The research on coronavirus vaccine has thrown up some questions on the time frame as well as on the efficacy of the cure once it is found. While many researchers and leaders believe that it will be a while before the COVID vaccine is found, many also believe that its potency might also be in question. Additionally, if the virus mutates, then the coronavirus vaccine in itself might be rendered powerless and would set the world back in its research. Recently Chief Executive Officer of Novartis said that a vaccine for coronavirus would not be ready before two years. "If everything goes as we hope, it will take 24 months before we have a vaccine," said Vas Narasimhan. Former FDA commissioner Scott Gottlieb said that a vaccine could take 12-18 months.
Nevertheless, a host of pharma companies from across the world have set forth to find a cure. Moderna, University of Oxford, Novavax, Pfizer, Sinovac, CanSino, Sanofi Pasteur, Inovio and Johnson and Johnson are some of the leading companies/universities with leading corona vaccine candidates.
The University of Oxford is conducting human trials for its vaccine candidate called ChAdOx1 nCoV-19 or Chaddox One. Researchers have already recruited up to 1,102 participants across labs in London, Bristol. Oxford and Southampton. A smaller group of volunteers would also receive two doses of the vaccine four weeks apart. All volunteers are between 18 and 55 years of age and have not been tested positive for coronavirus. They also need to not have taken part in an earlier adenoviral vaccine or any other coronavirus vaccine.
UK Business Secretary Alok Sharma said that if the vaccine is found, then 30 million people would receive it. However, he warned that there is no certainty that a vaccine would be developed.
In what might appear to be a drastic measure, World Health Organisation has said that well-designed human challenge studies could go far in finding a COVID vaccine. In human challenge studies, subjects are administered the vaccine and then are deliberately exposed to the virus. This, WHO said, is a "substantially faster" way of testing the efficacy of the coronavirus vaccine. While a controversial method, human challenge studies have been conducted successfully in the past.
Meanwhile in Canada, Justin Trudeau said that approval to conduct the first clinical trials has been given. The Canadian Center for Vaccinology at Dalhousie University has received the nod from Health Canada to begin clinical trials of the vaccine candidate. "If these vaccine trials are successful we could produce and distribute it here at home. Research and development take time, and must be done right, but this is encouraging news," said Trudeau. The National Research Council of Canada would work with the manufacturers of the vaccine so that it can be produced domestically.
In Israel, a Defence Ministry-run laboratory has successfully completed coronavirus vaccine trials on rodents. The Israel Institute for Biological Research would conduct more tests on other animals before moving on to human trials stage.
Moreover, tobacco company, British American Company, known for their cigarette Lucky Strike, claims to have developed a vaccine for coronavirus. It said that their candidate has shown positive immune response in pre-clinical trials. "We have committed funds to conduct these clinical trials, which could start as early as late June, pending the responses from relevant health bodies," said BAT. It is in touch with the United States Food and Drug Administration (FDA) and other government agencies across the world.