June 4, 2020 - Parul Saini, Webmedy Team
As COVID-19 continues to grow, people all over the globe are curious to know when they will have a vaccine to cure it.
More than four months into the global outbreak, more than 100 research groups over the globe are racing to develop a vaccine. These groups are in different stages of development from clinical research to testing and trails.
Whenever your body comes in contact with bacteria or viruses, your immune system develops antibodies to fight with them. Know-How Human immunity works. A vaccine against COVID-19 would slow down the spread and will improve the mortality rates.
In General, the vaccine takes several months to pass different stages of development after that approval also takes some time. Even when researchers find a vaccine that fights against the new coronavirus, it could be 12 to 18 months at best before it's available for the general public. Before any vaccine is available for public use, it must go through testing to make sure it's effective against the virus and it does not cause any side effects. A vaccine goes through the stages mentioned below during the development phase.
This is the starting stage of lab research to find something that can stop or treat a disease.
Scientists use lab testing on animals like monkeys or mice to find out whether a vaccine might work.
This is the stage when the vaccine is first tested in humans. It covers four stages over several years, from initial clinical trials in humans (phase I) right through to introduction and beyond (phase IV). Clinical development is built on rigorous ethical principles of informed consent from volunteers, with an emphasis on vaccine safety as well as efficacy.
Scientists with the FDA and CDC go over the data from the clinical experiments and sign off.
This phase involves production. The FDA examines the factory and approves drug labels.
Government agencies and scientists keep eyes on the drug-making process and the people who get the vaccine.
Although no vaccine has completed clinical trials for COVID-19, there are multiple efforts in progress to develop such a vaccine. In February 2020, the World Health Organization (WHO) said it did not expect a vaccine against severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2), the causative virus, to become available in less than 18 months. Previous attempts to develop a vaccine against the coronavirus diseases, SARS and MERS, established considerable knowledge about the structure and function of coronaviruses - which accelerated rapid development during early 2020 of varied technology platforms for a COVID-19 vaccine - but all the previous coronavirus vaccine candidates failed in early-stage clinical trials, with none being advanced to licensing.
United Kingdom, China, Italy, the United States, and India are some of the leading countries in the race of developing a vaccine.
Gilead Sciences has developed Remdesivir, a broad-spectrum antiviral prescription that is being examined as a specific treatment for COVID-19 infections.
Another pharmaceutical company, Regeneron declared that its 'anti-body' treatment drug could also be ready by September 2020.
China, which saw the first outbreak, has declared that it got positive outcomes from animal trials of a potential COVID-19 vaccine. Beijing-based Sinovac Biotech is in conversation with regulators in other countries, and the World Health Organization, to launch phase III clinical trials of the vaccine in areas where the novel coronavirus is still growing quickly.
Aside from the vaccine invented by Sinovac, Chinese scientists have three other potential COVID-19 vaccines in human trials: First from the Chinese military in association with Tianjin-based CanSino Biologics Inc., and second from state-owned China National Biotec Group. CanSino also has ideas to go global with the company offering an application last month to carry out clinical trials for its vaccine in Canada.
Recently, Italian researchers claimed that they have fortunately produced a potential vaccine that can contain COVID-19 spread in humans. Luigi Aurisicchio, CEO of Takis, the firm producing the medication, said that for the first time a coronavirus applicant vaccine developed by them was able to compensate the virus in human cells.
Tests are being conducted out at Rome's Spallanzani Hospital where researchers from the firm Takis successfully managed to produce antibodies in mice and they are expecting that it will operate on humans too.
Defence Minister of Israel, Naftali Bennett stated that the Israel Institute for Biological Research (IIBR) has produced an antibody to neutralize the COVID-19 virus. It can beat the virus within the bodies of the infected and neutralize it.
Also, the second research team, MigVax has finished the first phase of developing the COVID-19 vaccine and has obtained a $12 million investment to develop the vaccine. But, the defense minister did not specify about carrying out any trials on humans as of now.
The government of the UK has promised EUR 388 million to finance vaccine research, tests, and procedures. Scientists at the Jenner Institute of Oxford University have declared to have made a potential vaccine for coronavirus. The vaccine is being produced with many partners including the Serum Institute of India.
More than 30 vaccines are in different stages of development in India, scientists notified Prime Minister Narendra Modi on May 5, 2020. University of Oxford's vaccine is also being produced with multiple partners including India's Serum Institute of India. The WHO report states that out of the 100 projects under pre-clinical stages, many Indian organizations like Zydus Cadila, Codagenix-Serum Institute of India, Indian Immunologicals along with Griffith University, Bharat Biotech in partnership with Thomas Jefferson University, Biological E Ltd, and the UW Madison-FluGen-Bharat Biotech combine are all working on developing a potential vaccine to treat COVID-19.
Russia became the first nation to develop the COVID-19 vaccine named Sputnik-V. The vaccine is developed by Russia's Gamaleya National Research Center of Epidemiology and Microbiology and the Russian Direct Investment Fund (RDIF). Sputnik-V has passed all the tests and is generally available to the public. Sputnik-V vaccine is based on the previously existing human adenoviral-vector platform where inactivated adenoviruses perform as vectors or vehicles, transferring genetic material from S-protein, which forms the spike of coronavirus into a human cell to cause an immune response. Clinical trials showed that 100% of volunteers developed immunity within 21 days. After the second vaccination, the immune response was extra boosted and given long-lasting immunity. All the volunteers are feeling well and no unforeseen or unwanted side effects were seen. Not a single participant in the clinical trials has exposed COVID-19 after being given the vaccine.
Experts say that the coronavirus could transform out to be seasonal, like cold and the flu.