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Intensifying competition for COVID-19 vaccine




COVID-19 vaccine

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Dozens of companies, from biotechnology start-ups to big pharma, are competing to develop safe and effective COVID-19 vaccines. This is because the world needs it and seeks potential payday.

This is the latest information on the quest for magic bullets against. It has already killed more than 1 million people worldwide.

How many are there in the pipeline?

The World Health Organization (WHO) has identified 42 “candidate vaccines” in the next phase. , Increased from 11 in mid-June.

Ten of them are in the most advanced “Phase 3” stage, where vaccine efficacy is extensively tested, with tens of thousands in general on some continents.

European projects led by US biotechnology companies Moderna, BioNTech and Pfizer’s US-German collaboration, several state-owned Chinese laboratories, Oxford University and AstraZeneca are considered more promising. Russia has already registered two COVID-19 vaccines, even before clinical trials are completed.

US pharmaceutical giant Pfizer announced on Friday that it would apply for an emergency vaccine license in the United States in late November if safety data spread.

Other clinical trials are still in Phase 1 or 2, and another 156 is in preclinical.

What kind of vaccine?

Some methods for making vaccines have been proven, but others remain experimental.

Inactivated “classical” vaccines use killed viral bacteria, while other vaccines use attenuated or “attenuated” strains that are toxic enough to induce antibodies but not cause disease. ..

So-called “subunit” vaccines contain fragments of pathogens that are derived to provoke an appropriate immune response.

“Viral vector” varieties use other forms of live virus to deliver DNA to human cells, eliciting an immune response.

For example, a measles virus modified with a coronavirus protein can be deployed against COVID-19.

There are also experimental gene-based vaccines that use DNA or RNA fragments.

What will the result be?

To date, only the results of Phase 1 and Phase 2 trials have been published in peer-reviewed medical journals.

On Friday, a vaccine developed by the Chinese company Sinopharm It was published in The Lancet.

Similar studies in recent weeks have reported one of the Russian vaccines, along with vaccines from Oxford University, Chinese companies CanSino and Moderna.

It’s encouraging, but it’s too early to say if these vaccines work. Two trials — Made by Johnson & Johnson and Eli Lilly-Recently “paused” due to safety concerns.

But that’s not necessarily bad news, said Stephen Evans, a professor of pharmacoepidemiology at the London School of Economics and Tropical Medicine.

“The fact that the test is suspended should give us confidence that the entire process of monitoring the safety of test participants is working well,” he said.

Recent cases in which a recovered COVID patient is infected with a new strain for the second time also raises the question of how long the vaccine will last.

Speed ​​and safety

Government-backed companies in China, Russia and the United States are competing to be the first to cross the finish line.

In early August, Russian President Vladimir Putin declared victory and announced the deployment of the Sputnik V vaccine before Phase 3. It was starting.

However, few takers outside Russia, experts dismissed the announcement prematurely.

Donald Trump promised a vaccine before the November 3 elections, but it’s unlikely he could offer it.

Earlier this month, the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) said it needed to review two months of follow-up data after vaccination and before granting an emergency license.

And on Friday, Pfizer Not ready until mid-November.

“The difference between the COVID-19 vaccine is that due to public health emergencies, development speed and potential approval are much faster,” said the European Medicines Agency.

But even that urgent need cannot overcome the rules.

“Before approval, all European Union vaccines are rated at the same high levels as other medicines,” the agency said in a statement.

Follow the latest news about the outbreak of coronavirus (COVID-19)

© 2020 AFP

Quote: Intensifying competition for COVID-19 vaccine (October 16, 2020) Obtained from October 16, 2020

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