Coronavirus Vaccine Latest Update: There are eight frontrunners in the race to develop the elusive Coronavirus vaccine.
Coronavirus Vaccine Latest Update: After the Phase 3 human trial of Oxford-AstraZenca’s Coronavirus vaccine was halted, apprehensions have bee raised whether this could delay efforts to expedite an immunization against COVID-19. The World Health Organisation (WHO) had earlier said that the distribution of the Coronavirus vaccine is not expected before mid-2021. Top US infectious disease official Anthony Fauci has claimed that drugmakers would likely to have tens of millions of doses of Coronavirus vaccine in the early part of 2021.
However, apart from Oxford-AstraZenca’s temporary halt, another important event has happened. The Chief Executives of nine vaccine makers have signed a pledge to make the safety and well being of vaccinated individuals as the top priority. These nine companies are AstraZeneca Plc, BioNTech SE, GlaxoSmithKline Plc, Johnson & Johnson, Merck & Co., Moderna Inc., Novavax Inc., Pfizer Inc., and Sanofi.
This has come after there was a lot of criticism over the manner in which Russian and Chinese vaccines were given approval and talks of US Food and Drug Administration likely to give conditional registration before the November 3 US Presidential Election even if the vaccine candidate does not complete the Phase 3 clinical trial.
There are eight frontrunners in the race to develop the elusive Coronavirus vaccine. Oxford-AstraZeneca’s ChAdOx1 nCoV-19 vaccine or AZD1222, Moderna-NIAID’s mRNA-1273, Pfizer-BioNTech’s BNT162b2, Russia’s Sputnik-V, and fouth Chinese candidates- Sinovac Biotech’s Coronavac, CanSino Biologics’ Ad5-nCOV, Sinopharm-Beijing, and Sinopharm-Wuhan have been undergoing Phase 3 human trials in several countries across the world. Russian and Chinese coronavirus vaccine candidates have been granted approval for conditional registration. In India, Bharat Biotech’s Covaxin in collaboration with ICMR and NIV, Pune has been undergoing Phase 2 human trials.
Meanwhile, Cambridge University researchers have announced that they are developing a Coronavirus candidate which can tackle all types of Coronaviruses. Cambridge’s DNA-based vaccine candidate DIOS-CoVax2 has received huge funding of 1.9 million pounds. Apart from the SARS-CoV-2, SARS-CoV, MERS-CoV, there are 229E, NL63, OC43, and HKU1 types of Coronaviruses.
The WHO has stated that it was not expecting a coronavirus vaccine candidate to meet its efficacy and safety guidelines in order to be approved this year because of the time it takes to test them safely. Director-general of the International Federation of Pharmaceutical Manufacturers Thomas Cueni has echoed the WHO’s sentiments. International Federation of Pharmaceutical Manufacturers has representatives from the nine companies that have signed the historic pledge.
A vaccine generally takes years to develop. Researchers are striving to achieve the same in only a few months. However, most experts believe that a coronavirus vaccine is likely to become widely available by mid-2021. If that happens, it means a vaccine would be developed around 12-18 months after the Sars-CoV-2 emerged. In that case, it would be a huge scientific feat but there are no guarantees it will work, experts have claimed. The researchers said it is not hard to develop a vaccine but it’s harder to prove a vaccine is safe and effective.
Apart from the eight frontrunners, several potential Coronavirus vaccine candidates, including Covaxin, have shown positive results so far. However, much more work needs to be done. Late-stage clinical trials need to show that the vaccine candidates do not have any adverse impact as it would be catastrophic if a vaccine creates more problems than the highly contagious virus itself. Human trials data must show that the vaccine candidate is indeed generating an immune response that can protect a patient from the COVID19. Necessary approval is needed from drug or medicine regulators. After that, a robust mechanism must be put in place to mass-produce billions of doses of the vaccine. Finally, there will be a logistical challenge of immunizing most of the world’s population.
The WHO said, “we need to be optimistic and realistic” and we can only do that.