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Reverse Vaccinology

  • 23 Apr 2020
  • 2 min read

Why in News

The Tamil Nadu Dr. MGR Medical University has developed a vaccine candidate (i.e. potential vaccine) against SARS-CoV-2 (Covid-19) through ‘reverse vaccinology’.

Key Points

  • The use of genomic information with the aid of computers for the preparation of vaccines without culturing microorganism is known as reverse vaccinology.
  • Reverse vaccinology helps in the examination of the genome of an organism in order to identify novel antigens and epitopes that might constitute vaccine candidates.
    • Antigen is a toxin or other foreign substance which induces an immune response in the body,
    • Epitope is a portion of a foreign protein, or antigen, that is capable of stimulating an immune response.
  • With the unwrapping of the entire genomic sequence, it is possible to know what molecules make the genomic sequence.
  • Reverse vaccinology has been used for developing vaccinations for meningococcal and staphylococcal infections all through the world.
    • Meningococcal meningitis is caused by Neisseria meningitidis bacteria. It is a serious infection of the thin lining that surrounds the brain and spinal cord.
    • Staphylococcal infections are caused by staphylococcus bacteria commonly found on the skin or in the nose of even healthy individuals.
  • The technique has been available for the last 10 to 15 years.
  • In reverse vaccinology identification of candidate antigens (potential target for vaccine preparation) is possible without the need to grow the pathogen in a shorter time.
    • Earlier, a viral culture had to be done in the laboratory to develop a vaccine which was time-consuming. It would take time to find out the protein in the virus.

Source: TH

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