In the run up to the formulation of a coronavirus vaccine, 165 countries have signed up with the World Health Organisation's (WHO) COVAX Facility and the Advanced Market Commitment (AMC). "The COVAX Facility, and the AMC within it, is designed to guarantee rapid, fair and equitable access to COVID-19 vaccines for every country in the world, rich and poor, to make rapid progress towards slowing the pandemic," said WHO. It added that the goal of COVAX is to deliver 2 billion doses of a COVID-19 vaccine by the end of 2021. The vaccine doses would be delivered equally to all the participating countries proportional to their populations. Healthcare workers would be prioritised initially, which would then be expanded to 20 per cent of the population. Further doses would be distributed based on the need of the country, vulnerability and the threat. The COVAX Facility will also maintain a buffer of doses for emergency and humanitarian use, stated WHO.
Things are looking up with many companies starting off their clinical trials. Some have even reached the advanced stages of human trials. Most companies, however, have set a goal of mid-2021 for the coronavirus vaccine release.
CORONAVIRUS VACCINE UPDATE:
Zydus Cadila: Chairman Pankaj Patel has said that he expects a potential COVID vaccine to be out in the market by early next year. He said that the Phase I and II trials are likely to be wrapped up in three months. "We are looking at about seven or a little more than seven months for the vaccine, provided the data is encouraging and the vaccine is proven to be effective during the trials. We are also open to discussing partnerships with pharma companies in various geographies, but it is a bit premature right now, and we will be doing so at the end of Phase 1 and 2 trials," he said in an interview.
Johnson and Johnson: The company said that it expects to expedite the late-stage human trial to September. J&J is in talks with the National Institutes of Health to move up the trial. It plans to enter Phase I of human trials next week. The trial will include more than 1,000 participants. Phase II is being planned in the Netherlands, Spain and Germany.
Oxford University-AstraZeneca: The researchers behind the Oxford coronavirus vaccine are hoping to begin 'challenge trials' that will intentionally expose the volunteers to the virus. This has been deemed a controversial move since there is still no cure for the virus. The volunteers are exposed to the virus in a controlled laboratory setting. The COVID vaccine has been tested on 1,000 British volunteers in Phase I. Volunteers are being recruited in the UK, Brazil, South Africa.
Medicago: Canadian biopharma is developing a plant-based vaccine for coronavirus. Medicago has been developing plant-based vaccines for over two decades. The company has now received funding from firms. The firm said that it has administered the first doses of its vaccine candidate in healthy human volunteers. It is the first vaccine from Canada to be tested. "We are thrilled to see our COVID-19 vaccine candidate enter the Phase 1 trial, and we look forward to obtaining safety and immunogenicity results in October," said Nathalie Landry, Executive Vice-President, Scientific and Medical Affairs at Medicago.Also read: Coronavirus vaccine: BCG vaccine trials start in Tamil Nadu; Bill Gates hails Indian pharma