Coronavirus vaccine updates: Researchers from several countries have received the green signal from competent authorities to go ahead with clinical trials, while some have even advanced to human clinical trials. Not only COVID vaccines, researchers have made significant strides on corona drugs as well. Along with contenders like Remdesivir, there's now Dexamethasone that has proven to reduce deaths by one-third. On the other hand, the World Health Organisation has stopped the tests of malaria drug hydroxychloroquine for the treatment of coronavirus patients.
Here are the updates from across the world on development of coronavirus vaccine and drug:
Germany's CureVac AG has received approval from the government to conduct human trials. The coronavirus vaccine candidate would first be tested on 168 healthy people according to the government. The German company said that the COVID-19 vaccine could be on the market by mid-2021. Klaus Cichutek, President of German vaccine regulator PEI said during a joint conference that the company might be able to apply for approval by early next year.
Russian Health Ministry has said that trials for corona vaccine have begun in the country. Moscow-based Gamaleya Scientific Research Institute of Epidemiology has developed two forms of COVID vaccine -- liquid and powder -- that will now be tested on two groups of volunteers. The trials will take around 1.5 months. The volunteers will get two doses of the vaccine candidate at an interval of 21 days. The volunteers will be isolated in two hospitals in Moscow. "It's not a trial. It's self-defense in order for us to continue working (on the vaccine). Losing a staffer (to the virus) would delay the work. Knowing what they're developing, they consciously took this step. And so did I," said Professor Gintsburg.
UK has begun human trials to test the safety and efficacy of the coronavirus vaccine. "From a scientific perspective, new technologies mean we have been able to get moving on a potential vaccine with unprecedented speed. We've been able to produce a vaccine from scratch and take it to human trials in just a few months - from code to candidate - which has never been done before with this type of vaccine. If our approach works and the vaccine provides effective protection against disease, it could revolutionise how we respond to disease outbreaks in future," said Professor Robin Shattock, from the Department of Infectious Disease at Imperial who is leading the work.
Singapore scientists have said that they have discovered five antibodies that can block coronavirus and protect against the key mutations developed in the virus, as mentioned by the Defence Science Organisation (DSO). Human trials for the lead antibody AOD01 will begin soon.
Steroid Dexamethasone used to treat inflammation, can reduce death up to one-third in hospitalised patients with severe respiratory complications of COVID-19. The RECOVERY (Randomised Evaluation of COVid-19 thERapY) trial, initiated by the University of Oxford and funded by many agencies showed the drug reduced deaths by one-third in ventilated patients (rate ratio - 0.65), and by one-fifth in other patients receiving oxygen only (0.80). There was no benefit among those patients who did not require respiratory support (1.22).
According to reports Remdesivir would be available in the market by the end of this month. The Drug Controller General of India or DCGI had recently approved the drug for "restricted emergency use" on hospitalised coronavirus patients who are severely ill.
Meanwhile, the WHO has said that testing of hydroxychloroquine in its large multi-country trial had been halted after new data and studies showed no benefit. WHO expert Ana Maria Henao-Restrepo said, "After deliberation, they have concluded that the hydroxychloroquine arm will be stopped from the Solidarity Trial." WHO said the decision was based on evidence from the Solidarity Trial as well as from a UK-led trial.