Available COVID-19 vaccine platforms: A roadmap to eclipsing the SARS-CoV-2 viral saga


  • Nancy El Beayni AUBMC
  • George Araj
  • Abdul Rahman Bizri
  • Najwa Khuri
  • Asem Shehabi




COVID-19, Novel Vaccine, Platforms, Antibodies, SARS-CoV-2 Immunity


The coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) have devastated the globe and continues to be a protracted saga. In the absence of specific efficacious medical remedies, efforts to encounter and contain this emerging virus concentrated on vaccine production. A plethora of novel vaccines has been under development by major companies in different countries. To date, around 60 vaccines are in clinical trials with many other ones continuously added to the evolving pipeline. The variety in their corresponding designed platform and phases, warrants to tackle and understand what is being presented in the literature and launched in the market. 

Thus, this study is intended to enlighten and educate the medical community by reviewing the different vaccine platforms, and briefly explaining their mechanism of action with an emphasis on those that reached most advanced stages.


Chan JF, Kok KH, Zhu Z, Chu H, To KK, Yuan S, Yuen KY.

Genomic characterization of the 2019 novel human-pathogenic

coronavirus isolated from a patient with atypical pneumonia

after visiting Wuhan. Emerg Microbes Infect. 2020; 9(1):221-

doi: 10.1080/22221751.2020.1719902. Erratum in: Emerg

Microbes Infect 2020; 9(1):540. PMID: 31987001.

Scerri M, Grech V. To wear or not to wear? Adherence to

face mask use during the COVID-19 and Spanish influenza

pandemics. Early Hum Dev 2020:105253. doi: 10.1016/j.

earlhumdev.2020.105253. Epub ahead of print. PMID:

Jeyanathan M, Afkhami S, Smaill F, Miller MS, Lichty BD, Xing Z.

Immunological considerations for COVID-19 vaccine strategies.

Nat Rev Immunol 2020; 20(10):615-632. doi: 10.1038/s41577-

-00434-6. Epub 2020 Sep 4. PMID: 32887954.

Buchholz UJ, Bukreyev A, Yang L, Lamirande EW, Murphy BR,

Subbarao K, Collins PL. Contributions of the structural proteins

of severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus to protective

immunity. Proc Natl AcadSci U S A 2004; 101(26):9804-9.

doi: 10.1073/pnas.0403492101. Epub 2004 Jun 21. PMID:

Lan J, Ge J, Yu J, Shan S, Zhou H, Fan S, Zhang Q, Shi X,

Wang Q, Zhang L, Wang X. Structure of the SARS-CoV-2 spike

receptor-binding domain bound to the ACE2 receptor. Nature

; 581(7807):215-220. doi: 10.1038/s41586-020-2180-5.

Epub 2020 Mar 30. PMID: 32225176.

McAndrews KM, Dowlatshahi DP, Dai J, Becker LM, Hensel J,

Snowden LM, Leveille JM, Brunner MR, Holden KW, Hopkins

NS, Harris AM, Kumpati J, Whitt MA, Lee JJ, Ostrosky-Zeichner

LL, Papanna R, LeBleu VS, Allison JP, Kalluri R. Heterogeneous

antibodies against SARS-CoV-2 spike receptor binding domain

and nucleocapsid with implications for COVID-19 immunity. JCI

Insight. 2020; 5(18):e142386. doi: 10.1172/jci.insight.142386.

PMID: 32796155.

Remy KE, Mazer M, Striker DA, Ellebedy AH, Walton AH,

Unsinger J, Blood TM, Mudd PA, Yi DJ, Mannion DA, Osborne

DF, Martin RS, Anand NJ, Bosanquet JP, Blood J, Drewry

AM, Caldwell CC, Turnbull IR, Brakenridge SC, Moldwawer

LL, Hotchkiss RS. Severe immunosuppression and not a

cytokine storm characterizes COVID-19 infections. JCI Insight.

; 5(17):e140329. doi: 10.1172/jci.insight.140329. PMID:

Araj GF, Beaini M, Bizri NA, & Ghizzawi L. Testing for COVID-19:

When, who, and what test? J Med Liban 2020; 68 (1-2): 16-26.

Ripperger TJ, Uhrlaub JL, Watanabe M, Wong R, Castaneda Y,

Pizzato HA, Thompson MR, Bradshaw C, Weinkauf CC, Bime

C, Erickson HL, Knox K, Bixby B, Parthasarathy S, Chaudhary

S, Natt B, Cristan E, El Aini T, Rischard F, Campion J, Chopra

M, Insel M, Sam A, Knepler JL, Capaldi AP, Spier CM, Dake

MD, Edwards T, Kaplan ME, Scott SJ, Hypes C, Mosier J, Harris

DT, LaFleur BJ, Sprissler R, Nikolich-Žugich J, Bhattacharya D.

Orthogonal SARS-CoV-2 Serological Assays Enable Surveillance

of Low-Prevalence Communities and Reveal Durable Humoral

Immunity. Immunity 2020; 53(5):925-933.e4. doi: 10.1016/j.

immuni.2020.10.004. Epub 2020 Oct 14. PMID: 33129373.

Yang J, Zheng Y, Gou X, Pu K, Chen Z, Guo Q, Ji R, Wang H,

Wang Y, Zhou Y. Prevalence of comorbidities and its effects

in patients infected with SARS-CoV-2: a systematic review and

meta-analysis. Int J Infect Dis 2020; 94:91-95. doi: 10.1016/j.

ijid.2020.03.017. Epub 2020 Mar 12. PMID: 32173574.

