The 2013-2016 West Africa EBOV epidemic was the biggest EBOV outbreak to date. An analysis of virus-specific CD8+ T-cell immunity in 30 survivors showed that 26 of those individuals had a CD8+ response to at least one EBOV protein. The dominant response (25/26 subjects) was specific to the EBOV nucleocapsid protein (NP). It has been suggested that epitopes on the EBOV NP could form an important part of an effective T-cell vaccine for Ebola Zaire. We show that a 9-amino-acid peptide NP44-52 (YQVNNLEEI) located in a conserved region of EBOV NP provides protection against morbidity and mortality after mouse adapted EBOV challenge. A single vaccination in a C57BL/6 mouse using an adjuvanted microsphere peptide vaccine formulation containing NP44-52 is enough to confer immunity in mice. Our work suggests that a peptide vaccine based on CD8+ T-cell immunity in EBOV survivors is conceptually sound and feasible. Nucleocapsid proteins within SARS-CoV-2 contain multiple Class I epitopes with predicted HLA restrictions consistent with broad population coverage. A similar approach to a CTL vaccine design may be possible for that virus.
Keywords: COVID-19; CTL Vaccine; Controller; Ebola Zaire vaccine; Flow Focusing; SARS-CoV-2; YQVNNLEEI.
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