Vaccines against COVID-19: Priority to mRNA-Based Formulations

Cells. 2021 Oct 11;10(10):2716. doi: 10.3390/cells10102716.


As of September 2021, twenty-one anti-COVID-19 vaccines have been approved in the world. Their utilization will expedite an end to the current pandemic. Besides the usual vaccine formats that include inactivated viruses (eight approved vaccines) and protein-based vaccines (four approved vaccines), three new formats have been validated: recombinant adenovirus (six approved vaccines), DNA (one approved vaccine), and messenger RNA (mRNA, two approved vaccines). The latter was the fastest (authorized in 2020 in the EU, the USA, and Switzerland). Most Western countries have reserved or use the protein vaccines, the adenovirus vaccines, and mRNA vaccines. I describe here the different vaccine formats in the context of COVID-19, detail the three formats that are chiefly reserved or used in Europe, Canada, and the USA, and discuss why the mRNA vaccines appear to be the superior format.

Keywords: SARS-CoV-2; adenovirus; mRNA; protein; spike; vaccine.

Publication types

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

MeSH terms

  • Adenoviridae / genetics
  • Animals
  • COVID-19 / prevention & control*
  • COVID-19 Vaccines / immunology*
  • Canada
  • DNA / genetics
  • Drug Approval
  • Europe
  • Humans
  • Mice
  • Patient Safety
  • RNA, Messenger*
  • SARS-CoV-2*
  • Spike Glycoprotein, Coronavirus / genetics*
  • United States


  • COVID-19 Vaccines
  • RNA, Messenger
  • Spike Glycoprotein, Coronavirus
  • spike protein, SARS-CoV-2
  • DNA