Developing an Epitope-Based Peptide Vaccine for the Hepatitis C Virus Using an in Silico Approach


A vaccine has still not been found for the hepatitis C virus (HCV) and the number of global cases of HCV is still high. The development of HCV vaccines is challenging due to the complex genetic diversity of the virus. Epitope-based vaccine design using in silico computational methods is an effective strategy that could lead to the development of vaccines with the ability to induce the required immunogenicity without the emergence of cytokine storms or immune tolerance. This study aimed to find an epitope candidate from the HCV E2 protein which has potential as a peptide vaccine. The research was observational descriptive and was carried out in silico on an HCV vaccine candidate. The software used was MEGA X, IEDB, VaxiJen 2.0, BLASTp. 3 conserved regions were obtained from 10 countries, namely VCGPVYCFTPSPVVVGTTD, CPTDCFRK, and YRLWHYPCT. The sequences between these countries still have phylogenetic relationships, even though they are in different branches, showing the evolution of the HCV subtypes. The VYCFTPSPVVVGTTD epitope became the candidate for the development of a peptide vaccine because of its antigenicity score and its ability to be used for effective epitope-based vaccines. This HCV vaccine candidate epitope does not cause an autoimmune response because it has been confirmed to be using BLASTp with the result that it shares no similarity with human cell surface proteins.

Keywords: vaccines, peptides, epitope, hepatitis C virus, in silico

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