Finding a cure is a long and tedious process. While vaccine studies for previous coronavirus outbreaks (SARS-CoV-1 and MERS-CoV) provide a template in researching a vaccine for SARS-CoV-2, note that even these previous diseases have no publicly available vaccine to date, proving just how long creating a vaccine takes.
WHO has stated that a vaccine won’t become widely available in less than 18 months.
The Coalition for Epidemic Preparedness Innovations (CEPI), which is organizing a US$2 billion worldwide fund for rapid investment and development of vaccine candidates, indicated in April that a vaccine may be available under emergency use protocols in less than 12 months (early 2021).
On May 4, 2020, WHO organized a telethon to raise $8 billion from 40 countries to support rapid vaccine development and announced the deployment of an international “Solidarity trial” for simultaneous evaluation of several vaccine candidates reaching Phase II-III clinical trials.
Phase I trials test primarily for safety and preliminary dosing in a few dozen healthy subjects. After its success, it proceeds to Phase II trials which evaluate immunogenicity (or the ability of the vaccine to provoke an immune response) and its dose levels are checked using biomarkers. Adverse effects are also recorded.
Phase II is typically tested on hundreds of people while the subsequent Phase III trials typically involve more participants and includes a control group.
Phase III is where the vaccine is tested on its disease prevention capabilities while being monitored for adverse effects at the optimal dose.
DNX has compiled a list of vaccines that are undergoing trials now.
Vaccines under Phase I
The following are the vaccines that are currently under Phase 1 of development:
- mRNA-1273 sponsored by Moderna, US National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases uses lipid nanoparticle dispersion containing messenger RNA technology and is currently on Phase I (March 2020 to Spring-Summer 2021) with 45 participants in the US. It is good to note that President Duterte mentioned this specific vaccine in a Tuesday (May 19, 2020) report – which may allude, though not explicitly stated, that this is the vaccine that will be given to the Philippine’s for our participation in WHO’s solidarity trials, sometime next year
- Covid-19/aAPC sponsored by Shenzhen Geno-Immune Medical Institute uses lentiviral vector, pathogen-specific artificial antigen presenting dendritic cells and is currently on Phase I trials (March 2020 to 2023) with 100 participants in China
- LV-SMENP-DC sponsored by Shenzhen Geno-Immune Medical Institute uses lentiviral minigene vaccine, dendritic cells modified with lentiviral vector and is currently on Phase I trials (March 2020 to 2023) with 100 participants in China
- bacTRL-Spike sponsored by Symvivo Corporation, University of British Columbia and Dalhousie University is a DNA based, oral bacterial medium currently on Phase I trials (April 2020 to December 2021) with 84 participants in Canada
- An unnamed vaccine sponsored by Beijing Institute of Biological Products and Wuhan Institute of Biological Products using inactivated CoviD-19 virus (vero cells) is currently in Phase I trials (April 2020 to November 2021) with 288 participants in China
- NVX-CoV2373 sponsored by Novavax is a SARS-CoV-2 recombinant spike protein nanoparticle with adjuvant and is currently in Phase I trials (May 2020 to July 2021) with 131 participants in Australia
The following vaccine is on the Phase II of the development process:
- Ad5-ncOV sponsored by Casino Biologics is a recombinant adenovirus type 5 vector currently in Phase II trials (March 2020 – December 2020) with 500 participants in China
The following vaccines, meanwhile, are
- ChAdOx1 nCoV-19 sponsored by the University of Oxford is an adenovirus vector currently in Phase I/II clinical trials (April 2020 – May 2021) with 1000 participants in the United Kingdom
- BNT162 sponsored by BioNTech, Fosun Pharma, and Pfizer uses RNA technology and is currently in Phase I/II clinical trials (April 2020 – May 2021) with 7600 participants in Germany and the US
- An unnamed vaccine sponsored by Sinovac Biotech uses an inactivated SARS-CoV-2 virus and is currently in Phase I-II clinical trials (April 2020 – December 2020) with 1166 participants in China
- INO-4800 sponsored by Inovio Pharmaceuticals, CEPI, Korea National Institute of Health, International Vaccine Institute is a DNA plasmid delivered by electroporation currently in Phase I/II clinical trials (April 2020 – November 2020) with 40 participants in the US and South Korea
Many more vaccine candidates are coming, a total of 159 vaccine candidates are in early stages of development as of this writing. A vaccine tracker that is updated 2-3x a week can be viewed here.
Vaccine development costs billions, and it will cost even more when it’s mass produced, but an effective vaccine is an investment that could potentially save trillions more of costs. A good example of its cost effectiveness is that a single person inoculated with an (estimated) 400 dollar or 20,000 Php vaccine for CoviD-19 is ultimately better than having to pay a 20,000 dollar or 1 million Php Hospital Bill which would totally bog down a recovered patient. That is why it is not just important in science and health, but it is beneficial for the economy because it provides safety and assurance for people to go to work unbothered by the disease.
- The CoviD-19 vaccine development landscape
- WHO Update, Solidarity Trial – CoviD-19 vaccine
- Vaccine Safety
- (JHU) Vaccine won’t appear Overnight
- (JHU) What will it take to Develop a Vaccine for CoviD-19
- Doubts greet $1.2 billion bet by US on a CoviD-19 vaccine by October
- Safety, tolerability, and immunogenicity of a recombinant adenovirus type-5 vectored COVID-19 vaccine: a dose-escalation, open-label, non-randomised, first-in-human trial
- ChAdOx1 nCoV-19 vaccination prevents SARS-CoV-2 pneumonia in rhesus macaques
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