Covid-19: virology, variants, and vaccines

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Title: Covid-19: virology, variants, and vaccines
Authors: Young, M
Crook, H
Scott, J
Edison, P
Item Type: Journal Article
Abstract: As of 25 January 2022, over 349 million individuals have received a confirmed diagnosis of covid-19, with over 5.59 million confirmed deaths associated with the SARS-CoV-2 virus. The covid-19 pandemic has prompted an extensive global effort to study the molecular evolution of the virus and develop vaccines to prevent its spread. Although rigorous determination of SARS-CoV-2 infectivity remains elusive, owing to the continuous evolution of the virus, steps have been made to understand its genome, structure, and emerging genetic mutations. The SARS-CoV-2 genome is composed of several open reading frames and structural proteins, including the spike protein, which is essential for entry into host cells. As of 25 January 2022, the World Health Organization has reported five variants of concern, two variants of interest, and three variants under monitoring. Additional sublineages have since been identified, and are being monitored. The mutations harboured in these variants confer an increased transmissibility, severity of disease, and escape from neutralising antibodies compared with the primary strain. The current vaccine strategy, including booster doses, provides protection from severe disease. As of 24 January 2022, 33 vaccines have been approved for use in 197 countries. In this review, we discuss the genetics, structure, and transmission methods of SARS-CoV-2 and its variants, highlighting how mutations provide enhanced abilities to spread and inflict disease. This review also outlines the vaccines currently in use around the world, providing evidence for every vaccine's immunogenicity and effectiveness.
Issue Date: 11-Apr-2022
Date of Acceptance: 1-Mar-2022
DOI: 10.1136/bmjmed-2021-000040
ISSN: 2754-0413
Publisher: BMJ Publishing Group
Journal / Book Title: BMJ Medicine
Volume: 1
Issue: 1
Copyright Statement: © Author(s) (or their employer(s)) 2022. Re-use permitted under CC BY-NC. No commercial re-use. See rights and permissions. Published by BMJ. is an open access article distributed in accordance with the Creative Commons Attribution Non Commercial (CC BY-NC 4.0) license, which permits others to distribute, remix, adapt, build upon this work non-commercially, and license their derivative works on different terms, provided the original work is properly cited, appropriate credit is given, any changes made indicated, and the use is non-commercial. See:
Publication Status: Published
Conference Place: England
Article Number: ARTN e000040
Online Publication Date: 2022-04-11
Appears in Collections:Imperial College London COVID-19
Department of Brain Sciences

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