Nanoparticle and virus-like particle vaccine approaches against SARS-CoV-2

Chulwoo Kim, Jae Deog Kim, Sang Uk Seo

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

16 Citations (Scopus)


The global spread of coronavirus disease 2019 caused by severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2) infection has provoked an urgent need for prophylactic measures. Several innovative vaccine platforms have been introduced and billions of vaccine doses have been administered worldwide. To enable the creation of safer and more effective vaccines, additional platforms are under development. These include the use of nanoparticle (NP) and virus-like particle (VLP) technology. NP vaccines utilize self-assembling scaffold structures designed to load the entire spike protein or receptor-binding domain of SARS-CoV-2 in a trimeric configuration. In contrast, VLP vaccines are genetically modified recombinant viruses that are considered safe, as they are generally replication-defective. Furthermore, VLPs have indigenous immunogenic potential due to their microbial origin. Importantly, NP and VLP vaccines have shown stronger immunogenicity with greater protection by mimicking the physicochemical characteristics of SARS-CoV-2. The study of NP- and VLP-based coronavirus vaccines will help ensure the development of rapid-response technology against SARS-CoV-2 variants and future coronavirus pandemics.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)335-346
Number of pages12
JournalJournal of Microbiology
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - 2022 Mar

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
This research was supported by a Korea University Medicine grant (K2117111) to C.K. and the Bio & Medical Technology Development Program of the National Research Foundation (NRF) funded by the Ministry of Science & ICT (2021M3-E5E3080927) to S.-U.S.

Publisher Copyright:
© 2022, The Microbiological Society of Korea.


  • COVID-19
  • SARS-CoV-2
  • nanoparticle
  • vaccine
  • virus-like particle

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Microbiology
  • Applied Microbiology and Biotechnology


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