SARS-CoV-2 vaccines: 'Warp Speed' needs mind melds not warped minds

J Virol. 2020 Jun 26;JVI.01083-20. doi: 10.1128/JVI.01083-20. Online ahead of print.


In this review, we address issues that relate to the rapid "Warp Speed" development of vaccines to counter the COVID-19 pandemic. We review the antibody response that is triggered by SARS-CoV-2 infection of humans, and how it may inform vaccine research. The isolation and properties of neutralizing monoclonal antibodies from COVID-19 patients provide additional information on what vaccines should try to elicit. The nature and longevity of the antibody response to coronaviruses are relevant to the potency and duration of vaccine-induced immunity. We summarize the immunogenicity of leading vaccine candidates tested to date in animals and humans, and discuss the outcome and interpretation of virus-challenge experiments in animals. By far the most immunogenic vaccine candidates for antibody responses are recombinant proteins, which are not included in the initial wave of "Warp Speed" immunogens. A substantial concern for SARS-CoV-2 vaccines is adverse events, which we review by considering what was seen in studies of SARS-CoV-1 and MERS-CoV vaccines. We conclude by outlining the possible outcomes of the "Warp Speed" vaccine program, which range from the hoped-for rapid success to a catastrophic adverse influence on vaccine uptake generally.

Publication types

  • Review