The Tamil Nadu Dr. MGR Medical University has developed a vaccine candidate (i.e. potential vaccine) against SARS-CoV-2 (Covid-19) through ‘reverse vaccinology.
Reverse vaccinology helps in the examination of the genome of an organism in order to identify novel antigens and epitopes that might constitute vaccine candidates. The process includes comparative in silico analyses of multiple genome sequences in order to identify conserved antigens within a heterogeneous pathogen population and identification of antigens that are unique to pathogenic isolates but not present in commensal strains.
Previously, Reverse vaccinology has been used for developing vaccinations for meningococcal and staphylococcal infections. In addition, transcriptomic and proteomic data sets are integrated into a selection process that yields a shortlist of candidate antigens to be tested in animal models, thus reducing the costs and time of downstream analyses.
- The use of genomic information with the aid of computers for the preparation of vaccines without culturing microorganism is known as reverse vaccinology.
- Reverse vaccinology helps in the examination of the genome of an organism in order to identify novel antigens and epitopes that might constitute vaccine candidates.
- Antigen is a toxin or other foreign substance which induces an immune response in the body,
- Epitope is a portion of a foreign protein, or antigen, that is capable of stimulating an immune response.
- With the unwrapping of the entire genomic sequence, it is possible to know what molecules make the genomic sequence.
- Reverse vaccinology has been used for developing vaccinations for meningococcal and staphylococcal infections all through the world.
- Meningococcal meningitis is caused by Neisseria meningitidis bacteria. It is a serious infection of the thin lining that surrounds the brain and spinal cord.
- Staphylococcal infections are caused by staphylococcus bacteria commonly found on the skin or in the nose of even healthy individuals.
- The technique has been available for the last 10 to 15 years.
- In reverse vaccinology identification of candidate antigens (potential target for vaccine preparation) is possible without the need to grow the pathogen in a shorter time.
- Earlier, a viral culture had to be done in the laboratory to develop a vaccine which was time-consuming. It would take time to find out the protein in the virus.