Types of COVID-19 vaccines in development

Lolma. With all the hype about a possible vaccine recently, we felt it would be good to explain a little about the types of vaccine technologies, their mode of action and the which companies are releasing what types of COVID-19 vaccines.

Below are five types of vaccine technologies (Oroojalian et al., 2020):

Most of us are familiar annual flu vaccine and may know that it has historically be developed using live attenuated viruses. Fortunately, new technologies are being explored and utilized in developing an effective and safe vaccine during this pandemic.

Now let’s review what companies are using which technology in their latest vaccine development (Slaoui et al., 2020):

  • Pfizer and BioNTech – mRNA vaccine
  • Moderna – mRNA vaccine
  • AstraZeneca – Replication-defective live-vector
  • Johnson & Johnson – Replication-defective live-vector

It should be noted that the four vaccines mentioned above are in Phase III clinical trials and at least the one being developed by Pfizer/BioNTech should be available before the end of the month.


Oroojalian, F., Haghbin, A., Baradaran, B., Hemat, N., Shahbazi, M. A., Baghi, H. B., … & Hamblin, M. R. (2020). Novel insights into the treatment of SARS-CoV-2 infection: An overview of current clinical trials. International Journal of Biological Macromolecules.

Slaoui, M., & Hepburn, M. (2020). Developing safe and effective Covid vaccines—Operation Warp Speed’s strategy and approach. New England Journal of Medicine.