COVID-19 pandemic has thrown open a daunting challenge in front of researchers and scientists to relentlessly work towards discovering a viable vaccine at the earliest in the wake of rising cases across the world. According to the World Health Organisation (WHO), currently, around 140 vaccines are in different stages of development around the world, while 16 vaccine candidates have entered the last stage of clinical trials.
Of these 16 candidates, five are being studied in China, three in the US, two in the UK, and one each in Australia, Germany, and Russia. Many researchers believe that a safe and effective vaccine may take 12-18 months to develop. However, with the news of the Oxford University-AstraZeneca vaccine in its last stage of clinical trials, hopes are high for an earlier than expected arrival of a COVID-19 vaccine.
Coronavirus (Covid-19) vaccines update: Check the latest status here:
Bharat Biotech's coronavirus candidate 'Covaxin'
In a major development for India, the drug regulator has given approval to Hyderabad-based Bharat Biotech to conduct human clinical trials for the 'Covaxin' vaccine, making it the first indigenous COVID-19 vaccine candidate to get this permission. The company is developing the drug in collaboration with the Indian Council of Medical Research (ICMR) and the National Institute of Virology (NIV). According to reports, pre-clinical trials of 'Covaxin' yielded positive results.
A COVID-19 vaccine developed by German biotech firm BioNTech and US pharmaceutical giant Pfizer has shown potential in early-stage human trials, the companies said on Wednesday. The drug is one of 17 being tested on humans in a frantic global race to find a vaccine the world is counting on to end a pandemic that has infected 10.5 million people and killed more than half a million so far. BioNTech said testing of two dosages of its BNT162b1 drug on 24 healthy volunteers showed that after 28 days they had developed higher levels of COVID-19 antibodies than typically seen in infected people.
Oxford University-AstraZeneca vaccine
According to the latest reports, the Oxford University-AstraZeneca vaccine candidate has emerged as a frontrunner in the race to find an effective cure for coronavirus. The British drugmaker has already started conducting phase III human trials of its AZD1222 (formerly known as ChAdOx1 nCoV-19) vaccine candidate. Around 800 people will be administered the vaccine. Developers have inked a deal to manufacture 10 crore doses of the vaccine. Brazil announced on Saturday that it had signed a $127 million deal to locally produce the Oxford-AstraZeneca vaccine.
Moderna coronavirus vaccine
American biotech company Moderna, which has begun phase II trials for its vaccine candidate mRNA-1273, has collaborated with drugmaker Catalent Inc to manufacture 100 million doses starting in the third quarter of 2020. Final-stage trials of the Moderna vaccine are all set to begin in July, with tests slated to be conducted on 30,000 people.
CanSino coronavirus vaccine
The vaccine candidate developed by CanSino Biologics has been approved for use by China's military after its clinical trials proved that it was safe and somewhat efficient for use, Reuters reported recently. The vaccine, known as Ad5-nCoV, is one of the eight vaccine candidates being developed by Chinese companies and has won approval for human testing in Canada. China's Central Military Commission approved the use of the vaccine by the military on June 25 for a period of one year, CanSino said in a filing. The vaccine candidate was developed jointly by CanSino and the Beijing Institute of Biotechnology in the Academy of Military Medical Sciences.
Sanofi-GSK coronavirus vaccine
French pharma major Sanofi, which has developed a COVID-19 vaccine candidate with GlaxoSmithKline (GSK), recently announced that it plans to start phase 1 of its clinical trial by the end of the year. If the first stage results turn out to be positive, the company will also get approval for mass production in the second half of 2021. Sanofi is using one of GSK's proprietary additives, a compound that drives the immune response, with this vaccine.
The French drugmaker plans to manufacture 10 crore doses in 2020 and another 100 crore in 2021. Sanofi also announced that it will invest $425 million in US start-up Translate Bio to broaden its vaccine development venture.
American vaccine development company Novavax is carrying out human trials of its protein-based NVX-CoV2373 candidate vaccine in Australia. The results are expected by July. Novavax plans to manufacture 10 crore doses by this year and 150 crore by 2021.