COVID-19, an emerging coronavirus infection: advances and prospects in designing and developing vaccines, immunotherapeutics, and therapeutics

Hum Vaccin Immunother. 2020 Jun 2;16(6):1232-1238. doi: 10.1080/21645515.2020.1735227. Epub 2020 Mar 18.


The novel coronavirus infection (COVID-19 or Coronavirus disease 2019) that emerged from Wuhan, Hubei province of China has spread to many countries worldwide. Efforts have been made to develop vaccines against human coronavirus (CoV) infections such as MERS and SARS in the past decades. However, to date, no licensed antiviral treatment or vaccine exists for MERS and SARS. Most of the efforts for developing CoV vaccines and drugs target the spike glycoprotein or S protein, the major inducer of neutralizing antibodies. Although a few candidates have shown efficacy in in vitro studies, not many have progressed to randomized animal or human trials, hence may have limited use to counter COVID-19 infection. This article highlights ongoing advances in designing vaccines and therapeutics to counter COVID-19 while also focusing on such experiences and advances as made with earlier SARS- and MERS-CoVs, which together could enable efforts to halt this emerging virus infection.

Keywords: COVID-19; Emerging coronavirus; drugs; therapeutics; vaccines.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Antiviral Agents / therapeutic use
  • COVID-19
  • COVID-19 Vaccines
  • Communicable Diseases, Emerging / virology*
  • Coronavirus Infections / drug therapy
  • Coronavirus Infections / epidemiology*
  • Coronavirus Infections / immunology
  • Coronavirus Infections / prevention & control
  • Coronavirus Infections / virology*
  • Global Health
  • Humans
  • Immunotherapy
  • Pandemics / prevention & control
  • Pneumonia, Viral / drug therapy
  • Pneumonia, Viral / epidemiology*
  • Pneumonia, Viral / prevention & control
  • Pneumonia, Viral / virology*
  • Viral Vaccines* / immunology
  • Viral Vaccines* / standards


  • Antiviral Agents
  • COVID-19 Vaccines
  • Viral Vaccines

Grants and funding

This letter compilation is written, analyzed and designed by its authors and required no substantial funding to be stated.