Indian Council of Medical Research (ICMR) has said that trials of corona vaccine would begin within six months in the country, while frontrunners Moderna and Novavax have made significant progress. Moderna is slated to enter Phase 2 of its clinical trials while Novavax has started Phase 1 of the clinical trials. However, experts still believe that the earliest a vaccine could be in hands is next year. Additionally, the race to fund a cure has reached its zenith. Japan has said that tests of drug Avigan would continue till June, while Glenmark plans to test combined effects of favipiravir and umifenovir in India. A study has alerted drugmakers of the side effects combining hydroxychloroquine and azithromycin could have on the patient.
Here are the latest updates on COVID-19 vaccine:
ICMR said that the human trials of COVID vaccine would begin within six months. As numbers increase exponentially in India, Dr Rajni Kant, Director Regional Medical Research Centre and Head at ICMR said that there is no need to worry about increase in numbers. "The virus strain isolated at the National Institute of Virology (NIV) laboratory in Pune will be used to develop the vaccine, and this strain has been successfully transferred to the Bharat Biotech International Ltd (BBIL). It is expected that the human trials of the vaccine will begin in at least six months," said Kant.
Moderna's RNA vaccine that is touted to be one of the frontrunners is all set to move to the second phase of clinical trials. The second phase is expected to be conducted in July. The first stage of clinical trials has been completed with encouraging results. At least eight of the subjects are said to have developed protective antibodies against the COVID virus.
Another company Novavax has begun the Phase 1 of clinical trials of COVID-19 vaccine, it said on Monday. Results of the trial are expected to be out in July. "Administering our vaccine in the first participants of this clinical trial is a significant achievement, bringing us one step closer toward addressing the fundamental need for a vaccine in the fight against the global Covid-19 pandemic," said CEO Stanley C Erck.
Japanese biopharmaceutical company AnGes Inc is set to begin the trial of its coronavirus vaccine in July, instead of September as estimated earlier. The vaccine has been developed by the firm along with Osaka University. If the effectiveness is proven then AnGes' vaccine candidate could be approved by the end of the year.
Glenmark Pharmaceuticals said that it would conduct clinical trials in India to test the effects of the combination of two anti-viral drugs favipiravir and umifenovir. The company said that the study will look to enroll 158 hospitalised patients suffering from moderate infections in India. Glenmark is already conducting clinical trials in India of just favipiravir as a potential treatment. The results are expected by July or August.
Meanwhile, tests for favipiravir that goes by the name Avigan will be continued till June. Japanese government said that research into Fujifilm's Avigan that was estimated to wrap up in May will be pushed to June. "The company will continue research into next month or so, and if an application for approval is received from the company, it will be promptly reviewed," Chief Cabinet Secretary Yoshihide Suga said at a regular briefing.
Meanwhile, a recent study by researchers from Stanford University and Vanderbilt University shows that combining hydroxychloroquine and azithromycin could be a potentially lethal combination. It could have a serious impact on the cardiovascular system, stated the study. The study compared cardiovascular adverse-drug-reactions in patients who received HCQ, azithromycin or a combination of the two.Also read: Coronavirus update: Moderna's COVID-19 vaccine shows positive results in early tests