Innovations in Biotechnology and Medical Sciences

Reverse Vaccinology and its benefits


From UPSC perspective, the following things are important :

Prelims level: Reverse Vaccinology

Mains level: Coronovirus and the hunt for its vaccine

The Tamil Nadu Dr. MGR Medical University has developed a vaccine candidate against SARS-CoV-2 through ‘reverse vaccinology’.

A definition based prelims question can be expected on Reverse Vaccinology. Ex. Which of the following statements best describes ‘Reverse Vaccinology’?

Reverse Vaccinology

  • Reverse vaccinology is an improvement on vaccinology that employs applied bioinformatics.
  • The basic idea behind it is that an entire pathogenic genome can be screened using bioinformatics approaches to find genes.
  • Some traits that the genes are monitored for may indicate antigenicity.
  • Those genes are filtered for desirable attributes that would make good vaccine targets such as outer membrane proteins.
  • Once the candidates are identified, they are produced synthetically and are screened in animal models of the infection.
  • Since then, it has been used on several other bacterial vaccines.


  • Earlier researchers had to do a viral culture in the laboratory to develop a vaccine, and this was time-consuming.
  • The major advantage for reverse vaccinology is finding vaccine targets quickly and efficiently.
  • Traditional methods took decades to unravel pathogens and antigens, diseases and immunity
  • With ‘reverse vaccinology’ scientists know what molecules make the genomic sequence.

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