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Crop Biotech Update

Scientists Find Potential Targets for COVID-19 Vaccine

June 3, 2020
This illustration reveals the ultrastructural morphology exhibited by coronaviruses. Note the spikes that adorn the outer surface of the virus, which impart the look of a corona surrounding the virion, when viewed electron microscopically. Photo Source: Centers for Disease Control and Prevention Public Health Image Library

Scientists from the University of Manchester (UoM) have identified parts of the SARS-CoV-2 coronavirus that activate an immune response and which could act as targets for vaccine development. The small scale study published in Annals of Rheumatic Diseases used new technology to analyze the total immune response in patients with dermatomyositis, a musculoskeletal disease and identified a link to lifetime exposure to coronavirus infection.

The team used a novel unbiased method to identify antibodies produced by the immune system against all types of infection that were unique or enriched in individuals with dermatomyositis, compared to healthy patients, during their lifetime.

In patients with autoimmune dermatomyositis, the UoM team identified three specific sections of the bat coronavirus proteins that stimulated an immune response that was highly similar to the human SARS-CoV-2 virus that causes COVID-19 disease. These sections may indicate SARS-CoV-2 targets for vaccine development against COVID-19.

For more details, read the news article from the University of Manchester, or read the paper in Annals of Rheumatic Diseases.

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