Huge Development for COVID-19 Vaccine Market: New Approach Could Develop T cell Vaccine, Potentially Effective against Coronavirus Mutations and Variants

Posted On September 17, 2021     

HIV (Human Immunodeficiency Viruses) is considered to be one of the world’s fastest-mutating viruses. However, its mutating abilities aren’t that unique when it comes to RNA viruses, as most viruses mutate or change their genetic code with time. In case a virus causes diseases, then the right mutation might even allow it to escape immune responses by changing the viral pieces that are used by the immune system to identify the virus as a threat. Such viral pieces are referred to as epitopes.
To tackle the high rate mutation of HIV, researchers have successfully developed an approach called structure-based network analysis. The novel approach will empower scientists to identify viral pieces that are restricted due to mutation. Not only this, but the technique is also enormously positive news for the COVID-19 Vaccine Market as through the approach, the team was able to identify mutationally constrained SARS-CoV-2 that immune cells identify as T cells. These epitopes could potentially help towards making a vaccine to train T cells to provide protective immunity to an individual.
The team gathered right from the early stages of the coronavirus pandemic that it was crucial to prepare against all future mutations if there was any hope of beating the virus. They publish work of other labs that provided them the protein structure of around 40% of the SARS-CoV-2 virus. The studies also suggested that patients with a robust T cells response, namely the CD8+ T cell response, had a good chance of battling the COVID-19 infection.
The research team decided to combine the acquired knowledge with the new approach. Thus, they used the network analysis platform to classify mutationally constrained epitopes and epitopes that were targeted by CD8+ T cells in individuals suffering from HIV. They applied all the advances to the SARS-CoV-2 virus and discovered 311 highly networked epitopes within the virus that had the possibility of being mutationally constrained and identified by CD8+ T cell response.
Although currently available vaccines do provide protection against the COVID-19 virus; however, that might stop being the truth as the virus mutates and evolves with time. A T cell vaccine could thus be effective in targeting the epitopes leading to long-lasting protection against multiple variants of the virus, even future variants. Nobody knows how much protection the current vaccines would provide once more variants begin to circulate, so it would be in the best interest of the world that T cell Vaccines are developed so that the COVID-19 pandemic can be put to an end once and for all.

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