Scope of SARS-CoV-2 variants, mutations, and vaccine technologies.Egypt J Intern Med. 2022; 34(1):34.EJ
The COVID-19 pandemic is caused by the severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2). SARS-CoV-2 is disseminated by respiratory aerosols. The virus uses the spike protein to target epithelial cells by binding to the ACE2 receptor on the host cells. As a result, effective vaccines must target the viral spike glycoprotein. However, the appearance of an Omicron variant with 32 mutations in its spike protein raises questions about the vaccine's efficacy. Vaccines are critical in boosting immunity, lowering COVID-19-related illnesses, reducing the infectious burden on the healthcare system, and reducing economic loss, according to current data. An efficient vaccination campaign is projected to increase innate and adaptive immune responses, offering better protection against SARS-CoV-2 variants.
The presence of altered SARS-CoV-2 variants circulating around the world puts the effectiveness of vaccines already on the market at risk. The problem is made even worse by the Omicron variant, which has 32 mutations in its spike protein. Experts are currently examining the potential consequences of commercial vaccines on variants. However, there are worries about the vaccines' safety, the protection they provide, and whether future structural changes are required for these vaccines to be more effective. As a result of these concerns, new vaccines based on modern technology should be developed to guard against the growing SARS-CoV-2 variations.
The choice of a particular vaccine is influenced by several factors including mode of action, storage conditions, group of the vaccinee, immune response mounted, cost, dosage protocol, age, and side effects. Currently, seven SARS-CoV-2 vaccine platforms have been developed. This comprises of inactivated viruses, messenger RNA (mRNA), DNA vaccines, protein subunits, nonreplicating and replicating vector viral-like particles (VLP), and live attenuated vaccines. This review focuses on the SARS-CoV-2 mutations, variants of concern (VOCs), and advances in vaccine technologies.