There are efforts by scientists and medical experts to develop and deliver million doses of a safe, and effective coronavirus vaccine by January 2021. The World Health Organization(WHO) is coordinating these global efforts. With vaccines taking 10 to 15 years for development and distribution, they go through a multi-phase clinical trial:
Phase 1 – checking their safety and immune response in a small group of healthy people
Phase 2 – widening the testing pool to include groups of people who may have the disease or be more likely to catch it to check the vaccine’s effectiveness
Phase 3 – expanding the pool up to the thousands to make sure the vaccine is safe and effective among a wider array of people. Following Phase 3, the vaccine then goes to regulatory agencies for approval.
With more than 150 coronavirus vaccines in development across the world, as of 31st July 2020, the underlisted vaccine prospects have made it to phase three and beyond:
mRNA-1273 by Moderna Therapeutics
Moderna Therapeutics is a Massachusetts,USA-based biotech company working in collaboration with the National Institutes of Health(NIH). mRNA-1273 aims to inject snippets of a virus’s genetic material, in this case mRNA, into human cells by creating viral proteins that mimic the coronavirus, training the immune system to recognize its presence.
BNT162b2 by Pfizer
Pfizer is a New York, USA-based pharmaceutical company in collaboration with German biotech company BioNTech. Pfizer and BioNTech are also developing an mRNA vaccine based on BioNTech’s earlier efforts to use the technology in experimental cancer vaccines. The US government has signed a $2 billion contract with Pfizer – this contract, if the vaccine is approved and delivered, is to provide 100 million doses by December 2020.
ChAdOx1 nCoV-19 by University of Oxford
In collaboration with the biopharmaceutical company AstraZeneca, UK-based University of Oxford is working on this vaccine prospect aka viral vector vaccine, a “Trojan horse” presented to the immune system. The research team at Oxford has transferred the SARS-CoV-2 spike protein and this helps the coronavirus invade cells into a weakened version of an adenovirus, which typically causes the common cold. When adenovirus is injected into human beings, it is expected that the spike protein will trigger an immune response.
CoronaVac by Sinovac
Sinovac is a Chinese biopharmaceutical company working in collaboration with Brazilian research center Butantan. CoronaVac is a non-infectious version of the coronavirus. Knowing inactivated pathogens can no longer produce disease, they can still provoke an immune response.
‘Unnamed’ by Sinopharm
Sinopharm is a China state-run pharmaceutical company in collaboration with the Wuhan Institute of Biological Products on the yet-to-be-named vaccine prospect. Sinopharm is also using an inactivated SARS-CoV-2 vaccine that hopes to trigger a strong neutralizing antibody response in participants with no serious adverse effects.
Bacillus Calmette-Guerin(BCG) BRACE trial by Murdoch Children’s Research Institute
Murdoch Children’s Research Institute is the largest child health research institute in Australia, in collaboration with the University of Melbourne. For nearly a century, the Bacillus Calmette-Guerin (BCG) vaccine has been used to prevent tuberculosis. Evidence has emerged over the years that this vaccine may boost the immune system and help the body fight off other diseases. This trial has reached phase three in Australia.
Ad5-nCoV by CanSino Biologics
CanSino Biologics is a Chinese biopharmaceutical company working to develop a viral vector vaccine by using a weakened version of the adenovirus as a vehicle for introducing the SARS-CoV-2 spike protein to the body. From its phase 2 trial, there were no serious adverse reactions.