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Open Access Highly Accessed Research article

A highly conserved WDYPKCDRA epitope in the RNA directed RNA polymerase of human coronaviruses can be used as epitope-based universal vaccine design

Refat Sharmin and Abul Bashar Mir Md Khademul Islam*

Author Affiliations

Department of Genetic Engineering and Biotechnology, University of Dhaka, Science Complex Building, Dhaka 1000, Bangladesh

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BMC Bioinformatics 2014, 15:161  doi:10.1186/1471-2105-15-161

Published: 29 May 2014



Coronaviruses are the diverse group of RNA virus. From 1960, six strains of human coronaviruses have emerged that includes SARS-CoV and the recent infection by deadly MERS-CoV which is now going to cause another outbreak. Prevention of these viruses is urgent and a universal vaccine for all strain could be a promising solution in this circumstance. In this study we aimed to design an epitope based vaccine against all strain of human coronavirus.


Multiple sequence alignment (MSA) approach was employed among spike (S), membrane (M), enveloped (E) and nucleocapsid (N) protein and replicase polyprotein 1ab to identify which one is highly conserve in all coronaviruses strains. Next, we use various in silico tools to predict consensus immunogenic and conserved peptide. We found that conserved region is present only in the RNA directed RNA polymerase protein. In this protein we identified one epitope WDYPKCDRA is highly immunogenic and 100% conserved among all available human coronavirus strains.


Here we suggest in vivo study of our identified novel peptide antigen in RNA directed RNA polymerase protein for universal vaccine – which may be the way to prevent all human coronavirus disease.

Coronavirus; SARS-CoV; MERS-CoV; RNA directed RNA polymerase; Epitope; Universal vaccine