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The SARS-CoV-2 Vaccine Pipeline: an Overview.


The goal of this review is to provide a timely overview on efforts to develop a vaccine for the 2019 novel coronavirus SARS-CoV-2, the causative agent of coronavirus disease (COVID-19). Previous research efforts to develop a severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus (SARS-CoV) vaccine in the years following the 2003 pandemic have opened the door for investigators to design vaccine concepts and approaches for the COVID-19 epidemic in China. Both SARS-CoV and SARS-CoV-2 exhibit a high degree of genetic similarity and bind to the same host cell ACE2 receptor. Based on previous experience with SARS-CoV vaccines, it is expected that all COVID-19 vaccines will require careful safety evaluations for immunopotentiation that could lead to increased infectivity or eosinophilic infiltration. Besides this, a COVID-19 vaccine target product profile must address vaccinating at-risk human populations including frontline healthcare workers, individuals over the age of 60, and those with underlying and debilitating chronic conditions. Among the vaccine technologies under evaluation are whole virus vaccines, recombinant protein subunit vaccines, and nucleic acid vaccines. Each current vaccine strategy has distinct advantages and disadvantages. Therefore, it is paramount that multiple strategies be advanced quickly and then evaluated for safety and efficacy. Ultimately, the safety studies to minimize undesired immunopotentiation will become the most significant bottleneck in terms of time. © Springer Nature Switzerland AG 2020.