As countries struggle to contain the Covid-19 pandemic, drug companies are working round the clock to find a possible vaccine for the novel coronavirus. In just six months since the outbreak, 140 vaccine candidates (vaccines under experimentation) are in the pre-clinical trial stage and 23 have entered the clinical evaluation stage, according to the World Health Organization (WHO).
Against this backdrop, a tweet by the editor of medical journal The Lancet renewed hopes of an announcement on the vaccine front. “Tomorrow. Vaccines. Just saying,” Richard Horton tweeted on Sunday.
Tomorrow. Vaccines. Just saying.— richard horton (@richardhorton1) July 19, 2020
The vaccine developed at Oxford University in collaboration with AstraZeneca is believed to be in the most advanced stages of clinical trials. The vaccine has been developed by a team at The Jenner Institute, University of Oxford and Phase-I trials had begun in England to test safety and efficacy in late April. On April 30, the University of Oxford and AstraZeneca announced an agreement for the global development and distribution of the university’s potential vaccine.
Another promising candidate is US-based Moderna, which was the first company whose vaccine entered the preclinical animal studies stage and first to examine the vaccine on humans. The company created the first doses of its mRNA-1273 (messenger RNA) vaccine in 42-days flat and sent it to their partner, the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases for testing.
Earlier this month, China's Sinovac Biotech, too, commenced Phase III trials of its potential Covid-19 vaccine in Brazil, becoming one of three companies to progress into the late stages in the race to develop a shot against the viral infection.