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UoH faculty Seema on verge of finding coronavirus vaccine

Dr. Seema Mishra

Hyderabad: Dr. Seema Mishra, faculty of the Department of Biochemistry, School of Life Sciences, University of Hyderabad (UoH) has designed potential vaccine candidates, called T cell epitopes, against all the structural and non-structural proteins of novel coronavirus-2 (2019-nCoV) for experimental testing. 

These vaccine candidates are small corona viral peptides, molecules which are used by cells to trigger an immune response to destroy cells harboring these viral peptides, a press release from the university said. 
Using powerful immunoinformatics approaches with computational software, Dr. Seema Mishra has designed these potential epitopes in a way that can be used to vaccinate the entire population.

Usually, vaccine discovery takes 15 years but the powerful computational tools helped in quickly enlisting these vaccine candidates in about 10 days. A ranked list of potential candidate vaccines, based on how effectively they will be used by human cells to stop the virus, has been generated. With no matches present in human protein pool, these coronaviral epitopes pose no cross-reactivity to human cells and hence, the immune response will be against viral proteins and not human proteins. However, these results have to be investigated experimentally in order to provide conclusive evidence. These results have been disseminated to the scientific community using ChemRXiV preprint platform for urgent experimental assays.

These are the first such studies on nCoV vaccine design from India exploring whole coronaviral proteome across structural and non-structural proteins that make up the virus.

Right now, the best defense to prevent further nCoV infections is social distancing. Vaccination will take some time due to the need for further work on these candidate epitopes. 

“The University of Hyderabad would like to inform that this research has been disseminated to the scientific community using ChemRXiV preprint platform and it needs to be studied in vitro for conclusive evidence…We are hopeful that our computational findings will provide a cost and time-effective framework for rapid experimental trials towards an effective nCoV vaccine,” a press release from the university said.

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