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Tapping the immunological imprints to design chimeric SARS-CoV-2 vaccine for elderly population

  • Biswas, Asim1
  • Mandal, Rahul Subhra2
  • Chakraborty, Suparna3
  • Maiti, George
  • 1 Department of Ophthalmology, New York University Grossman School of Medicine, USA
  • 2 Department of Cancer Biology, Perelman School of Medicine, University of Pennsylvania, USA
  • 3 Division of Clinical Medicine, National Institute of Cholera and Enteric Diseases, India , (India)
Published Article
International Reviews of Immunology
Informa UK (Taylor & Francis)
Publication Date
May 12, 2021
DOI: 10.1080/08830185.2021.1925267
PMID: 33978550
PMCID: PMC8127164
PubMed Central
  • Review


The impact of SARS-CoV-2 and COVID-19 disease susceptibility varies depending on the age and health status of an individual. Currently, there are more than 140 COVID-19 vaccines under development. However, the challenge will be to induce an effective immune response in the elderly population. Analysis of B cell epitopes indicates the minor role of the stalk domain of spike protein in viral neutralization due to low surface accessibility. Nevertheless, the accumulation of mutations in the receptor-binding domain (RBD) might reduce the vaccine efficacy in all age groups. We also propose the concept of chimeric vaccines based on the co-expression of SARS-CoV-2 spike and influenza hemagglutinin (HA) and matrix protein 1 (M1) proteins to generate chimeric virus-like particles (VLP). This review discusses the possible approaches by which influenza-specific memory repertoire developed during the lifetime of the elderly populations can converge to mount an effective immune response against the SARS-CoV-2 spike protein with the possibilities of designing single vaccines for COVID-19 and influenza. Highlights Immunosenescence aggravates COVID-19 symptoms in elderly individuals. Low immunogenicity of SARS-CoV-2 vaccines in elderly population. Tapping the memory T and B cell repertoire in elderly can enhance vaccine efficiency. Chimeric vaccines can mount effective immune response against COVID-19 in elderly. Chimeric vaccines co-express SARS-CoV-2 spike and influenza HA and M1 proteins.

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