SARS-CoV-2 epitopes inform future vaccination strategies

Areez Shafqat, Mohamed H. Omer, Omar Ahmad, Mahnoor Niaz, Humzah S. Abdulkader, Shameel Shafqat, Ali Hassan Mushtaq, Abdullah Shaik, Ahmed N. Elshaer, Junaid Kashir, Khaled Alkattan, Ahmed Yaqinuddin

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

3 Scopus citations


All currently approved COVID-19 vaccines utilize the spike protein as their immunogen. SARS-CoV-2 variants of concern (VOCs) contain mutations in the spike protein, enabling them to escape infection- and vaccination-induced immune responses to cause reinfection. New vaccines are hence being researched intensively. Studying SARS-CoV-2 epitopes is essential for vaccine design, as identifying targets of broadly neutralizing antibody responses and immunodominant T-cell epitopes reveal candidates for inclusion in next-generation COVID-19 vaccines. We summarize the major studies which have reported on SARS-CoV-2 antibody and T-cell epitopes thus far. These results suggest that a future of pan-coronavirus vaccines, which not only protect against SARS-CoV-2 but numerous other coronaviruses, may be possible. The T-cell epitopes of SARS-CoV-2 have gotten less attention than neutralizing antibody epitopes but may provide new strategies to control SARS-CoV-2 infection. T-cells target many SARS-CoV-2 antigens other than spike, recognizing numerous epitopes within these antigens, thereby limiting the chance of immune escape by VOCs that mainly possess spike protein mutations. Therefore, augmenting vaccination-induced T-cell responses against SARS-CoV-2 may provide adequate protection despite broad antibody escape by VOCs.

Original languageBritish English
Article number1041185
JournalFrontiers in Immunology
StatePublished - 25 Nov 2022


  • broadly neutralizing antibodies
  • COVID-19
  • epitopes
  • omicron
  • T-cells


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