This second research effort aims to support vaccine development. Vaccines work by exposing the immune system, in advance of infection, to molecules associated with the infectious agent. The immune system can then quickly ramp up the production of antibodies when it is again presented with what is now a known challenge. Molecules that stimulate the immune system are called antigens; the epitope is the specific part of the antigen to which an antibody binds. In epitope analysis, we study the viral genome to identify candidate protein sequences for use as antigens. To be useful, an antigen must confer immunity without causing disease or runaway inflammation. Determining viral protein components and sub-sequences that can serve in this role requires analysis of not only previous antigens but also virus evolution and the human immune response. We aim in this effort to expand the set of candidate epitopes for the SARS-CoV-2 virus. We will make these new candidates available to the community for further testing and development.
If you wish to contribute and have interests across the wider scope of this activity, such as experimental validation, please get in touch by emailing Dr Hugh Martin (h.s.martin “at” ucl.ac.uk) with your name, institution, a one-paragraph summary of your area of expertise, and up to 5 of your most relevant publications, making clear which of the 6 areas of coronavirus research you are seeking to contribute to in this consortium.