Dan J, Mateus J, Kato Y, Hastie KM, Yu ED, Faliti CE, Grifoni

A, Ramirez SI, Haupt S, Frazier A, Nakao C, Rayaprolu V,

Rawlings SA, Peters B, Krammer F, Simon V, Saphire EO, Smith

DM, Weiskopf D, Sette A, Crotty S. Immunological memory

to SARS-CoV-2 assessed for up to 8 months after infection.

Science 2021:eabf4063. doi: 10.1126/science.abf4063. Epub

ahead of print. PMID: 33408181

Blanco-Melo D, Nilsson-Payant BE, Liu WC, Uhl S, Hoagland

D, Møller R, Jordan TX, Oishi K, Panis M, Sachs D, Wang TT,

Schwartz RE, Lim JK, Albrecht RA, tenOever BR. Imbalanced

Host Response to SARS-CoV-2 Drives Development of

COVID-19. Cell 2020; 181(5):1036-1045.e9. doi: 10.1016/j.

cell.2020.04.026. Epub 2020 May 15. PMID: 32416070.

Arunachalam PS, Charles TP, Joag V, Bollimpelli VS, Scott

MKD, Wimmers F, Burton SL, Labranche CC, Petitdemange C,

Gangadhara S, Styles TM, Quarnstrom CF, Walter KA, Ketas

TJ, Legere T, Jagadeesh Reddy PB, Kasturi SP, Tsai A, Yeung BZ,

Gupta S, Tomai M, Vasilakos J, Shaw GM, Kang CY, Moore JP,

Subramaniam S, Khatri P, Montefiori D, Kozlowski PA, Derdeyn

CA, Hunter E, Masopust D, Amara RR, Pulendran B. T cellinducing

vaccine durably prevents mucosal SHIV infection

even with lower neutralizing antibody titers. Nat Med 2020;

(6):932-940. doi: 10.1038/s41591-020-0858-8. Epub 2020

May 11. PMID: 32393800.

Lurie N, Saville M, Hatchett R, Halton J. Developing COVID-19

Vaccines at Pandemic Speed. N Engl J Med 2020; 382(21):1969-

doi: 10.1056/NEJMp2005630. Epub 2020 Mar 30. PMID:

WHO track link: https://www.who.int/publications/m/item/

draft-landscape-of-COVID-19-candidate-vaccines. Accessed on

December 25 , 2020.

Humphreys IR, Sebastian S. Novel viral vectors in infectious

diseases. Immunology 2018; 153(1):1-9. doi: 10.1111/imm.12829.

Epub 2017 Sep 26. PMID: 28869761.

Xiang Z, Li Y, Cun A, Yang W, Ellenberg S, Switzer WM, Kalish

ML, Ertl HC. Chimpanzee adenovirus antibodies in humans,

sub-Saharan Africa. Emerg Infect Dis 2006; (10):1596-9. doi:

3201/eid1210.060078. PMID: 17176582.

Kaur SP, Gupta V. COVID-19 Vaccine: A comprehensive

status report. Virus Res 2020; 288:198114. doi: 10.1016/j.

virusres.2020.198114. Epub 2020 Aug 13. PMID: 32800805.

Zhang C, Maruggi G, Shan H, Li J. Advances in mRNA Vaccines

for Infectious Diseases. Front Immunol 2019; 10:594. doi:

3389/fimmu.2019.00594. PMID: 30972078.

Jackson LA, Roberts PC, Graham BS. A SARS-CoV-2 mRNA

Vaccine - Preliminary Report. Reply. N Engl J Med 2020;

(12):1191-1192. doi: 10.1056/NEJMc2026616. Epub 2020

Aug 19. PMID: 32813942.

Murdin AD, Barreto L, Plotkin S. Inactivated poliovirus vaccine:

past and present experience. Vaccine 1996; (8):735-46. doi:

1016/0264-410x(95)00211-i. PMID: 8817819.

Donaldson B, Lateef Z, Walker GF, Young SL, Ward VK. Viruslike

particle vaccines: immunology and formulation for clinical

translation. Expert Rev Vaccines 2018; 7(9):833-849. doi:

1080/14760584.2018.1516552. Epub 2018 Sep 19. PMID:

Lu X, Chen Y, Bai B, Hu H, Tao L, Yang J, Chen J, Chen Z, Hu

Z, Wang H. Immune responses against severe acute respiratory

syndrome coronavirus induced by virus-like particles in mice.

Immunology 2007; 122(4):496-502. doi: 10.1111/j.1365-

2007.02676.x. Epub 2007 Aug 3. PMID: 17680799.

Plotkin S. History of vaccination. Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A 2014;

(34):12283-7. doi: 10.1073/pnas.1400472111. Epub 2014

Aug 18. PMID: 25136134.

Jimenez-Guardeño JM, Regla-Nava JA, Nieto-Torres JL, DeDiego

ML, Castaño-Rodriguez C, Fernandez-Delgado R, Perlman S,

Enjuanes L. Identification of the Mechanisms Causing Reversion

to Virulence in an Attenuated SARS-CoV for the Design of a

Genetically Stable Vaccine. PLoS Pathog 2015; 11(10):e1005215.

doi: 10.1371/journal.ppat.1005215. PMID: 26513244.