The coronavirus outbreak has been one of the deadliest disease outbreaks in recent years and has posed several big threats in front of the world. The number of cases doesn’t seem to have stopped despite the lockdowns and precautionary measures imposed by countries around the world. As of 26th May, the pandemic has affected 56, 11, 914 people around the world, out of which 348,364 are reported to have lost their lives. The threat of the virus is only increasing day in and day out.
The prominent reason behind this threat is that presently, there is no vaccine available to treat this disease. Scientists were toiling to find the vaccine for the same since the start of the disease in China. Presently, with billions of lives depending on the coronavirus vaccine, the competition of vaccine development is getting much fierce. Scientists are trying to create an effective and safe vaccine as quickly as possible.
Competition to be the First
Generally, a vaccine fit for humans takes years to develop as it has to go through a series of human trials for safety and efficiency. However, considering the pandemic threat, a vaccine needs to be invented as soon as possible. Presently, there are over 100 laboratories throughout the world competing to find the coronavirus vaccine, and there is no doubt that the one that would succeed will have huge advantages.
Along with the laboratories, this is turning out to be a race between countries, too, as the winning country will focus on treating its own population on priority. Dr. Scott Gotlieb, the former Commissioner of the Food and Drug Administration USA says, “The first country to the finish line will be the first to restore its economy and global influence.” However, despite the vicious competition, some of the vaccines are showing positive results in initial trials and are promising to be the probable vaccines in the near future. In this blog, we will look at the seven potential coronavirus vaccines leading to this global race.
1. The University of Oxford
One of the most renowned institutions around the world, the University of Oxford have developed a vaccine candidate named ‘ChAdOx1nCoV-19’. The salient fact about this vaccine is that it has been developed in under three months. This vaccine candidate uses a weakened strain of the common cold virus and is combined with the genetic material of the SARS CoV2 (the coronavirus that has caused COVID-19). This will enable the body to identify the spike protein of the novel coronavirus. Presently, the vaccine candidate is in a clinical trial phase 1and healthy volunteers have been injected to check its safety and efficiency.
2. Johnson & Johnson
Johnson & Johnson began coronavirus vaccine development in January. The company said it is using the same technologies it used to make its experimental Ebola vaccine, which was provided to people in the Democratic Republic of Congo. It involves combining genetic material from the coronavirus with a modified adenovirus known to cause common colds in humans. Their leading vaccine candidate is expected to enter a human clinical study by September. Clinical data on trial is expected before the end of the year. If the vaccine is successful, the company has said it could produce 600 million to 900 million doses by April 2021.
3. Massachusetts- based Moderna Vaccine
In the United States, a Massachusetts-based company Moderna is developing an RNA based vaccine. Moderna is collaborating with the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases (NIAID). The RNA vaccine works by entering the human cells and carries the molecular instructions to make the viral protein. After that, once the body recognizes the viral protein, the body’s immune system is boosted. The vaccine candidate is named mRNA-1273 and has already conducted phase-1 trials and is all set to start the phase 2 trials.
4. Beijing-based Sinovac Biotech
The Coronavirus Vaccine by Sinovac Biotech is in the development phase in China, and the Chinese scientists claimed to have successfully tested a potential vaccine for coronavirus in monkeys. In this experiment, the monkeys were injected with the potential vaccine PiCoVacc, which is made by Sinovac Biotech. The monkeys were later exposed to novel coronavirus, and it is concluded that those injected with the dose of potential vaccine were largely protected from the virus. Currently, this vaccine is undergoing human trials.
5. Pfizer and BioNtech Vaccine
Pfizer Pharmaceuticals, based in the USA and its German partner BioNtech is also working together on as many as four RNA vaccine candidates. Clinical trials of their vaccine candidate BNT162 have also begun. Their vaccine candidate is based on specially designed messenger RNA (similar to the Moderna Vaccine). The procedures for testing the vaccine are being conducted in the USA, and they are planning to test the potential vaccine on 360 healthy volunteers.
6. DNA- based Vaccine by Inovio Pharmaceuticals
Inovio Pharmaceuticals, a biotechnology company located in Plymouth Meeting, Pennsylvania, has received 5 million dollars aid for developing a coronavirus vaccine. The company has developed a potential Coronavirus Vaccine in its San Diego lab and is all set to begin phase 1 trials at the University of Pennsylvania. The vaccine is named INO-4800, and each volunteer will receive two doses of the DNA- based vaccine candidate four weeks apart of check its safety and efficiency.
7. The BCG Vaccine
The BCG (Bacillus Calmette-Guerin) live attenuated vaccine candidate is in phase 2/3. This vaccine is prominently used for Tuberculosis to boost the immune system. However, it is being tested for coronavirus also. Clinical trials are being conducted to check the effectiveness and safety of the vaccine candidate.
To conclude, the race for the development of the Coronavirus Vaccine is only getting fierce. The optimistic thing is that several vaccine candidates are getting approved with their trials, which is a ray of hope. However, until the authorized vaccine is developed, you should continue taking the precautionary measures.