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Identification of Generalized Peptide Regions for Designing Vaccine Effective for All Significant Mutated Strains of SARS-CoV-2


Background: Coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) caused by SARS-CoV-2 has become a worldwide pandemic and created an utmost crisis across the globe. To mitigate the crisis, the design of vaccines is a crucial solution. The frequent mutation of the virus demands generalized vaccine candidates, which would be effective for all mutated strains at present and for the strains that would evolve due to further new mutations in the virus.

Objective: The objective of this study is to identify more frequently occurring mutated variants of SARS-CoV-2 and to suggest peptide vaccine candidates effective in common against the viral strains considered.

Method: In this study, we have identified all currently prevailing mutated strains of SARS-CoV-2 through 2D Polar plot and Quotient Radius〖(q〗_R) characterization descriptor. Then, by considering the top eight mutation strains, which are significant due to their frequency of occurrence, peptide regions suitable for vaccine design have been identified with the help of a mathematical model – 2D Polygon Representation, followed by the evaluation of epitope potential and ensuring that there is no case of any autoimmune threat. Lastly, in order to verify whether this entire approach is applicable for vaccine design against any other virus in general, we have made a comparative study between the peptide vaccine candidates prescribed for the Zika virus using the current approach and a list of potential vaccine candidates for the same already established in the past.

Results: We have finally suggested three generalized peptide regions which would be suitable as sustainable peptide vaccine candidates against SARS-CoV-2 irrespective of its currently prevailing strains as well any other variant of the same that may appear in the future. We also observed that during the comparative study using the case of E protein of Zika virus, the peptide regions suggested using the new approach matched with the already established results.

Conclusion: The study, therefore, illustrates an approach that would help in developing peptide vaccine against SARS-CoV-2 by suggesting those peptide regions which can be targeted irrespective of any mutated form of this virus. The consistency with which this entire approach was also able to figure out similar vaccine candidates for Zika virus with utmost accuracy proves that this protocol can be extended for peptide vaccine design against any other virus in the future.

Journal Title: Combinatorial Chemistry & High Throughput Screening

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