Coronavirus vaccine update: AstraZeneca, Modena leading the race, says WHO


Coronavirus vaccine latest update: The University of Oxford and AstraZeneca Plc.’s experimental vaccine is the first to enter the final stages of clinical trial. Catch latest updates on Covid vaccine

Published on Business Standard

Coronavirus Vaccine | Coronavirus | Lockdown

BS Web Team  |  New Delhi Last Updated at June 27, 2020 09:11 IST



The World Health Organization (WHO) recorded over 150,000 cases of coronavirus in a single day on June 22. With this, the total number of coronavirus cases globally crossed the 9-million mark. Dr Soumya Swaminathan, the chief scientist at WHO, said nearly 2 billion doses of the Covid-19 vaccine would be ready by the end of next year. However, many scientists still predict that a safe and effective vaccine against SARS-CoV-2, the virus that causes Covid-19, could take 12-18 months to develop. Last month, global pharmaceutical major Pfizer said it believed a vaccine to prevent Covid-19 could be ready by the end of October. After admitting that the world may have a Covid-19 vaccine within one year or even a few months earlier, the World Health Organization (WHO) on Friday said that UK-based AstraZeneca is leading the vaccine race while US-based pharmaceutical major Moderan is not far behind. Swaminathan stated that the AstraZeneca’s coronavirus vaccine candidate is the most advanced vaccine currently in terms of development.

There are currently over 100 vaccines at various stages of trials.

Coronavirus treatment: Here are updates on coronavirus vaccine/drug development:

1. Moderna picks drugmaker Catalent to manufacture potential coronavirus vaccine

Moderna Inc is partnering with contract drugmaker Catalent Inc for filling and packaging millions of doses of its experimental coronavirus vaccine to be supplied in the United States.

The vaccine, among the first to be tested in humans in the United States, was found to produce protective antibodies in a small group of healthy volunteers.

Under the deal, Catalent will provide manufacturing services for an initial 100 million doses starting in the third quarter at its facility in Bloomington, Indiana.

It will also provide other packaging and labeling, storage and distribution services at its facilities

2. Patanjali followed all procedures to manufacture Covid-19 drug, says Balkrishna

Acharya Balkrishna, Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of Patanjali, said that all procedures were followed to manufacture the medicine, Coronil, and they have not done anything wrong while obtaining the licence.

“We have not done anything wrong while obtaining the licence. We did not advertise the medicine (Coronil), we just tried to tell people about the effects of the medicine,” he added.

This comes after MoS for the Union Ayush Ministry Shripad Naik said that Patanjali Ayurved should not have advertised its newly-launched ayurvedic drugs for Covid-19 before getting final approvals. Patanjali Ayurved on Tuesday launched ‘Coronil and Swasari’ claiming it to be Ayurvedic cure for treating Covid-19 and said clinical trials have shown favourable results.

3. Oxford University-AstraZeneca Covid-19 vaccine status

The University of Oxford and AstraZeneca Plc.’s experimental vaccine is the first to enter the final stages of clinical trials to assess how well it works in protecting people from becoming infected by the virus that causes the coronavirus disease (Covid-19), which has infected 9.4 million and killed 480,000 globally since late December.

The ChAdOx1 nCoV-19 vaccine, which has been licenced to AstraZeneca, will be given to 10,260 adults and children in the next stage in the UK.

4. Human trial begins of Imperial College London’s candidate Covid-19 vaccine

The human trial of Imperial College London’s candidate coronavirus vaccine began on Tuesday with the first healthy volunteer receiving a small dose of it.

It is a second such trial in the UK. The first candidate vaccine that went for the human trial was from Oxford University.

The clinical team, which delivered a small dose of the vaccine to the participant at a West London facility, is closely monitoring the participant and report that they are in good health with no safety concerns, said the college in a press release.

5. GSK’s quest: Being the best, not first, in race for coronavirus vaccine

There has been a notable name missing from the frontrunners in the race to test experimental immunisation against the novel coronavirus: the world’s largest vaccine maker GlaxoSmithKline. GSK, which is in seven collaborations with institutions or firms globally, only entered the clinical trial stage with one project on Friday

British group’s chief medical officer for vaccines Thomas Breuer said,”We want to be best in class, and if others are a little faster I will congratulate them because they can take care of maybe the healthcare workers in selected countries, but the world needs billions of doses and we will contribute to this effort,” Breuer told Reuters.

