myNEO collaborates with VUB-LMCT to develop high-throughput assays for immunogenicity validation of predicted SARS-CoV-2 epitopes
The aim of the project is to validate immunogenic epitopes predicted by the myNEO algorithms, combining in-vitro and in-vivo validation datasets across viral strains within a family, through development of high-throughput tools. This will enable rapid screening of vaccine targets and limiting labour- and time intensive assays as well as hazardous manipulations.
The respiratory disease COVID-19 has been slowed down as a result of containment strategies. Development of a potent vaccine is, however, of essence to educate our immune system on how to deal with SARS-CoV-2 to avoid further spread of the virus.
The potency of such a vaccine relies on the immune activating properties or immunogenicity of SARS-CoV-2 epitopes, protein fragments recognised by immune cells. myNEO will utilise and optimise its machine learning-based classification algorithm that is capable of selecting high potential epitopes. The Laboratory for Molecular and Cellular Therapy (LMCT) of the University of Brussels (VUB) will develop high-throughput assays to validate the immunogenicity of SARS-CoV-2 epitopes that have been predicted to be specific and essential to SARS-CoV-2, conserved over different strains.
Thus, the overall objective is to reduce the time-frame and cost that is associated with immunogenicity screening of a vast amount of possible target peptides for Covid-19 prophylactic vaccination.