SARS-CoV-2–Specific Vaccine Candidates; the Contribution of Structural Vaccinology

Su Min Pack;Peter J. Peters

SARS-CoV-2 vaccine production has taken us by storm. We aim to fill in the history of concepts and the work of pioneers and provide a framework of strategies employing structural vaccinology. Cryo-electron microscopy became crucial in providing three-dimensional (3D) structures and creating candidates eliciting T and B cell-mediated immunity. It also determined structural changes in the emerging mutants in order to design new constructs that can be easily, quickly and safely added to the vaccines. The full-length spike (S) protein, the S1 subunit and its receptor binding domain (RBD) of the virus are the best candidates. The vaccine development to cease this COVID-19 pandemic sets a milestone for the pan-coronavirus vaccine’s designing and manufacturing. By employing structural vaccinology, we propose that the mRNA and the protein sequences of the currently approved vaccines should be modified rapidly to keep up with the more infectious new variants.

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