Scientists from the University of Manchester (UoM) have identified parts of the SARS-CoV-2 coronavirus that activate an immune response and which could act as targets forvaccine. The small scale study published in Annals of Rheumatic Diseases used new technology to analyze the total immune response in patients with dermatomyositis, a musculoskeletal disease and identified a link to lifetime exposure to coronavirus infection.
The team used a novel unbiased method to identify antibodies produced by the immune system against all types of infection that were unique or enriched in individuals with dermatomyositis, compared to healthy patients, during their lifetime.
In patients with autoimmune dermatomyositis, the UoM team identified three specific sections of the bat coronavirus proteins that stimulated an immune response that was highly similar to the human SARS-CoV-2 virus that causes COVID-19 disease. These sections may indicate SARS-CoV-2 targets for vaccine development against COVID-19.