There are 5 main approaches being taken to develop a vaccine against the coronavirus employing different technologies and methods. It is important to remember than any vaccine does require clinical trials to be completed before it can be licensed for general public use. The World Health Organization (WHO) hopes that a vaccine will be available by October 2021. In this blog we run through what we know about Coronavirus vaccine and the latest information available on it.

This length of time is important to determine how strong the immune response needs to be; predict how long the vaccine may provide immunity and if there may be any adverse reactions or side effects.

The 5 areas are:

  1. Viral vector vaccines (estimated date of first human trials- June 2020) – these work by adding a different virus onto a gene in place of the coronavirus that is carried into the host cell, reducing the ability of infecting virus to replicate within the host cell.
  2. DNA vaccines (estimated date of first human trials – April 2020)- these involve disrupting the coronavirus surface protein gene (which allows entry through the cell wall of the host cell). By its action it reduces the levels of viral replication material that can be produced within the infected cell.
  3. RNA vaccines (first human trials – March 2020)- these previous vaccines focus on reducing the entry process into the host cell. The RNA vaccines work within the host cell by reducing the amount of viral material that is produced which can cause replication and further infection by the virus.
  4. Live-attenuated vaccines (estimated date of first human trials- August 2020) – this type of vaccine has been widely used in other infections previously. In this case the vaccine stimulates the body to produce defensive antibodies that reduce a future infection.
  5. Protein-based vaccines (estimated date of first human trials- June 2020)- these vaccines work by adding the coronavirus surface protein to an inert carrier which provides an increased response to the viral protein that in turn produces more antibodies.

Coronavirus vaccine – latest information

coronavirus vaccine

There are over 120 vaccines that have been proposed globally; of these, 7 are in clinical trials with a further 70 in pre-clinical evaluation. The WHO vaccine solidarity trial is designed to rapidly deploy and assess vaccines in areas with high transmission. The results from each vaccine are expected within 3-6 months and when combined with safety data will provide evidence for wider scale trials.

Find out more about the coronavirus facts and myths in this blog.


The Race to Stop Covid-19- The Pharmaceutical Journal, March 202; no 7935, Volume 34 p169-169. Available at:

COVID-19 vaccine-

World Health Organization (WHO)-

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