Coronavirus pandemic has infected over 10 million people worldwide with over half a million casualties. The lock-down and other restriction measures such as social distancing have somehow slowed down the virus spread initially. But these steps have caused many serious humanitarian and economic consequences. Countries worldwide are now easing the restrictions to bring their economies back on track by allowing the essential services and activities.
Since the release of the genetic sequence of the coronavirus in the second week of January, every day new insights and details about the nature of the virus are being published. Recently, over 239 scientists from 32 different countries have supported the airborne transmission of SARS-CoV2. Now, the WHO has also acknowledged the evidence of airborne spread of SARS-CoV2. With ease in restriction, the coming days are going to be more difficult. While on the other hand the pharmaceutical and biotech companies are working round the clock to develop the effective vaccine for Covid-19. As of today, more than 150 candidate vaccines are in the preclinical and clinical evaluations phases.
Here is a compiled list of five leading companies actively working to develop Covid-19 vaccines that might prove to be efficient and potential in preventing further spread of the COVID-19 infection:
Moderan is one of the drug developers picked by the US government under its Operation Warp Speed (a public–private partnership, to facilitate and accelerate the development COVID-19 vaccines). In May, Moderna Inc. announced the positive interim Phase 1 result for its mRNA Vaccine (mRNA-1273) against coronavirus (SARS-CoV-2). Moderna’s vaccine basically uses messenger RNA to produce viral proteins. The company is about to start the phase III trial of the vaccine with over 30,000 volunteers.
AstraZeneca/Oxford (ChAdOx1 nCoV-19 /AZD1222)
ChAdOx1 nCoV-19 (AZD1222) is the leading vaccine against Covid-19, developed by Oxford University in partnership with pharma giant AstraZeneca. The vaccine is in the phase III trial in the UK, the US, and Brazil. AstraZeneca has announced the agreement with Europe’s Inclusive Vaccines Alliance (IVA), to deliver around 400 million doses of COVID-19 vaccine starting by the end of 2020.
CanSino Biologics Inc (Ad5-nCoV)
Founded in 2009, CanSino Biologics Inc is working with Beijing Institute of Biotechnology to deliver Covid-19 vaccine. CanSino’s Ad5-nCoV is a recombinant adenovirus type-5 vector (Ad5) vaccine.. Ad5-nCoV is the first novel coronavirus vaccine in China which is in clinical trial. After the phase I result which was published in May, and the unpublished phase II trial that produced a safe and strong response, the China’s Central Military Commission has approved its use for one year as a “specially needed drug”. The Ad5-nCoV is right now at the phase III trial.
Inovio Pharmaceuticals (INO-4800)
Inovio Pharmaceuticals INO-4800 is a DNA based vaccine candidate against Coronavirus. Inovio is also a part of the US government’s Operation Warp Speed. The Inovio conducted phase I trial of INO-4800 in about 40 healthy adult volunteers, and published interim data on 30th June. The vaccine has the ability to generate balanced antibody and T cell immune responses in the body, which will be very helpful in the fight against coronavirus.The Inovio is expected to begin the phase II/III study of INO-4800 during this summer (in July-August).
Sinovac Life Sciences (CoronaVac)
Sinovac a china biopharmaceutical company working on CoronaVac, an inactivated COVID-19 vaccine candidate. Sinovac started the development of its inactivated vaccine against COVID-19 in Jan-2020, and in April it received approval from the National Medical Products Administration (“NMPA”) to conduct phase I and II clinical trials in China. On June 13, 2020 it announced positive preliminary results of its vaccine CoronaVac’s phase I/II clinical trial with no severe adverse effects. To launch the phase III trial of its vaccine in Brazil (in July this year), Sinovac has signed a collaboration agreement with Butantan (one of the leading producers of immunobiological products and vaccines in Brazil).
Apart from the above mentioned five companies, more than 150 pharmaceutical companies worldwide are also in the race to develop the effective and safe vaccine for Covid-19. The overall process of vaccine development requires rigorous research and testing process, the availability of Covid-19 vaccine in the market is likely to take one and half years.