COVID-19 Vaccines

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Last reviewed
July 23, 2021

COVID-19 Vaccines

Globally, experimental COVID-19 vaccines include innovative platforms such as DNA, mRNA, virus-like particle, viral vector, recombinant protein, live attenuated virus, and inactivated virus approaches.  As of July 23, 2021, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) had Authorized three experimental COVID-19 vaccines for emergency use in the USA.

On December 11, 2020, the U.S. FDA Authorized the Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 Vaccine (Comirnaty). And on December 18, 2020, the FDA issued its second Authorization for the Massachusetts-based Moderna COVID-19 Vaccine (SpikeVax). The FDA issued a third Authorization for the Johnson and Johnson COVID-19 vaccine Janssen on February 27, 2021.

The FDA has not Approved these experimental vaccines as of July 21, 2021.

GAVI reported about (105) COVID-19 vaccine candidates undergoing clinical trials and (184) candidates in pre-clinical development. The World Health Organization updated its COVID-19 vaccine Listing on July 20, 2021. 


COVID-19 vaccines effectively prevent severe disease and hospitalizations due to COVID-19 disease, says the U.S. CDC. But it is still possible for a fully vaccinated person to become infected if exposed to the SARS-CoV-2 beta coronavirus.

The U.S. CDC confirmed on July 19, 2021, 'within the Vaccine Adverse Event Reporting System (VARS), 1,148 reports of myocarditis or pericarditis after mRNA vaccination. In addition, through follow-up, including medical record reviews, CDC and FDA have confirmed 674 reports of myocarditis or pericarditis. Most cases occurred after receiving a second dose of an mRNA vaccine, who were male.

Additionally, VAERS had received 6,207 reports of death (0.0018%) from people who received a COVID-19 vaccine. However, a review of available clinical information, including death certificates, autopsy, and medical records, has not established a causal link to COVID-19 vaccines, wrote the CDC.

Furthermore, as of July 14, 2021, the United Kingdom Medicines & Healthcare Regulatory Agency (MHRA) had received 460 Yellow Card reports of suspected adverse drug reactions to the Pfizer- BioNTech vaccine in which the patient died shortly after vaccination, 999 reports for the COVID-19 Vaccine AstraZeneca (Vaxzevria), and 7 for the COVID-19 Vaccine Moderna (SpikeVax). The majority of these Yellow Card reports in the UK were in older people or people with underlying illnesses. And the MHRA continues to monitor serious allergic reactions, Guillain-Barré Syndrome, and reports of myocarditis or pericarditis with the Pfizer/BioNTech vaccine, COVID-19 Vaccine Moderna, and the COVID-19 Vaccine AstraZeneca.

COVID-19 Vaccines: Global Authorizations (18)

COVID-19 Vaccine Moderna Intramuscular Injection - Japan's Ministry of Health, Labour, and Welfare granted special approval for a version of Moderna's COVID-19 vaccine.

Convidicea Vaccine - China-based CanSinoBIO's Convidicea (Ad5-nCoV) vaccine is a genetically engineered vaccine candidate with the replication-defective adenovirus type 5 as the vector to express SARS-CoV-2 spike protein. The vaccine candidate is built upon CanSinoBIO’s adenovirus-based viral vector vaccine technology platform.

CoronaVac Vaccine - China's Sinovac Biotech's CoronaVac Vaccine is based on an inactivated pathogen. The neutralizing antibody seroconversion rate is above 90%, which indicates the vaccine can induce a positive immune response. On January 10, 2021, the Indonesian FDA issued emergency authorization for Sinovac Biotech's CoronaVac vaccine.

CoviVac Russia Vaccine - Russia's third registered vaccine is a whole-virion vaccine that uses viruses that have been inactivated, developed by the Chumakov Center. CoviVac Russia vaccine includes all the elements of the virus.

Covaxin Vaccine - India-based Bharat Biotech's Covaxin is an inactivated SARS-CoV-2 vaccine candidate. The coronavirus strain was isolated from an asymptomatic COVID-19 patient at NIV, Pune, and was authorized in India effective January 3, 2021.

COVID-19 Vaccine AstraZeneca - UK-based AstraZeneca and the Oxford University co-developed Vaxzevria COVID-19 Vaccine (AZD1222) is made from the ChAdOx1 virus, a weakened version of a common cold virus (adenovirus). The Vaxzevria vaccine received the UK Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency authorization on December 30, 2020. 

Covishield Vaccine - The Serum Institute of India produced a separate version of the AstraZeneca COVID-19 vaccine. The WHO granted Emergency Use Listing to the COVISHIELD' ChAdOx1-S [recombinant] vaccine on February 15, 2021.

