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Coronavirus vaccine update: How many months more?

Presently, there are around 40 different coronavirus vaccines in various stages of human clinical trials, comprising one being developed by Oxford University and AstraZeneca, which is already in an advanced stage of testing

twitter-logoBusinessToday.In | October 19, 2020 | Updated 19:41 IST
Coronavirus vaccine update: How many months more?
Even as COVID-19 cases continue to soar across India and abroad, the wait for coronavirus vaccine is inching closer

When will the world have an antidote available against coronavirus? This seems to be the question of the hour, with so many vaccines currently in several trial stages across the globe. With no concrete results in hand yet, there are no vaccines proven to protect people against SARS-CoV-2, the virus that causes COVID-19. The pursuit for the magic bullet against coronavirus has become more focussed with the time running out as the COVID-19 pandemic has claimed over a million lives worldwide.

Presently, there are around 40 different coronavirus vaccines in various stages of human clinical trials, comprising one being developed by Oxford University and AstraZeneca, which is already in advanced stages of testing. Talking about India specifically, the government is reportedly mulling more than one vaccine to inoculate the populace once final approvals are received.

Also Read: Mankind Pharma joins RDIF to distribute Russian vaccine Sputnik V in India

Here's when pharma companies are eyeing release of their coronavirus vaccines: -

Oxford-AstraZeneca coronavirus vaccine

The most promising vaccine candidates of all is the one being developed by Oxford University and biopharma giant AstraZeneca. The company could get the required clearances for its coronavirus vaccine candidate by Christmas in the UK, British daily The Times reported recently.

According to the publication, a full vaccine roll-out programme for the populace could be rolled out in six months' time or even less after getting the green light by health regulators, which is likely by this year-end. Meanwhile, researchers are sanguine that the advanced stage clinical trials of its vaccine candidate - ChAdOx1 nCoV-19 - would at least show that it prevents 50 per cent of infections, the threshold for success. The vaccine candidate is christened as AZD1222 globally and Covishield in India.

COVID-19 vaccine trial results: The vaccine trials were halted temporarily on September 9 after one of the study participants in the UK developed an "unexplained illness" following an adverse event. The patient reportedly developed a rare spinal inflammatory disorder called transverse myelitis. However, the vaccine's trials resumed in the UK on September 12. According to a paper published in The Lancet medical journal, the Oxford University-AstraZeneca's vaccine candidate triggered a dual immune response in humans against coronavirus. The researchers added that during phase-1 and 2 trials, the vaccine candidate induced neutralising antibodies that rendered the virus non-infectious in "all participants" who had been administered a second dose of the inoculation.

Pfizer coronavirus vaccine

US pharma giant Pfizer, which has jointly developed a COVID-19 vaccine candidate with German partner BioNTech SE, is planning to dispense its single nucleoside-modified messenger RNA (modRNA) vaccine to Americans before the end of 2020. However, the company will be able to distribute the vaccine only if it is found to be safe and effective, Pfizer CEO Albert Bourla recently said in an interview with CBS television network. He added that if the company is prepared to distribute hundreds of thousands of doses this year itself only if the FDA approves the vaccine. Meanwhile, the pharma giant has said that it would submit data from the advanced stage clinical trials of its BNT162b2 vaccine to the FDA by October-end, putting it in good stead against Moderna.

COVID-19 vaccine trial results- Pfizer's two vaccine candidates - BNT162b1 and BNT162b2 - have generated a "robust" immune response in healthy adults aged between 18 to 55 years, according to a report published in the journal Nature. Of the two, BNT162b2 induced a lower adverse reaction, making it the safer vaccine candidate of the two.

Also Read: Serum Institute, Bharat Biotech to start clinical trials of nasal COVID-19 vaccines 

Moderna Inc coronavirus vaccine

US biotech firm Moderna, has said that it might seek emergency-use authorisation (EUA) for its COVID-19 vaccine after November 25 once it has enough safety data. Drug regulators permit the EUA of unapproved medical products or treatments during public health emergencies.

Moderna's coronavirus vaccine candidate mRNA-1273 is currently undergoing phase-3 human trials in the US and is being tested on 30,000 participants. The company's CEO Stephane Bancel told Forbes recently that "November 25 is the time when we will have enough safety data to be able to put into an emergency-use authorisation file that we would send to the FDA." He, however, added that the approval wouldn't be likely until the late first quarter or early second quarter of 2021.

COVID-19 vaccine trial results- The recent results of the phase-1 investigational trial of mRNA-1273 revealed that the coronavirus vaccine candidate elicited a strong immune response in older adults, participants over 55 years of age. The results of the study, published in the New England Journal of Medicine on September 29, disclosed that the vaccine's immune response in older participants was comparable to that seen in younger age groups. The inoculation produced robust binding and neutralising antibodies against COVID-19 in older adults.

Also Read: Pfizer may apply for emergency use of COVID-19 vaccine by November

Russian coronavirus vaccine

Around two months after Russia became the first nation to approve a coronavirus vaccine called Sputnik V, albeit amid scepticism from the global scientific community, the country approved another shot and registered its second COVID-19 antidote on October 14.

The inoculation named EpiVacCorona is being developed by Biotechnology Center and Vector State Research Center of Virology. The country plans to produce an initial 10,000 doses, with the vaccine's production likely to start in November. Russia's first coronavirus vaccine, Sputnik V has been developed by the Gamaleya National Research Institute of Epidemiology and Microbiology and was the first coronavirus vaccine in the world to receive regulatory approval. Following the second vaccine's registration, the country is also gearing up to give the nod to a third one as well.

COVID-19 vaccine trial results - Siberia's Vector State Research Center of Virology completed phase-2 clinical trials of its coronavirus vaccine in September, with none of the study participants manifesting any side effects besides feeling sensitivity at the injection site, Russian state-owned news agency, Sputnik News recently said.

Also Read: Indian-origin girl wins $25,000 award for potential discovery of COVID-19 cure

Johnson and Johnson (J&J) coronavirus vaccine

The company expects to submit the results of its vaccine candidate's phase-3 trials by the end of this year or early 2021. Johnson and Johnson (J&J) started a 60,000-person (phase-3) human clinical trial of its single-dose shot JNJ-78436735 vaccine last month.

The company said that if the results are positive then it would file a request for EUA with authorities. J&J plans to produce as many as 1 billion coronavirus vaccine shots in 2021. The company's antidote stands out as it is the first one that could potentially be a single-shot vaccine. Other inoculations, namely by AstraZeneca, Moderna Inc, Pfizer, etc., require two shots separated by several weeks.

COVID-19 vaccine trial results- The company's late-stage COVID-19 vaccine trial was paused recently after a study participant developed an "unexplained" illness. J&J said that it will begin its investigation by first determining if the participant received the vaccine or a placebo.

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