SARS-CoV-2 variants and COVID-19 vaccines: Current challenges and future strategies

Wenping Gong, Seppo Parkkila, Xueqiong Wu, Ashok Aspatwar

Research output: Contribution to journalReview Articlepeer-review

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The ongoing COVID-19 pandemic caused by severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2) has become a global threat. Despite strict control measures implemented worldwide and immunization using novel vaccines, the pandemic continues to rage due to emergence of several variants of SARS-CoV-2 with increased transmission and immune escape. The rapid spread of variants of concern (VOC) in the recent past has created a massive challenge for the control of COVID-19 pandemic via the currently used vaccines. Vaccines that are safe and effective against the current and future variants of SARS-CoV-2 are essential in controlling the COVID-19 pandemic. Rapid production and massive rollout of next-generation vaccines against the variants are key steps to control the COVID-19 pandemic and to help us return to normality. Coordinated surveillance of SARS-CoV-2, rapid redesign of new vaccines and extensive vaccination are needed to counter the current SARS-CoV-2 variants and prevent the emergence of new variants. In this article, we review the latest information on the VOCs and variants of interest (VOIs) and present the information on the clinical trials that are underway on evaluating the effectiveness of COVID-19 vaccines on VOCs. We also discuss the current challenges posed by the VOCs in controlling the COVID-19 pandemic and future strategies to overcome the threat posed by the highly virulent and rapidly transmissible variants of SARS-CoV2.

Original languageEnglish
Publication statusE-pub ahead of print - 2022
Publication typeA2 Review article in a scientific journal


  • Bacillus Calmette-Guerin (BCG)
  • COVID-19
  • mutations
  • SARS-CoV-2
  • vaccines
  • variants

Publication forum classification

  • Publication forum level 1

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Immunology and Allergy
  • Immunology


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