency of international concerns declared by the World Health Organization (WHO). An immuno-informatics approach along with comparative genomics was applied to design a multi-epitope-based peptide vaccine against SARS-CoV-2 combining the antigenic epitopes of the S, M, and E proteins. The tertiary structure was predicted, refined and validated using advanced bioinformatics tools. The candidate vaccine showed an average of ≥90.0% world population coverage for different ethnic groups. Molecular docking and dynamics simulation of the chimeric vaccine with the immune receptors (TLR3 and TLR4) predicted efficient binding. Immune simulation predicted significant primary immune response with increased IgM and secondary immune response with high levels of both IgG1 and IgG2. It also increased the proliferation of T-helper cells and cytotoxic T-cells along with the increased IFN-γ and IL-2 cytokines. The codon optimization and mRNA secondary structure prediction revealed that the chimera is suitable for high-level expression and cloning. Overall, the constructed recombinant chimeric vaccine candidate demonstrated significant potential and can be considered for clinical validation to fight against this global threat, COVID-19.

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