A lot of people don’t trust the COVID vaccines that are currently available, whether we’re talking about those developed by Pfizer, Moderna, AstraZeneca, Johnson & Johnson, and so on. Either way, having more COVID vaccines at your disposal to choose from shouldn’t be a bad thing.
According to SciTechDaily, researchers were now able to identify stable T cell vaccine targets in the SARS-CoV-2 virus by using a method developed for HIV. There are high chances for the targets to be stable in different variants of the virus. The results are encouraging, as they provide a possible key for a broadly protective T cell vaccine for COVID.
Combating HIV’s high rate of mutation
For combating the high rate mutation of HIV, scientists developed a structure-based network analysis. They can use it for identifying viral pieces that are restricted or constrained.
Researchers recognized the opportunity for applying the principles of HIV structure-based network analysis to the SARS-CoV-2 virus even since the beginning of the ongoing pandemic. The scientists knew that the virus would likely undergo mutations, even avoiding vaccine-induced immunity. Furthermore, the researchers were able to identify mutationally constrained epitopes for the coronavirus that can be recognized by T cells, meaning immune cells. The epitopes could even be used in a vaccine for training T cells and, therefore, providing immunity.
Anusha Nathan, who is a medical student in the Harvard-MIT Health Sciences and Technology program, and also co-author of the new study, declared as cited by SciTechDaily:
These highly networked viral epitopes are connected to many other viral parts, which likely provides a form of stability to the virus,
Therefore, the virus is unlikely to tolerate any structural changes in these highly networked areas, making them resistant to mutations.
The new study was published in Cell.