NEC leverages AI to come up with COVID-19 vaccine blueprint

If ever there’s a time to for technology to come to the forefront, it’s now. Artificial intelligence (AI) has been around for decades, creating hope but delivering on few promises. The emergence of deep learning in recent years has changed that landscape. It has brought drawn more to invest in and work on AI with results to boot.

The latest may well be a global life-saver. NEC has leveraged AI to come up with blueprints for COVID-19 vaccines. Analysis results from efforts using AI prediction platforms have resulted in design blueprints for vaccines that can drive potent T-cell responses in the majority of the global population.

This initiative to help combat COVID-19 and support the development of personalised neoantigen cancer vaccines is led by NEC OncoImmunity (NOI) in collaboration with NEC Laboratories Europe (NLE).

The research team analysed thousands of sequences from the SARS-CoV-2 virus and identified epitopes (potential vaccine targets) for the 100 most frequent HLA alleles (diverse immunological makeup) in the global population.

NEC is now publishing this research to support scientific advancements in the field and is ready to start partnering efforts to pursue the development of an effective vaccine targeting the global population.

“In collaboration with companies and institutions around the world, we aim to enable people to live their daily lives with as much safety and security as possible,” said Motoo Nishihara, Executive Vice President and Chief Technology Officer of NEC.

Dr Trevor Clancy, Chief Scientific Officer of NEC OncoImmunity, is encouraged to see that the AI and bioinformatics platform can design vaccine blueprints that have the potential to induce a broad immune response, that may not only be protective for the global population, but also stimulate a long-lived memory immune responses against SARS-CoV-2 and its future mutated versions.

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