6. Coronavirus treatment: Covid-19 drug remdesivir

a. Glenmark drug favipiravir hits market, priced at Rs 103 a pill

Oral antiviral drug favipiravir, which is used to treat patients with mild to moderate Covid-19 infection, will now be available in the Indian market under the brand name FabiFlu at Rs 103 per tablet. Glenmark Pharmaceuticals secured the drug regulator’s nod on Friday to manufacture and market the drug in India.

The drug has shown promise in multiple global studies, with reduction in viral load, faster fever resolution, and faster clinical recovery.

In India, the drug will be sold at retail chemist outlets as well as hospitals.

b. Hetero to launch Covid drug Remdesivir under brand name Covifor in India

Hyderabad-based Hetero Labs on Sunday said it had received regulatory approval to manufacture and market antiviral drug remdesivir for treating coronavirus patients.

Hetero’s generic version of remdesivir will be marketed under the brand name ‘Covifor’ in India, said the company after getting approval from the Drug Controller General of India (DCGI).

c. Cipla launches generic remdesivir under brand name Cipremi

Cipla Ltd announced the launch of its generic version of remdesivir, which has been authorised for emergency use in treatment of Covid-19 patients by the USFDA, under its brand name Cipremi.

7. Coronavirus vaccine: Chinese vaccine may not be ready for sale until at least 2021

coronavirus vaccine candidate China is developing may not be ready for sale until at least 2021, as researchers struggle to move into large-scale human trials in the country because of a lack of new infections, a senior company executive said.

More than 10 experimental vaccines are being tested in humans globally as scientists race to protect against the novel coronavirus that has killed more than 450,000 people.

But none of them has yet passed late-stage phase 3 trials that require thousands of participants to determine a vaccine candidate’s effectiveness.

China, where the virus first originated last year, saw less than 10 new local cases reported daily on average in May, making it less favourable for a late-stage clinical trial.

“We hope we can launch more international cooperations and conduct a multiple-centre phase 3 clinical study to help bring the vaccine to the market,” China National Biotec Group’s (CNBG) vice president Zhang Yutao told state media China News Service.

8. Coronavirus vaccine: CSIR gets nod for phase III trials of antiviral drug Umifenovir

Council of Scientific and Industrial Research (CSIR)-constituent lab CSIR-Central Drug Research Institute (CDRI) in Lucknow has received permission to carry out Phase III trial of antiviral drug Umifenovir.

Umifenovir is mainly used for treatment of influenza and is available in China and Russia, and has recently come into prominence due to its potential use for Covid19 patients.

9. Polio vaccine for Covid-19 testable’, say scientists

Indian scientists have responded cautiously to a suggestion by global researchers that the oral polio vaccine be tested for Covid-19, saying it is a testable idea based on a sound scientific concept but may offer only limited protection against the infection.

With a vaccine for Covid-19 at least a year away, scientists say repurposing already safe and effective vaccines is the way to go for immediate relief against Covid-19. The repurposed vaccines could includethe oral polio vaccine (OPV) and the Bacillus CalmetteGuerin (BCG)used against tuberculosis, both part of the immunisation given to Indian children.

It is worth conducting a clinical trial, said Ram Vishwakarma, director of the CSIR-Indian Institute of Integrative Medicine (CSIR-IIIM) in Jammu.

10. Russia starts clinical trials of coronavirus vaccine

Clinical trials of a Russian coronavirus vaccine have started Wednesday, the Health Ministry said in a statement.

Two forms of the vaccine developed by the Moscow-based Gamaleya research institute liquid and powder for injections will be tested on two groups of volunteers, 38 people each, the statement said. The participants will be isolated in two Moscow hospitals.

The Gamaleya institute made headlines last month when its director, professor Alexander Gintsburg, made a statement that he and other researchers had tried the vaccine on themselves before the start of human studies.

11. CureVac’s experimental coronavirus vaccine

Unlisted biotech firm CureVac has become the second company after rival BioNTech to launch human trials of an experimental coronavirus vaccine in Germany, eyeing potential regulatory approval in mid-2021.

BioNTech, Novavax, Sinovac, CanSino Biologics and Inovio Pharmaceuticals are among those leading the fight against coornavirus.

How can a person contact coronavirus?

The health agencies have so far identified respiratory-droplet contact as the major mode of Covid-19 transmission. These large fluid droplets can transfer virus from one person to another if they land on the eyes, nose or mouth. But they tend to fall to the ground or on other surfaces pretty quickly. According to some researchers, the new coronavirus can also be transmitted through aerosols, or minuscule droplets that float in the air longer than large droplets. These aerosols can be directly inhaled.

Crowded events, poorly ventilated areas and places where people are talking loudly- or singing, in one famous case – maximize the risk of contracting Covid-19 disease, according to growing consensus about the central question.