Deciphering the immunopeptidomic landscape of COVID‑19 disease
Severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2) is the causative agent of coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19). Between December 2019 and September 2020, SARS-CoV-2 had infected more than 30M people and killed more than 1M. Ease of transmission combined with disease severity have led leaders around the world to restrict individual movements and promote physical distancing measures to limit the spread. Therefore, rapid delivery of safe and efficient vaccines against SARS-CoV-2 is the top priority. Importantly, the development of efficient vaccines can be accelerated by a clear understanding of the SARS-CoV-2 targets that are recognized by the human immune system. Until now, very limited information is available about those targets. In addition, SARS-CoV-2 is mutating as the pandemic persists, but it is unclear how those mutations influence the ability of the immune system to eliminate the virus. Here, we propose to deploy an innovative viral epitope discovery platform to identify those mutated and non-mutated targets in a rapid, systematic and unbiased manner. The proposed research will therefore assist vaccine design and will facilitate the evaluation of vaccine candidates as they advance in the clinic.