With parts of Europe facing a "second wave" of COVID-19, and the rate of transmission feared to escalate in the winter months, the world is eagerly awaiting for the launch of a vaccine against coronavirus. The World Health Organisation (WHO) has boosted optimism by claiming that an effective vaccine against the contagious disease can be developed by 2020-end. Here are the major updates on the leading vaccine candidates. COVID-19 Vaccine Expected in India From 'Maybe More Than One Source' by Early 2021: Minister.
Oxford-AstraZeneca: Considered as the most promising candidate, the developer on Tuesday signed a pact with another nation to conduct late-stage trials and manufacture the doses. The UK-based AstraZeneca Plc signed a deal with Thailand to manufacture and supply the vaccine in first half of 2021. Similar pacts have been inked with drugmakers in Brazil, India and South Africa.
Johnson & Johnson: One of the leading vaccine developers in the US, J&J was forced to pause its vaccine trials after a participant fall ill. The company, in a statement issued late on Monday, confirmed that the trials have been temporarily paused till the cause of illness is determined. Nearly 60,000 volunteers have signed up for the J&J vaccine trials. The candidate, as per the developers, can province immunity in a single shot.
Pfizer-BioNtech: Data pertaining to the trials of another leading vaccine candidate, being developed by American pharmaceutical giant Pfizer and German drugmaker BionTech, would be released before Food and Drug Administration (FDA) - the US regulatory body - shortly. The developers had earlier claimed that the vaccine could be rolled out by December-end if granted regulatory approval in time.
Moderna: The leading American vaccine developer, which filed for a rolling review before Europe's top medical regulatory body last week, has announced that it would not be applying for a patent initially. This would allow other vaccine makers to reap the benefits of the technology developed by Modern.
Bharat Biotech: The 'Covaxin' vaccine candidate being developed by Bharat Biotech awaits the final and third phase of human trials. The Drugs Controller General of India (DCGI) has asked the company to submit data of phase 2 trials before granting the approval for third round of tests, reported news agency PTI. The developer intends to test the vaccine candidate on 28,500 volunteers spread across 10 provinces of India.
Sputnik V: The Russian vaccine candidate is still undergoing the final phase trials in Russia. In a bid to allay apprehensions, Moscow's Gamaleya Institute - which is a co-developer of the experimental vaccine - said none among the 2,000 volunteers inoculated with the vaccine faced side-effects. Offshore trials of the vaccine are set to begin in the United Arab Emirates (UAE).
Sinopharm: The leading Chinese vaccine candidate, which is still under late-stage trials, will be administered on Chinese students who are set to leave for abroad for completion of their studies, reports said. According to Global Times, the state-run nationalist tabloid, an online reservation has been launched for persons seeking to be inoculated with the Sinopharm vaccine in Beijing and Wuhan.
While the race for a safe vaccine continues, the number of coronavirus cases in the world has crossed 38 million. The death count surged to over 1,086,000 on Tuesday, as per the Worldometers tracker.