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Table 1 Advantages and disadvantages of different vaccine platforms

From: Coronavirus vaccine development: from SARS and MERS to COVID-19

Vaccine platform Advantages Disadvantages Clinically approved examples
Whole inactivated virus vaccine Stronger immune response; Safer than live attenuated virus Potential epitope alteration by inactivation process Typhoid, Cholera, Hepatitis A virus, Plague, Rabies, Influenza, Polio (Salk)
Live attenuated virus vaccine Stronger immune response; Preservation of native antigen; Mimicking natural infection Risk of residual virulence, especially for immunocompromised people Measles, Mumps, Polio (Sabin), Rota virus, Yellow Fever, Bacillus Calmette–Guérin (BCG), Rubella, Varicella
Viral vector vaccine Stronger immune response; Preservation of native antigen; Mimicking natural infection More complicated manufacturing process; Risk of genomic integration; Response dampened by pre-existing immunity against vector Ebola virus
Subunit vaccine Safe and well-tolerated Lower immunogenicity; Requirement of adjuvant or conjugate to increase immunogenicity Pertussis, Influenza, Streptococcus pneumoniae, Haemophilus influenzae type b
Viral-like particle vaccine Safe and well-tolerated; mimicking native virus conformation Lower immunogenicity; More complicated manufacturing process Hepatitis B virus, Human Papillomavirus
DNA vaccine Safe and well-tolerated; Stable under room temperature; Highly adaptable to new pathogen; Native antigen expression Lower immunogenicity; Difficult administration route; Risk of genomic integration NA
RNA vaccine Safe and well-tolerated; Highly adaptable to new pathogen; Native antigen expression Lower immunogenicity; Requirement of low temperature storage and transportation; Potential risk of RNA-induced interferon response NA