A handful of countries have made remarkable progress in the race to develop a coronavirus vaccine. The good news is that that list is an ever-growing one, with new countries either starting clinical trials for COVID-19 vaccine or are well ahead in the advanced stages. Most experts believe that a corona vaccine is not plausible before next year. French epidemiologist Arnaud Fontanet said that a vaccine takes "several years" to develop. "Of course, there is an unprecedented effort to develop a vaccine, but I would be very surprised if we had a vaccine effective in 2021," he said in an interview. He said that people must accept that there is no way out and one must "live with the virus" and develop "some serious habits".
Here are the developments on coronavirus vaccine from India and from across the world:
Zydus Cadila: The company has said that it has started clinical trials for its COVID vaccine. "Zydus has already manufactured clinical GMP batches of the vaccine candidate and plans to initiate the clinical trials in July 2020 across multiple sites in India in over 1000 subjects," the company said. The Clinical Trial Registry of India (CTRI) said that the Phase I of the coronavirus vaccine trials would be completed in 84 days.
Zydus Cadila had said that their vaccine candidate was found to elicit strong immune response in multiple animal species like mice, rats, guinea pigs and rabbits.
Bharat Biotech: The pharma company has started the first phase of its clinical trials for coronavirus vaccine COVAXIN. Volunteers across 14 locations are being administered doses of the vaccine. After receiving the go-ahead, volunteers would be administered small doses of the vaccine. Bharat Biotech is collaborating with ICMR for the vaccine.
Moderna: The company has said that its experimental COVID-19 vaccine has shown that it is safe and provokes immune responses in all 45 health volunteers in an early-stage study. No serious side effects were reported but more than half of the volunteers reported fatigue, headache, chills, muscle aches or pain at the injection site. These moderate side effects were experienced by volunteers who received high doses of the vaccine.
US physician and immunologist Dr Anthony Fauci termed the findings as "good results". "If your vaccine can induce a response comparable with natural infection, that's a winner. That's why we're very pleased by the results," he said.
Russia's Sechenov University: Russia made headlines on Sunday after it said that the first phase of the clinical trial has proved to be successful. Sechenov University is collaborating with Russia's Defense Ministry's Gamalei Institute of Epidemiology and Microbiology for the corona vaccine. The university expects the coronavirus vaccine to be ready by fall this year. "The soonest we will launch industrial production is in the fall, only if all phases of trials go perfectly well. But making forecasts is inappropriate. In biotechnology, it is a rare phenomenon for everything to go perfectly," it said.
Pfizer: The company that is collaborating with BioNTech has said that two of their experimental coronavirus vaccine candidates have received "fast track" status from the US Food and Drug Administration. The two candidates to win the designation, BNT162b1 and BNT162b2, are the most advanced of at least four vaccines being assessed by the companies in ongoing trials in the United States and Germany.
Thailand's Chulalongkorn University: Thai researchers plan to begin trials of their coronavirus vaccine in November. "At first we were going to send them in June, but it was not easy to plan everything," said Kiat Ruxrungtham, director of Bangkok's Chulalongkorn University vaccine development programme. Thailand's first facility is aiming to complete production in October and send the products to a second facility, which might finish by November, he said.