The number of cases of Coronavirus and death counts is mounting in all countries throughout the world. This puts increased pressure on research establishments and Biopharma companies to develop a coronavirus vaccine. However, the process and definitive results still remain elusive.
Different countries and world leaders have made varying statements about a possible vaccine. The UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson said that a vaccine may never develop and we need to prepare. US President Donald Trump said that he expects that a vaccine will be available towards the end of 2020.
Various companies are making claims that they are readying manufacturing capacities for the vaccine. Hence, we bring you a list of some of the top contenders that can make the world free from COVID-19.
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Top Candidates for the Coronavirus Vaccine
The WHO claims that 7 to 8 potential candidates for the Coronavirus Vaccine are already identified. However, it will still take months of time before these probable vaccines pass all scrutiny and human trials.
Moderna Therapeutics which is a US-based company is developing a vaccine. It will start phase 2 clinical trials of its and has already received clearance from the US FDA. Moderna finished phase 1 clinical trials of its probable vaccine mRNA-1273 in the Seattle area of Washington. 45 volunteers who were healthy were injected with the vaccine in a gap of 28 days. The vaccine through molecular directives causes human cells to produce virus proteins. This causes the human body to generate an immune response. Hence, a subsequent infection with Coronavirus is met with a stronger response. Phase 2 trials are performed on healthy volunteers again but they will be 600 in number. They will also factor in the age this time by taking two age groups. One between 18-55 years and the other over 55 years.
NVX-CoV2373 is a prospective vaccine developed by Novavax Inc. This Biotech firm is taking its vaccine to the human trails stage. 130 Australian volunteers will participate in these trials. Coalition for Epidemic Preparedness Innovation is funding Novavax’s research by providing $388 million. Hence, we can expect them to come up with speedy results of the vaccine.
Moderna has developed an RNA-based vaccine while INOVIO is making a DNA-based one. Coalition for Epidemic Preparedness Innovations is also funding this research with $6.9 million. The research is being done in INOVIO’s lab in San Diego. The phase 1 human trials on 40 volunteers who were healthy, have already been done. The rise of this vaccine candidate has been Meteoric. In just 83 days, it went from the first production to clinical trials. The last week in May will see the phase two trials being completed.INO-4800 vaccine candidate will be injected into 40 healthy Australian individuals. By the ending of June, the company will have the safety and efficacy reports of the vaccine. Then they will proceed with the further stages of clinical trials which are phase 2 and 3.
BNTECH and Pfizer vaccine
BNTECH is a German firm while Pfizer is a US-based company and they have teamed up to develop four RNA-based vaccines. BNT162 is an mRNA vaccine candidate that is undergoing clinical trials in Germany. US-based clinical trials might begin in July. 360 individuals are dosed with the four probable vaccines.
Johnson & Johnson vaccine
This company is working on a vaccine that is adenovirus-based. Phase 1 clinical trials will start in the month of September. Johnson & Johnson created quite a buzz when it claimed that it’s bumping up its production capacity for the vaccine. It aims to provide 1 billion doses of its own vaccine by the end of 2021. If the vaccine is approved, it will be available for use in case of emergencies by the starting of 2021.
WHO claims that the vaccine under testing by CanSino is a strong candidate. The Ad5-nCoV vaccine started trials in April and the trials will be over by December. Moreover, CanSino is already credited with coming up with a viable vaccine for Ebola.
This Chinese company is developing a vaccine that is one of the main contenders. It is currently under Phase 1 clinical trials and the first dosage has been given to volunteers. The PiCoVacc vaccine can induce antiviral antibodies in monkeys. When a high dose of this vaccine was injected in macaque monkeys, they didn’t suffer from COVID-19 infections. Another reason why Sinovac is of interest is that it was this company that came up with a vaccine for SARS.
The University of Oxford and AstraZeneca
Oxford University has collaborated with UK-based AstraZeneca. They developed the ChAdOx1 nCoV-19 vaccine candidate in just 3 months. Jenner Institute at Oxford University was the site of research. For this, a deteriorated version of adenovirus which causes the common cold is being used. Animal trials on monkeys are done and human trials will begin in April. Hence, by the middle of 2020, the vaccine should already be in late-stage trials.
Biomedical Advanced Research and Development Authority of the US is funding Sanofi’s research to find a vaccine. It is a French company that has partnered with GlaxoSmithKline Plc which is from the UK. They are using technology that already exists for influenza to come up with a Coronavirus vaccine. The vaccine candidate will enter trials in 2020’s second half. Sanofi accidentally kicked up a storm by saying that the US will have first access to its vaccine since they invested. They later clarified that it will be available throughout the world, after backlash.
The Coronavirus pandemic has left the world battered. Research agencies and Biopharma companies now have access to limitless funds and resources. This has sparked a race to see who will develop the best vaccine first. The company that manages to do this stands to earn billions of dollars. While this healthy competition can be a good thing, the resources and funds should not be squandered. Targeted investments to boos research should be made. This rush to make the first vaccine shouldn’t destroy the spirit of cooperation that is needed to fight the virus.