EpiVacCorona Vaccine  - Russia's Vektor State Research Center of Virology and Biotechnology developed the EpiVacCorona vaccine that relies on chemically synthesized peptide antigens of SARS-CoV-2 proteins, conjugated to a carrier protein and adsorbed on an aluminum-containing adjuvant (aluminum hydroxide).

COVID-19 Vaccine Janssen - Johnson and Johnson's Janssen Vaccines & Prevention B.V. investigational SARS-CoV-2 viral vector vaccine is an adenovirus serotype 26 (Ad26) vector-based vaccine.  The Janssen COVID-19 vaccine was authorized in the USA on February 27, 2021.

KCONVAC Vaccine - China media reported Shenzhen Kangtai Biological Products Co., Ltd., the vaccine developer, has received emergency use authorization in China.

Pfizer- BioNTech COVID-19 Vaccine - The Pfizer- BioNTech (Comirnaty) COVID-19 Vaccine is an mRNA vaccine that encodes an optimized SARS-CoV-2 full-length spike glycoprotein in a 2-dose (0, 21d) regimen.

Sinopharm COVID-19 Vaccine - Created by Wuhan Institute of Biological Products, under the China National Pharmaceutical Group, Sinopharm and the Wuhan Institute of Virology launched the BBIBP-CorV vaccine candidate in 2020. China's National Medical Products Administration issued authorization on December 31, 2020.

Shifa Pharmed Industrial Co -  COVID-19 Inactivated Vaccine authorized in Iran.

SpikeVax COVID-19 Vaccine - Massachusettes-based Moderna COVID-19 Vaccine SpikeVax is an mRNA vaccine candidate against the SARS-CoV-2 betacoronavirus encoding for a prefusion stabilized form Spike protein.

Sputnik V Vaccine - The Russian Sputnik V is a two-dose adenoviral-based vaccine against the SARS-CoV-2 coronavirus, which causes COVID019. Sputnik V deploys two different adenovirus vectors (rAd26 and rAd5) for the first and second vaccination, boosting its effect.

Sputnik Light Vaccine - The Sputnik Light vaccine is a single-dose adenoviral-based vaccine deploying adenovirus vectors rAd26, Approved by the Russian Federation on May 6, 2021.

ZF2001 COVID-19 Vaccine - China-based Anhui Zhifei Longcom Biopharmaceutical Co., Ltd. is a protein subunit vaccine using a dimeric form receptor-binding domain as the antigen, a harmless piece of the SARS-Cov-2 virus.

COVID-19 Vaccine Candidates in Clinical Trials

Vidprevtyn COVID-19 Adjuvanted Vaccine - Sanofi and GSK announced a global Phase 3 study launched on May 27, 2021. This study's positive results would lead to regulatory submissions in the second half of 2021.

Novavax COVID-19 Vaccine (NVX-CoV2373) is a prefusion protein subunit coronavirus vaccine candidate created using Novavax’s recombinant nanoparticle technology to generate antigen derived from the coronavirus spike protein and contains Novavax’ patented saponin-based Matrix-M™ adjuvant to enhance the immune response and stimulate high levels of neutralizing antibodies.

CVnCoV Vaccine - CureVac's CVnCoV is an mRNA vaccine candidate that utilizes nucleotides without chemical modifications in the mRNA.Instead,  CureVac's proprietary technology principle is mRNA as a data carrier to instruct the human body to produce its own proteins capable of fighting a wide range of diseases.

VLA2001 Vaccine - Valneva SE's VLA2001 is the only inactivated whole virus vaccine candidate targeting particles of SARS-CoV-2 with high S-protein density, combined with two adjuvants alum and CpG 1018. The phase 3 Cov-Compare (VLA2001-301) study is a randomized, observer-blind, controlled, comparative immunogenicity trial in approximately 4,000 adults compared to Vaxzevria.AG0301 Vaccine - AnGes, Inc.'s AG0301 DNA vaccine candidate against COVID-19 is a plasmid DNA vaccine encoding the SARS-CoV-2 spike protein that opens the door to infection. It is expected to prevent COVID-19 or the condition of COVID-19 patients from deteriorating. In addition, since the vaccine is engineered to express only the spikes on the viral surface, producing antibodies, it is nonpathogenic and safe.

CoVLP Vaccine - The GSK and Medicago collaboration developed a COVID-19 candidate vaccine combining Medicago’s recombinant Coronavirus Virus-Like Particles (CoVLP) with GSK’s pandemic adjuvant system. CoVLPs mimic the virus's structure responsible for COVID-19 disease, allowing them to recognize the immune system.

