Int J Biol Sci 2021; 17(6):1574-1580. doi:10.7150/ijbs.59184


Construction and applications of SARS-CoV-2 pseudoviruses: a mini review

Minghai Chen1, Xian-En Zhang2,1,✉

1. CAS Key Laboratory of Quantitative Engineering Biology, Shenzhen Institute of Synthetic Biology, Shenzhen Institutes of Advanced Technology, Chinese Academy of Sciences, Shenzhen 518055, China
2. National Laboratory of Biomacromolecules, CAS Center for Excellence in Biomacromolecules, Institute of Biophysics, Chinese Academy of Sciences, Beijing 100101, China

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Chen M, Zhang XE. Construction and applications of SARS-CoV-2 pseudoviruses: a mini review. Int J Biol Sci 2021; 17(6):1574-1580. doi:10.7150/ijbs.59184. Available from

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The ongoing coronavirus disease 2019 pandemic, caused by severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2), has posed a serious threat to global public health and social stability. There is an urgent need for understanding the nature and infection mechanism of the virus. Owing to its high infectivity and pathogenicity and lack of effective treatments, live SARS-CoV-2 has to be handled in biosafety level 3 laboratories, which has impeded research into SARS-CoV-2 and the development of vaccines and therapeutics. Pseudotyped viruses that lack certain gene sequences of the virulent virus are safer and can be investigated in biosafety level 2 laboratories, providing a useful virological tool for the study of SARS-CoV-2. In this review, we will discuss the construction of SARS-CoV-2 pseudoviruses based on different packaging systems, current applications, limitations, and further explorations.

Keywords: COVID-19, SARS-CoV-2, pseudovirus, spike protein, packaging system