After low doses of dexamethasone were found to have reduced deaths among patients, hopes have risen about a possible cure for coronavirus infection. The steroid treatment has shown to cut death rates by around one third among those with the most severe cases of COVID-19 infection, according to trial by scientists leading the UK-led clinical trial known as RECOVERY. However, even as multiple vaccine candidates have entered various levels of trials, experts believe that a fully potent vaccine could only be developed next year.
There is no approved drug for treatment of coronavirus patients as of now. Over 100 experimental COVID-19 vaccines are in various stages of development, as per the World Health Organisation (WHO). From US-based Moderna Inc to China's CanSino Pharmaceuticals Inc, some of the world's biggest companies are in the race to develop the coronavirus vaccine. Over 4,31,000 people have lost their lives globally due to coronavirus infection.
The mRNA 1273 vaccine candidate by Moderna, expects to enter third-phase clinical trials next month. Other leading names include vaccines under development by Johnson & Johnson and AstraZeneca in association with the University of Oxford.
Germany and partner countries in the European Union last week pledged funds for the production of an experimental vaccine being developed by the University of Oxford and AstraZeneca. Britain and the United States had previously made commitments to secure hundreds of millions of doses of the AstraZeneca vaccine, which is based on so-called viral vector technology, as developers across the world prepare to produce even before their candidates are shown to work in trials.
Brazil recently announced that Instituto Butantan has signed a deal with Sinovac to produce an experimental coronavirus vaccine. The tests for the same would begin in July and would include around 9,000 Brazilians. Israeli researchers have identified molecules that may lead to the development of a COVID-19 vaccine. Chinese pharma company Sinopharm has cleared the animal trials.
Even though initial trials by many of these candidate vaccines show encouraging results, a clearer picture can only emerge when a diverse population gets tested.