Immunoinformatics approach for multi-epitope vaccine design against P. falciparum malaria

Infect Genet Evol. 2021 Aug;92:104875. doi: 10.1016/j.meegid.2021.104875. Epub 2021 Apr 24.


Plasmodium falciparum (P. falciparum) is a leading causative agent of malaria, an infectious disease that can be fatal. Unfortunately, control measures are becoming less effective over time. A vaccine is needed to effectively control malaria and lead towards the total elimination of the disease. There have been multiple attempts to develop a vaccine, but to date, none have been certified as appropriate for wide-scale use. In this study, an immunoinformatics method is presented to design a multi-epitope vaccine construct predicted to be effective against P. falciparum malaria. This was done through the prediction of 12 CD4+ T-cell, 10 CD8+ T-cell epitopes and, 1 B-cell epitope which were assessed for predicted high antigenicity, immunogenicity, and non-allergenicity through in silico methods. The Human Leukocyte Antigen (HLA) population coverage showed that the alleles associated with the epitopes accounted for 78.48% of the global population. The CD4+ and CD8+ T-cell epitopes were docked to HLA-DRB1*07:01 and HLA-A*32:01 successfully. Therefore, the epitopes were deemed to be suitable as components of a multi-epitope vaccine construct. Adjuvant RS09 was added to the construct to generate a stronger immune response, as confirmed by an immune system simulation. Finally, the structural stability of the predicted multi-epitope vaccine was assessed using molecular dynamics simulations. The results show a promising vaccine design that should be further synthesised and assessed for its efficacy in an experimental laboratory setting.

Keywords: Epitope prediction; Immunoinformatics; Infectious disease; Malaria; Vaccine.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Computational Biology*
  • Epitopes, B-Lymphocyte / immunology*
  • Epitopes, T-Lymphocyte / immunology*
  • Humans
  • Malaria Vaccines / chemistry*
  • Malaria, Falciparum / prevention & control*
  • Plasmodium falciparum / immunology*


  • Epitopes, B-Lymphocyte
  • Epitopes, T-Lymphocyte
  • Malaria Vaccines