The world is keeping its fingers crossed as pharma majors across the globe are working overtime on over dozens of clinical trials to deliver an anti-COVID-19 vaccine.
Needless to say the successful restoration of normalcy in the world -- socially and economically -- depends on the success of these vaccine development ventures.
The testing for a vaccine is a four-stage process—pre-clinical testing on animals, phase I clinical testing on a small group of people to determine its safety and to learn more about the immune response it provokes, phase II trials are expanded safety trials, and phase III testing is done by administering it to thousands of people to confirm its efficacy.
Globally, the World Health Organisation (WHO) is tracking around 140 candidates vaccines, of which 23 are in various phases of human clinical trials, including from Moderna and AstraZeneca Plc.
In India, multiple companies are working on the coronavirus vaccine on their own or with global partners. In fact, Bharat Biotech and Indian Council of Medical Research (ICMR) are conducting the first phase of human trials of Covaxin at a dozen centres.
Zydus Cadila started its first phase trials last week. Additionally, the Serum Institute of India has partnered with the University of Oxford and its partner AstraZeneca on their potential coronavirus vaccine seeks to undertake human trials in India.
Here's a list of various coronavirus vaccines at the different stages of the trial in India and abroad:
Covaxin: The Covaxin trial will take place in at least three stages, AIIMS director Randeep Guleria said in a briefing on Monday. The first phase will study the samples of 375 healthy people aged 18-55 years without any co-morbidities over a trial period of 4-6 weeks. The stage two of the trial phase will cover samples from 750 healthy people aged 12-65 years. The third stage will focus on the efficacy of the vaccine with samples of around 1800 people. On fulfilling trial criteria, the vaccine could be ready by end of 2020 or early next year, Guleria said.
Oxford-AstraZeneca vaccine: Sharing the results of the potential vaccine during early-stage clinical trials, the developers/scientists said on Monday it has shown positive results, generating both antibodies and cell-mediated immune responses. They expressed hope that a vaccine could be rolled out by the end of the year but there is no certainty. The Serum Institute has said it will be able to produce about 300-400 million doses of the vaccine by December and half of its production will be for India. SII CEO Adar Poonawalla has said the company will apply for a license from the Indian regulator to start clinical trials of the Oxford vaccine in a week's time.
BioNTech-Pfizer: The German and US firms on Monday reported that additional data from their experimental Covid-19 vaccine conducted in Gerrmany on 60 healthy adults showed it was safe and induced an immune response in patients. The results were similar to tests conducted in the US. The pharma majors said the data also demonstrated an induction of high level of T-cell responses against the novel coronavirus.
ZyCoV-D: Apart from the Bharat Biotech-ICMR vaccine, the Drugs Controller General of India (DGCI) has allowed Zydus Cadila Healthcare Ltd to go in for phase 1 and 2 human trials. The company aims to complete clinical trials of its coronavirus vaccine ZyCoV-D in seven months after starting the first phase of trials last week.
Panacea Biotec: The New Delhi-headquartered generic pharma firm in June had said that it was setting up a joint venture firm in Ireland with US-based Refana Inc to develop a vaccine for COVID-19. It aims to make over 500 million doses of the potential COVID-19 vaccine, with over 40 million doses expected to be available for delivery early next year, PTI quoted Panacea Biotec statement.
Other Indian firms: Indian Immunologicals, a subsidiary of National Dairy Development Board (NDDB), has inked an agreement with Australia's Griffith University to develop a vaccine for coronavirus, PTI said in a report. Others like Mynvax and Biological E are also working to develop vaccines for COVID-19, the news agency added.
Sinovac Biotech's CoronaVac: The Nasdaq-listed Chinese pharma major has reportedly moved into the third phase of trials in Brazil with two doses of 'CoronaVac' inducing neutralising antibodies after 14 days. It has penned a deal with Brazilian immunobiologic producer Instituto Bhutantan to run the stage 3 trial in Brazil. Bangladesh Medical Research Council (BMRC) has also approved the last stage trial of coronavirus vaccine by Chinese firm Sinovac Biotech Ltd.
CanSino Biologics: Among five China-developed COVID-19 vaccine candidates including Sinovac's CoronaVac, the one by CanSino is leading the race. The adenovirus-based recombinant vaccine, which was the first in the world to enter a phase 2 trial and the first to report first-in-human data in a peer-reviewed journal, according to a blog on fiercepharma.com.
Other Chinese firms: Apart from above two, Sinopharm and the Chinese Academy of Medical Sciences' Institute of Medical Biology are also working on an inactivated version of COVID-19 vaccines.
In fact, global brokerage Jefferies recently shared a research note on the ongoing developments efforts on the COVID-19 vaccine front. Here's an illustration that shows various stages of some of the top candidates for coronavirus vaccine: