COVID-19 vaccine: Even as multiple vaccine candidates have entered various levels of trials, experts believe that a coronavirus vaccine might not be found before next year. So far, globally, ten vaccine candidates are getting tested on healthy volunteers, while 114 are in preliminary stages of development. Even the Indian pharma firms are actively contributing to the cause. Union Health Minister Harsh Vardhan recently said that there are 14 candidate COVID-19 vaccines for the virus in India which are at different levels of development. China's CanSino adenovirus vaccine, Oxford University's adenovirus vaccine, Moderna's mRNA vaccine, Novavax's vaccine are among the most promising candidates globally so far.
A few days back, Moderna's shares rallied substantially after the drugmaker said that its experimental coronavirus vaccine showed promise in a small early-stage trial. However, the mRNA vaccine still has a long way to go. Moderna Chief Executive Officer Stephane Bancel had said, "Moderna team continues to focus on moving as fast as safely possible to start our pivotal Phase 3 study in July, and if successful, file a BLA."
US-based Novavax also announced recently that it has begun work on testing the candidate vaccine in Australia. The company uses a technology where virus protein is packed in nanoparticles and thereafter injected into the body of the human. There are companies using genetic information to get human cells to produce the virus parts. Another firm Inovio Pharmaceuticals is using a technology where virus genes are injected into a piece of DNA.
The preliminary findings of the test for the coronavirus vaccine being developed by CanSino Biologics has also shown favourable results. The early trials have shown that the experimental vaccine, Ad5-nCoV, may help train the human body to resist infection by the new SARS-CoV-2 virus. The phase 1 trials were conducted in Wuhan, Hubei province.
"I still think that we have a good chance, if all the things fall in the right place, that we might have a vaccine that would be deployable by the end of the year, by December and November," Anthony Fauci, a key member of the White House coronavirus task force and globally renowned immunologist, recently told CNN.