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Vaccines Overview

Last reviewed: July 12, 2021

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COVID-19 Vaccines with Peer-Reviewed Published Clinical Efficacy Data

Vaccine  Vaccine Platform Authorization Status Technology Administration Published Efficacy Data
Pfizer-BioNTech BNT162b2 mRNA Authorized in US mRNA encoding prefusion stabilized, membrane-anchored SARS-CoV-2 full-length spike protein 2 IM doses, 21 days apart Phase 3 and post-authorization

Moderna
mRNA-1273

mRNA

Authorized in US mRNA encoding prefusion stabilized SARS-CoV-2 spike protein with a transmembrane anchor and an intact S1–S2 cleavage site 2 IM doses, 28 days apart Phase 3 and post-authorization
Johnson & Johnson/Janssen
Ad26.COV2.S/JNJ-78436735

Viral Vector

Authorized in US Replication-incompetent human adenovirus 26 encoding full-length prefusion stabilized SARS-CoV-2 spike protein 1 IM dose Phase 3
University of Oxford and AstraZeneca
ChAdOx1/AZD1222

Viral Vector

Not authorized in US Replication-incompetent chimpanzee adenovirus (ChAdY25) encoding full-length SARS-CoV-2 spike protein, with a tissue plasminogen activator leader sequence 2 IM doses, 4-12 wks apart Phase 3 and post-authorization
Gamaleya Research Institute
Gam-COVID-Vac/Sputnik V

Viral Vector

Not authorized in US Replication-deficient human adenovirus 5 and adenovirus 26 encoding full-length SARS-CoV-2 spike protein (heterologous prime-boost) 2 IM doses, 21 days apart Phase 3
Novavax
NVX-CoV2373

Nanoparticle

Not authorized in US Synthetic nanoparticle coated with full-length prefusion stabilized SARS-CoV-2 spike protein trimers with Matrix-M1 (saponin-based) adjuvant 2 IM doses, 21 days apart

Phase 3; Phase 2b

 

Overview

Vaccination to prevent disease was first conceptualized in the late 18th century, and by the early 20th century vaccines for diseases including tuberculosis, yellow fever, and influenza had been developed (Plotkin, 2014). By 1980, vaccination had been used to eradicate smallpox globally — one of only two infectious diseases to date to be eliminated from the environment. Numerous vaccines are responsible for preventing millions of illnesses annually (Pardi, 2018).

Conventional vaccine types include the following:

  • Live-attenuated vaccines, such as the measles-mumps-rubella vaccine, contain attenuated (weakened) forms of an organism that causes a disease. This attenuated organism acts as an antigen and stimulates the body to create a robust antibody response.
  • Inactivated vaccines, including most influenza vaccines, contain a killed version of an organism that causes a disease. This killed form acts as an antigen and stimulates the body to create an antibody response.
  • Subunit, recombinant, polysaccharide and conjugate vaccines, such as pneumococcal vaccines, contain components of an organism which act as antigens and stimulate an antibody response. They do not contain the organism itself.
  • Toxoid vaccines, such as tetanus vaccine, contain a toxin made by an organism that causes a disease. The toxin acts as an antigen and stimulates an antibody response to specific parts of the organism, rather than the whole organism.

While conventional vaccines are critical in controlling disease, limitations include the time and materials required for production, difficulty with large-scale deployment and a reliance on the adaptive instead of innate immune response (which some infections may evade) (Pardi, 2018).

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