Design of a peptide-based subunit vaccine against novel coronavirus SARS-CoV-2

Microb Pathog. 2020 Aug;145:104236. doi: 10.1016/j.micpath.2020.104236. Epub 2020 May 4.


Coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) is an emerging infectious disease that was first reported in Wuhan, China, and has subsequently spread worldwide. In the absence of any antiviral or immunomodulatory therapies, the disease is spreading at an alarming rate. A possibility of a resurgence of COVID-19 in places where lockdowns have already worked is also developing. Thus, for controlling COVID-19, vaccines may be a better option than drugs. An mRNA-based anti-COVID-19 candidate vaccine has entered a phase 1 clinical trial. However, its efficacy and potency have to be evaluated and validated. Since vaccines have high failure rates, as an alternative, we are presenting a new, designed multi-peptide subunit-based epitope vaccine against COVID-19. The recombinant vaccine construct comprises an adjuvant, cytotoxic T-lymphocyte (CTL), helper T-lymphocyte (HTL), and B-cell epitopes joined by linkers. The computational data suggest that the vaccine is non-toxic, non-allergenic, thermostable, with the capability to elicit a humoral and cell-mediated immune response. The stabilization of the vaccine construct is validated with molecular dynamics simulation studies. This unique vaccine is made up of 33 highly antigenic epitopes from three proteins that have a prominent role in host-receptor recognition, viral entry, and pathogenicity. We advocate this vaccine must be synthesized and tested urgently as a public health priority.

Keywords: Adjuvant; COVID-19; Immunogenic epitopes; Peptide vaccine; SARS-CoV-2; Subunit vaccine.

MeSH terms

  • Antigens, Viral / immunology
  • Betacoronavirus / immunology*
  • COVID-19
  • Coronavirus Infections / immunology
  • Coronavirus Infections / prevention & control*
  • Epitopes, B-Lymphocyte / immunology
  • Epitopes, T-Lymphocyte / immunology
  • Humans
  • Molecular Dynamics Simulation
  • Nucleocapsid Proteins / immunology*
  • Pandemics / prevention & control*
  • Pneumonia, Viral / immunology
  • Pneumonia, Viral / prevention & control*
  • SARS-CoV-2
  • Spike Glycoprotein, Coronavirus / immunology*
  • Vaccines, Subunit / immunology*
  • Viral Vaccines / immunology*


  • Antigens, Viral
  • Epitopes, B-Lymphocyte
  • Epitopes, T-Lymphocyte
  • Nucleocapsid Proteins
  • Spike Glycoprotein, Coronavirus
  • Vaccines, Subunit
  • Viral Vaccines