Reverse vaccinology assisted designing of multiepitope-based subunit vaccine against SARS-CoV-2

Muhammad Tahir Ul Qamar, Farah Shahid, Sadia Aslam, Usman Ali Ashfaq, Sidra Aslam, Israr Fatima, Muhammad Mazhar Fareed, Ali Zohaib, Ling Ling Chen

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

10 Scopus citations


Background: Coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) linked with severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2) cause severe illness and life-threatening pneumonia in humans. The current COVID-19 pandemic demands an effective vaccine to acquire protection against the infection. Therefore, the present study was aimed to design a multiepitope-based subunit vaccine (MESV) against COVID-19. Methods: Structural proteins (Surface glycoprotein, Envelope protein, and Membrane glycoprotein) of SARS-CoV-2 are responsible for its prime functions. Sequences of proteins were downloaded from GenBank and several immunoinformatics coupled with computational approaches were employed to forecast B- and T- cell epitopes from the SARS-CoV-2 highly antigenic structural proteins to design an effective MESV. Results: Predicted epitopes suggested high antigenicity, conserveness, substantial interactions with the human leukocyte antigen (HLA) binding alleles, and collective global population coverage of 88.40%. Taken together, 276 amino acids long MESV was designed by connecting 3 cytotoxic T lymphocytes (CTL), 6 helper T lymphocyte (HTL) and 4 B-cell epitopes with suitable adjuvant and linkers. The MESV construct was non-allergenic, stable, and highly antigenic. Molecular docking showed a stable and high binding affinity of MESV with human pathogenic toll-like receptors-3 (TLR3). Furthermore, in silico immune simulation revealed significant immunogenic response of MESV. Finally, MEV codons were optimized for its in silico cloning into the Escherichia coli K-12 system, to ensure its increased expression. Conclusion: The MESV developed in this study is capable of generating immune response against COVID-19. Therefore, if designed MESV further investigated experimentally, it would be an effective vaccine candidate against SARS-CoV-2 to control and prevent COVID-19.
Original languageEnglish
JournalInfectious Diseases of Poverty
Issue number1
StatePublished - 16 Sep 2020


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