Support Options

  • Knowledge Base

    Find information on common questions and issues.

  • Support Messages

    Check on the status of your correspondences with members of the QUBES team.

Contact Us

About you
About the problem
Resource Image

Understanding COVID-19 Biology to Design a Vaccine

Author(s): Keith Johnson1, Didem Vardar-Ulu2, Shuchismita Dutta3

1. Bradley University College of Liberal Arts and Sciences 2. Boston University 3. RCSB Protein Data Bank, Rutgers University

727 total view(s), 615 download(s)

0 comment(s) (Post a comment)


The case presented here is written during the COVID-19 pandemic (Spring 2020) and uses this backdrop to introduce students to the initial stages of developing a vaccine against the SARS-CoV-2 virus, targeting its spike protein.  The viral protein binds to a specific human protein on human epithelial cells and this initiates the infection. The structure of the viral spike and human receptor protein interaction was  determined using cryo-electron microscopy by Yan et al (2020). Using the freely available molecular structural data and publicly available visualization software and bioinformatics tools and resources, the case leads students to examine the interaction of the viral spike (S) protein with the human epithelial cell ACE-2 protein, the site of viral attachment. The vaccine development discussed in this case is focused on blocking this interaction to stop infection.


Painting depicting coronavirus. (Acknowledgement: Illustration by David S. Goodsell, RCSB Protein Data Bank; doi: 10.2210/rcsb_pdb/goodsell-gallery-019.)

Cite this work

Researchers should cite this work as follows:


There are no comments on this resource.