Viral targets for vaccines against COVID-19

Nat Rev Immunol. 2021 Feb;21(2):73-82. doi: 10.1038/s41577-020-00480-0. Epub 2020 Dec 18.


Vaccines are urgently needed to control the coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) pandemic and to help the return to pre-pandemic normalcy. A great many vaccine candidates are being developed, several of which have completed late-stage clinical trials and are reporting positive results. In this Progress article, we discuss which viral elements are used in COVID-19 vaccine candidates, why they might act as good targets for the immune system and the implications for protective immunity.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Antigens, Viral / immunology*
  • COVID-19 / prevention & control*
  • COVID-19 / virology*
  • COVID-19 Vaccines / classification
  • COVID-19 Vaccines / immunology*
  • Host-Pathogen Interactions / immunology
  • Humans
  • Pandemics / prevention & control*
  • SARS-CoV-2 / immunology*
  • Viral Proteins / immunology


  • Antigens, Viral
  • COVID-19 Vaccines
  • Viral Proteins