A review of COVID-19 vaccines in development: 6 months into the pandemic

Pan Afr Med J. 2020 Oct 5;37:124. doi: 10.11604/pamj.2020.37.124.24973. eCollection 2020.


The advent of the COVID-19 pandemic and the dynamics of its spread is unprecedented. Therefore, the need for a vaccine against the virus is huge. Researchers worldwide are working around the clock to find a vaccine. Experts estimate that a fast-tracked vaccine development process could speed a successful candidate to market in approximately 12-18 months. The objective of this review was to describe the coronavirus vaccines candidates in development and the important considerations. The review was conducted through a thematic analysis of the literature on COVID-19 vaccines in development. It only included data until the end of June 2020, 6 months after the emergence of the COVID-19. Different approaches are currently used to develop COVID-19 vaccines from traditional live-attenuated, inactivated, subunit vaccines, to more novel technologies such as DNA or mRNA vaccines. The race is on to find both medicines and vaccines for the COVID-19 pandemic. As with drugs, vaccine candidates go through pre-clinical testing first before they go through the three phases of clinical trials in humans. Of the over 130 vaccine candidates, 17 are in clinical trials while others are expected to move to clinical testing after the animal studies.

Keywords: COVID-19; Coronavirus; pandemic; vaccine development.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • COVID-19 / prevention & control*
  • COVID-19 Vaccines*
  • Clinical Trials as Topic
  • Drug Development*
  • Humans
  • Time Factors


  • COVID-19 Vaccines