The construction and characterization of a synthetic SARS VLP comprised of betacoronavirus consensus sequence-encoded viral components
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In 2019, a novel coronavirus called severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2) emerged from Wuhan, China leading to the COVID-19 pandemic. Although there was an outbreak of severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus (SARS-CoV) and Middle Eastern respiratory syndrome coronavirus (MERS-CoV) in 2003 and 2012, respectively, a vaccine against the two SARS viruses were not given high priority due to low interest. The lack of investment into a SARS vaccine in the past has placed researchers in the position to race against time to produce a COVID-19 vaccine in a span of several months. The three coronavirus outbreaks and the emergence of several strains of COVID-19 suggests that future outbreaks are inevitable. Although the COVID-19 pandemic is still a concern, the time to start preparing for the next pandemic-causing coronavirus is now. A “universal vaccine”, which may provide cross-protective abilities, may be a highly effective approach in the protection against current and future coronaviruses, removing the need to generate new vaccines to address each emerging strain or variant. Universal vaccines function by relying on viral components that are highly conserved among various strains. A consensus sequence, which is a single sequence that represents several related sequences, may function to confer universal protection. Virus-like particles (VLPs) have been shown to be a highly safe and promising vaccine platform that can mimic the native virus and activate an immune response comparable to natural infections. This project will explore whether a consensus sequence based on the similarities of SARS-CoV, MERS-CoV and SARS-CoV-2, including its emerging variants, can produce a viable VLP that assembles to serve as a potential cross-protective vaccine candidate.
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Andrew Ng (2022). The construction and characterization of a synthetic SARS VLP comprised of betacoronavirus consensus sequence-encoded viral components. UWSpace. http://hdl.handle.net/10012/18989