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Coronavirus vaccine update: Which countries are leading the race?

Coronavirus vaccine update: In India, there are three COVID-19 vaccines under human trials--Bharat Biotech's COVAXIN, Oxford's COVDSHIELD, and Zydus Cadila's ZyCoV-D. Serum Institute has already begun a phase-3 trial of Oxford vaccine candidates at 17 sites

twitter-logoBusinessToday.In | October 1, 2020 | Updated 16:39 IST
Coronavirus vaccine update: Which countries are leading the race?
COVID-19 vaccine: There are 191 COVID-19 vaccines under development around the world right now, and 41 of them are under clinical evaluation

There is a huge rush among nations across the globe to immunise their citizens against coronavirus. There are 191 COVID-19 vaccines under development around the world right now, and 41 of them are under clinical evaluation, according to the World Health Organisation. Here is the country-wise list of vaccine that has reached phase 2/3 stage of human clinical trials:

United Kingdom:

European regulators will soon start review of COVID-19 vaccine front-runner AstraZeneca and its partner University of Oxford. The European Medicines Agency is expected to announce the "rolling review" as soon as this week. A "rolling review" avoids delays so that approval from the European Commission can be sought as quickly as possible.

The University of Oxford and AstraZeneca PLC has developed the first vaccine candidate to start the final round of testing of the coronavirus vaccine.

The British-Swedish pharmaceutical firm AstraZeneca aims to make two billion doses available worldwide and said one billion doses of the vaccine will be available this year.

The United States:

a) Moderna: US biotech firm Moderna has clearly stated that it will not be ready to apply for emergency authorisation for its COVID-19 vaccine before the US presidential election. Moderna Inc's CEO Stephane Bancel told Financial Times that he was not expecting to have full approval to distribute the drugs to all US population until next spring.

Moderna is developing a vaccine candidate using messenger RNA (or mRNA for short) to trick the body into producing viral proteins itself. It must be noted that the mRNA vaccine has never been approved for any disease. Moderna has promised to supply between 500 million to 1 billion doses a year starting 2021.

b) Pfizer: Another US vaccine developer, Pfizer and its partner BioNTech have said the companies expect phase 3 data by the end of October. However, several researchers and bioethicists urged the partners to wait for more safety data before submitting their shot for a green light.

The US government has approved to pay $2 billion to Pfizer and BioNTech for 100 million doses. It is estimated that Pfizer will distribute 1.3 billion doses by the end of 2021.

c) Novavax: The US-based biotech company will enroll 10,000 participants aged 18 to 84 within the next four to six weeks, with 25 per cent being over 65. Novavax is making a vaccine that consists of two shots given 21 days apart. The vaccine delivers proteins resembling the spike of SARS-CoV-2. Researchers are hoping that the protein will trigger the production of antibodies and immune cells that can fight off the coronavirus.

d) Johnson & Johnson: Another US-based frontrunner of COVID-19 vaccine J&J released an interim analysis from the ongoing phase 1/2 clinical trial of its candidate. The company said, "strong neutralising antibody response in nearly all participants were observed".

In addition, the candidate was generally well-tolerated, and immune responses were similar across all the age groups studied, including older adults, the company said.

Johnson & Johnson is expected to produce one billion doses of the COVID-19 vaccine by the end of 2021, including 100 million doses for the US.

RUSSIA:

The chief executive officer of a Russian fertiliser company volunteered to take the Sputnik V vaccine and said he did not feel any side effects. Several other Russian billionaires chose to take the "made in Russia" COVID-19 vaccine, including, President Vladimir Putin's daughter, Industry Minister Denis Manturov, and Moscow Mayor Sergey Sobyanin.

Sputnik V is developed by the Moscow-based Gamaleya Institute and is backed by the Russian Direct Investment Fund. It's still in a three-phase clinical trial. However, the institute has been giving shots to prominent people outside the trial groups for months without waiting for results from the full study.

INDIA:

According to the Indian Council of Medical Research (ICMR), there are three COVID-19 vaccines under human trials--Bharat Biotech's COVAXIN, Oxford's COVDSHIELD, and Zydus Cadila's ZyCoV-D. Serum Institute has already begun a phase-3 trial of Oxford vaccine candidates at 17 sites, whereas Zydus Cadila and Bharat Biotech are conducting phase 2/3 trails.

CHINA:

There are three Chinese firms that have entered into the phase-3 clinical trials of the coronavirus vaccine. However, reports have surfaced that thousands of people in China have been given vaccine shots before the final regulatory approval for general use.

China's biotechnology firm Sinopharm is developing two coronavirus vaccines with the government agencies Wuhan Institute of Biological Products and Beijing Institute of Biological Products.

Another one is Sinovac which has also struck a deal with an Indonesian pharmaceutical firm called PT Bio farma to make up to 250 million vaccine doses each year for Indonesians.

Sinopharm has given the vaccine to 350,000 people outside its clinical trials, whereas Sinovac has injected 90 per cent of its employees and family members or about 3,000 people.

Separately, the Chinese military has approved the use of a vaccine it developed with CanSino Biologics Inc, a biopharmaceutical company, in military personnel.

Also read: FDA widens safety probe into Astrazeneca's COVID-19 vaccine

Also read: Moderna's COVID-19 vaccine unlikely to be ready before US Presidential elections

Also read: GlaxoSmithKline CEO optimistic Covid-19 vaccine widely available in 2021

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