Many countries including Bangladesh and Russia are to start giving its first approved drug to treat COVID-19
Many countries including Bangladesh and Russia are to start giving its first approved drug to treat COVID-19|Representational image
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COVID-19: When will a vaccine for be ready?

Over 10 experimental vaccines for COVID-19 undergoing human trials and over 120 others are in the works

Amlan Jyoti Das

Amlan Jyoti Das

Guwahati: Scientists are working on 120 different types of vaccines across the globe, out of which at least 10 are undergoing human trials. China’s adenovirus vaccine, Moderna’s mRNA vaccine, Oxford University’s adenovirus vaccine and Novavax look the most promising.

In a study posted in TheLancet, a phase two study of the experimental adenovirus vaccine has already begun in China. Canada, has also approved its early phase human trial. CanSino Biologics Inc based in China is sponsoring this study with the Canadian Center for Vaccinology and Beijing Institute of Biotechnology as the collaborators.

Twitter image (@MischaEDM)
Twitter image (@MischaEDM) Phase two study of the experimental adenovirus vaccine has already begun in China

Moderna Inc, a Cambridge-based biotech company says phase two trials of the Moderna mRNA-1273 will include 600 healthy adults in two different age groups (18-55 and 55 above). On May 18, the company released its early results from phase one trail which said to have produced protective antibodies in a group of eight healthy volunteers. The US Food and Drug Administration completed its review of the drug application for mRNA-1273 against COVID-19.

Twitter image
Twitter image Cambridge-based biotech company in a release stated that phase two trials of the Moderna mRNA-1273 will start soon

The Russian hospitals will start giving the drug Avifavir, an antiviral drug to patients from June 11. It was based on a drug generically known as favipiravir which was developed in the late 1990s by a Japanese company. The government gave its approval on Saturday.

US-based biotechnology company Novavax has already started human trials of its NVX-CoV2373 vaccine in Australia. The results of the first phase of clinical trials in Brisbane and Melbourne are expected to come out in July. This will be followed by thousands of candidates in several other countries who will be involved in the second phase.

Another American biopharmaceutical company, Gilead Sciences Inc announced the topline results from the open-label, Phase 3 SIMPLE trial. This after evaluating five-day and 10-day dosing durations of the investigational antiviral remdesivir in patients who had severe manifestations of COVID-19 disease and were hospitalized. The study showcased that patients who received a 10-day treatment course of remdesivir achieved similar improvement in clinical status in comparison to those who took a five-day treatment course. Even Bangladesh’s Beximco Pharmaceuticals Ltd has launched the first generic version of antiviral drug remdesivir becoming the world’s first to do so to treat the viral disease.

In India, the Indian Council of Medical Research (ICMR) stated that Bharat Biotech International Limited (BBIL) and ICMR are collaborating to develop a vaccine against the novel coronavirus. They added that the first human trials of its novel coronavirus vaccine might begin in the next six months.

Facebook image
Facebook image Kiran Mazumder Shaw, Executive Chairperson of Biocon

Even though some of the vaccine candidates have already reached the human trial period, a safe and reliable vaccine will take yet another four more years to complete as stated by Kiran Mazumder Shaw, Executive Chairperson of Biocon, India's biopharmaceutical company. While speaking at a webinar on 'Pharma and Healthcare's New Normal: Engaging With Customers in Uncertain Times; Business Model Post-COVID-19' she stated that it will take a very long time before one can have a safe vaccine which can be accessible by the entire country. She added that one must understand that vaccine development is a very complex process hence we need to deal with this pandemic for another few years. She also urges that more investments should be made in the healthcare sectors across the world.

A study in TheLancet entitled, 'The starting line for COVID-19 vaccine development,' further support this view. It stated that the vaccine candidates which have proven to be effective in the clinical trials will require substantial, well-directed and globally coordinated investments in production and delivery for their benefit to be realised.

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