When will a coronavirus vaccine be ready? That is perhaps one of the most pertinent questions right now. While most experts seem to believe that a COVID vaccine could only be available by mid-2021, some are still optimistic for some positive news by the end of this year. For instance, analyst Goldman Sachs believes that a coronavirus vaccine could be approved by the end of the year. According to Goldman, chances of success in 2020 is enhanced by multiple vaccine programmes currently under trial -- Moderna, Pfizer-BioNTech, Oxford University-AstraZeneca, Inovio Pharma and Sinovac. Goldman Sach's forecast predicts Moderna and Pfizer's coronavirus vaccine candidates to be the first ones to pass regulatory hurdles. It said that multiple COVID vaccines would be required to treat the global population.
Here are the latest coronavirus vaccine updates:
Bharat Biotech: The company on Friday announced that Phase I clinical trials have been initiated on 15 July for "India's first Indigenous COVID-19 vaccine, COVAXIN." This is a randomised, double-blind, placebo-controlled clinical trial in 375 volunteers in India, the company said. It further puts the estimated duration of trials as one year and three months. Experts believe that it may be reasonable to assume that the company's COVID vaccine would be ready in 2021. Bharat Biotech said that "the study is designed to evaluate the safety, reactogenicity, tolerability, and immunogenicity of three groups of healthy volunteers who receive two intramuscular doses of BBV152 vaccine formulations."
Zydus Cadila: Company Pankaj Patel said that they expect the coronavirus vaccine candidate to be out in the market by March. "We are looking at about seven or a little more than seven months for the vaccine, provided the data is encouraging and the vaccine is proven to be effective during the trials. We are also open to discussing partnerships with pharma companies in various geographies, but it is a bit premature right now, and we will be doing so at the end of Phase 1 and 2 trials," he said.
Serum Institute of India-Oxford University: CEO Adar Poonawalla said that the manufacturer aims to produce millions of doses in the next three months. In an interview to Indian Express, Poonawall said, "I cannot comment on the amount of doses we have made so far, but we plan to make millions of doses over the next three months after we get the manufacturing license. We have committed hundreds of millions of dollars in Capex and Opex to start producing the vaccine." Poonawalla said that it will be long before everyone gets a dose of the vaccine due to the number of doses required per person. He also said that there is no guarantee that the first coronavirus vaccine would be the best one.
Meanwhile, David Carpenter, Chairman of the Berkshire Research Ethics Committee said that the Oxford University vaccine team is 'absolutely on the right track'. "Nobody can put final dates... things might go wrong but the reality is that by working with a big pharma company, that vaccine could be fairly widely available around September and that is the sort of target they are working on," he said.
Serum Institute of India would manufacture the Oxford University COVID vaccine candidate. Oxford is collaborating with AstraZeneca for the vaccine.
BioNTech: China will begin conducting tests for the German company's COVID-19 vaccine candidate. China's National Medical Products Administration (NMPA) accepted an application submitted by Shanghai Fosun Pharmaceutical's unit Fosun Pharmaceutical Industrial for the trials. The candidate is already undergoing trials in Germany and the US.
The European Union is negotiating advance purchase deals of COVID-19 vaccines with drugmakers Moderna, Sanofi and Johnson & Johnson and biotech firms BioNtech and CureVac. The EU plans to purchase 400 million doses for all 27 EU nations.