Serum Institute of India that is producing the Oxford University-AstraZeneca coronavirus vaccine has halted trials in the country after DCGI set the manufacturer a show-cause notice. "We are following DCGI's instructions... we are reviewing the situation and pausing India trials till AstraZeneca restarts the trials," said Serum Institute in a statement. The notice was sent to the company for not informing the drug regulator about AstraZeneca suspending clinical trials in other countries and also for not reporting the "serious adverse events".
This might come as a dampener in the plans to develop a COVID-19 vaccine by the end of the year, as the AstraZeneca-Oxford University candidate was the frontrunner for a coronavirus vaccine. While AstraZeneca-Oxford candidate is the frontrunner, there are multiple COVID-19 vaccine candidates that have made significant headway.
Here's a lowdown on the other coronavirus vaccine candidates to look out for:
1. Bharat Biotech's COVAXIN: The first homegrown coronavirus vaccine in India COVAXIN is in the middle of trials. If the vaccine proves effective and safe, experts suggest that a million doses could be ready by 2021. Preliminary results show that the vaccine candidate is safe and has shown positive results, creates good immune response and has no critical side effects. Sanjay Rai, Professor, Community Medicine, and Principal Investigator for coronavirus vaccine trials at AIIMS has said that Phase 2 trials of COVAXIN would wrap up in October.
2. China's Sinovac: China-based Sinovac has received positive reviews for its efficacy. The vaccine is in Phase 3 of trials in Brazil, Mexico and Saudi Arabia. Brazil's Sao Paulo State governor said that the vaccine candidate is undergoing trials and that it has witnessed safe response. They are expecting the COVID-19 vaccine to be made available by early December.
3. Moderna: Another leading candidate for coronavirus is Moderna. The company said that it is talking to multiple countries for the rollout of the coronavirus vaccine. Moderna has said that it is committed to 'equitable access' of its candidate. The company was the first company to take its COVID-19 vaccine candidate to Phase 3 trials.
4. Novavax: Early trials of Novavax have shown that the coronavirus vaccine is safe and has shown positive response. The results were published in The New England Journal of Medicine. Eighty-three people have received the vaccine with adjuvant, an agent that boosts the body's immune response. Twenty-five more received the vaccine without the booster and 23 received the placebo.
5. China's CanSino: Pakistan's drug regulator last month gave the go-ahead for the country's first Phase 3 clinical trial for CanSino's candidate, Ad5-nCoV, which will be led by the government-run National Institute of Health (NIH) along with pharmaceutical company AJM - the local representative of CanSino. "We are planning to launch the project on September 20, or at the latest within this month," Hassan Abbas Zaheer, who is heading the trial for AJM.