Soberana 02 COVID-19 Vaccine - Soberana 02 COVID-19 Cuba's vaccine candidate is a conjugate vaccine, in which the virus antigen, the receptor-binding domain (RBD), is chemically bound to the tetanus toxoid.

 INO-4800 Vaccine - Inovio's DNA medicines are composed of optimized DNA plasmids, small circles of double-stranded DNA synthesized or reorganized by a computer sequencing technology and designed to produce a specific immune response in the body.

ZyCoV-D COVID-19 Vaccine - Cadila Healthcare (Zydus Cadila) said it plans to submit the phase 3 data to the Drug Controller General of India.

CorbeVac Vaccine -  Biological E. Limited is based on classical vaccine technology of a protein antigen, SARS-CoV-2 Spike RBD, adsorbed to the adjuvant Alhydrogel (Alum), in combination with another approved adjuvant, CpG 1018.

UB-162 COVID-19 Vaccine - Dallas, TX-based COVAXX's UB-612 vaccine candidate, is specifically designed to allow for the inclusion and presentation of multiple epitopes to elicit both B-cell (antibody) and T-cell (cellular) responses without enhancing COVID-19 disease. 

Brilife VSV Coronavirus Vaccine Candidate - The Israel Institute for Biological Research Indiana vesiculovirus COVID-19 vaccine candidate BriLife's phase 2 study will expand to 960 people, with various dose levels, beginning December 2020.

S-Trimer (SCB-2019) COVID-19 Vaccine - The Sichuan 'Clover' Biopharmaceuticals S-Trimer (SCB-2019) recombinant subunit vaccine candidate has targeted the SARS-CoV-2 virus that causes COVID-19. The vaccine conducts a phase 1 clinical trial in Australia, testing different boosters provided by GSK and Dynavax. Clover's S-Trimer is a trimeric SARS-CoV-2 spike (S)-protein subunit vaccine candidate. A Phase 2/3 clinical trial has been registered but is not yet recruiting.

Vaxart COVID-19 Oral Vaccine

Vaxart's VXA-CoV2-1 vaccine candidate is based on an oral H1 flu tablet with positive clinical study results. Phase 1, an open-label, dose-ranging study, will be conducted in healthy adults ages 18 to 55. The study’s primary objective is to examine the safety and reactogenicity of 2-doses of the vaccine.

Beijing BBIBP-CorV COVID-19 Vaccine Candidate

A randomized, double-blind, placebo parallel controlled phase I/II clinical trial evaluates the new inactivated coronavirus vaccine (2019-CoV) (Vero cells) in healthy people aged 3 years and older.

EXG-5003 Vaccine

Elixirgen Therapeutics's EXG-5003 is a temperature-sensitive self-replicating RNA vaccine expressing the receptor-binding domain of the SARS-CoV-2 spike protein. EXG-5003 was optimized for intradermal injection with potential dose-sparing and safety benefits. Human clinical trials are expected to begin at Fujita Health University Hospital in Aichi, Japan, in Q1 2021.

hAd5-COVID-19 Vaccine

ImmunityBio hAd5 COVID-19 vaccine candidate targets the inner nucleocapsid and the outer spike protein, engineered to activate both T cells and antibodies against the SARS-CoV-2 coronavirus. Phase 1 study launched in California during October 2020.

Coronavirus Virus-Like Particle Vaccine

The Phase 1 trial of bacTRL-Spike™ Vaccine for Prevention of COVID-19 is being conducted in partnership with Nucleus Network in Brisbane, Australia. Preliminary data are anticipated in early 2021.

CoVepiT COVID-19 Vaccine Candidate

OSE Immunotherapeutics's CoVepiT is a prophylactic vaccine based on optimized epitopes selected to induce a lasting sentinel T lymphocyte immune response against SARS-CoV-2, the virus that causes COVID-19.

Coronavirus FAQs

Vaccination decisions during the COVID-19 pandemic should be discussed between patients and their healthcare providers, says the U.S. CDC. Furthermore, the updated CDC Frequently Asked Questions about COVID-19 Vaccination are found at this link.

Note: Content sources on this webpage include, but are not limited to, the WHO, the CDC, industry studies, and Precision Vax takes reasonable steps to verify the accuracy of the information presented in these landscape documents. The WHO does not make any (and hereby disclaims all) representations and warranties regarding the accuracy, completeness, fitness for a particular purpose (including any of the aforementioned purposes), quality, safety, efficacy, merchantability, and/or non-infringement of any information provided in these landscape documents and/or of any of the products referenced therein.

The content was Fact-Checked by Dr. Robert Carlson and other healthcare professionals.