Coronavirus Pandemic

Coronavirus: 58 Covid-19 vaccines undergoing trials on humans

Staff Reporter/Dubai
Filed on December 5, 2020

(AP file)

These vaccines may help prevent infection, but they will not be able to cure the contagion.

Any vaccine requires years of research and testing, but scientists are working overtime to produce a safe and effective coronavirus disease (Covid-19) vaccine at the earliest. At last count, 58 vaccines are undergoing clinical trials on humans, and at least 87 pre-clinical vaccines are under active investigation in animals.

The bid to decode the genome of SARS-CoV-2, which causes Covid-19, had started in January. Soon, the first vaccine safety trials followed in March, and 13 are in the final stages of testing.

Hopefully, a few vaccines will make a breakthrough to come up with effective antibodies against the pandemic.

These vaccines may help prevent infection, but they will not be able to cure the contagion.

An imminent launch of an effective Covid-19 vaccine has grabbed the headlines this week.

For instance, on November 30, Moderna requested emergency use authorisation to the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) in the United States of America (USA) and on the same day, Cuba announces two Phase 1 trials.

Moderna’s is the second application, which was submitted two weeks after Pfizer and BioNTech. If Moderna receives the authorisation, the first jabs of its vaccine are likely to start on December 21.

Akin to Pfizer and BioNTech, Moderna makes its vaccine from a genetic molecule called messenger RNA (mRNA).

Though Moderna has tested mRNA vaccines for a number of diseases, the Boston-headquartered pharmaceutical major is yet to launch a vaccine.

In January, Moderna had started developing a vaccine for Covid-19. The vaccine contains genetic instructions for building a Covid-19 protein, which is called spike that tends to stimulate a response from the immune system.

Donald Trump administration bankrolled Moderna’s bid and provided around $1 billion to develop an effective Covid-19 vaccine.

On July 27, 30,000 volunteers took part in phase 3 of the clinical trial.

On August 11, the Trump administration awarded Moderna an additional $1.5 billion in lieu of 100 million doses if the vaccine proves safe and effective.

Moderna announced the first preliminary data from the trial on November 16 and comprehensive data was shared two weeks later. Of the 196 cases of Covid-19 among trial volunteers, 185 were in people, who received the placebo. The rest —11 vaccinated volunteers who had contracted the viral infection – did not suffer from critical illness. The vaccine had an efficacy rate of 94.1 per cent.

On December 2, Moderna registered a trial to test the vaccine on teenagers. Moderna has signed deals with several countries to supply the vaccine if it’s approved.

Earlier, on November 25, the firm struck a deal with the European Commission to supply up to 160 million doses. Moderna has made similar deals with Canada, Japan, and Qatar.

Also on November 2, the United Kingdom (UK) authorised Pfizer’s vaccine for emergency use. And on the same day, SK Bioscience enters Phase 1 trial.

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