Genomic variation, origin tracing, and vaccine development of SARS-CoV-2: A systematic review

Tianbao Li, Tao Huang, Cheng Guo, Ailan Wang, Xiaoli Shi, Xiaofei Mo, Qingqing Lu, Jing Sun, Tingting Hui, Geng Tian, Leyi Wang, Jialiang Yang

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

45 Scopus citations


COVID-19 has spread globally to over 200 countries with more than 40 million confirmed cases and one million deaths as of November 1, 2020. The SARS-CoV-2 virus, leading to COVID-19, shows extremely high rates of infectivity and replication, and can result in pneumonia, acute respiratory distress, or even mortality. SARS-CoV-2 has been found to continue to rapidly evolve, with several genomic variants emerging in different regions throughout the world. In addition, despite intensive study of the spike protein, its origin, and molecular mechanisms in mediating host invasion are still only partially resolved. Finally, the repertoire of drugs for COVID-19 treatment is still limited, with several candidates still under clinical trial and no effective therapeutic yet reported. Although vaccines based on either DNA/mRNA or protein have been deployed, their efficacy against emerging variants requires ongoing study, with multivalent vaccines supplanting the first-generation vaccines due to their low efficacy against new strains. Here, we provide a systematic review of studies on the epidemiology, immunological pathogenesis, molecular mechanisms, and structural biology, as well as approaches for drug or vaccine development for SARS-CoV-2.

Original languageEnglish
Article number100116
Issue number2
StatePublished - 28 May 2021
Externally publishedYes


  • COVID-19
  • SARS-CoV-2
  • SARS-CoV-2 vaccine
  • infection mechanism
  • origin tracing


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