Oxford, Wuhan Covid vaccines promise immunity
NEW DELHI [Maha Media]: In a major breakthrough, the early-stage human trial data has revealed that the coronavirus vaccine candidate developed by AstraZeneca and Oxford University is safe. German biotech firm BioNTech and US drugmaker Pfizer also reported that their experimental Covid-19 vaccine was safe and induced an immune response in patients. The latest developments raise hope as these could contribute to ending the pandemic, which has infected over 14.7 million people worldwide and claimed over 600,000 lives so far. More than 150 possible vaccines are being developed and tested around the world, including in India, Britain, China, the US, Russia and Israel to try to stop the pandemic. At present, 23 vaccine candidates are in human clinical trials. These include those of Moderna, AstraZeneca Plc, BioNTech, Novavax, Sinovac, CanSino Biologics and Inovio Pharmaceuticals.
Updates on coronavirus vaccine/drug development:
1. Oxford coronavirus vaccine update: Vaccine safe, gives immunity
The early-stage human trial data has revealed that the Covid-19 vaccine candidate developed by AstraZeneca and Oxford University is safe and induces immune response, with mild side effects in some participants, which scientists say can be treated with the commonly available pain medication paracetamol.
The preliminary results of the Phase-I and -II trials, published in The Lancet journal, involved 1,107 healthy adults, and found that the vaccine induced an immune response, both via antibodies and the T-cells of the immune system, up to day 56 of the ongoing trial.
Oxford had in April announced an agreement with the UK-based global biopharmaceutical company AstraZeneca for further development, large-scale manufacture and potential distribution of this Covid-19 vaccine candidate.
While the Phase-I trial of the vaccine candidate began in April itself, the Phase-II and -III UK trials of the Oxford vaccine, named AZD1222, in about 10,000 adult volunteers, was announced in May.
2. Coronavirus vaccine update: Pfizer-BioNTech potential Covid-19 vaccine shows promise
German biotech firm BioNTech and US drugmaker Pfizer also reported on July 20 that their experimental Covid-19 vaccine was safe and induced an immune response in patients. The companies said the data also demonstrated an induction of high level of T-cell responses against the novel coronavirus.
3. 'Russia’s coronavirus vaccine to be available for public by next month'
Russia’s health minister Mikhail Murashko has revealed that the vaccine that his country is currently developing to prevent Covid-19 will be available for public consumption by next month after it completes the last stage of clinical trials.
According to a Bloomberg report, Kirill Dmitriev, chief executive of the government-backed Russian Direct Investment Fund (RDIF), said that the Phase-III trials would begin on August 3 in Russia, the United Arab Emirates, and Saudi Arabia.
Russia will mass-produce the vaccine, around 30 million doses domestically in 2020, and 170 million for export. Five countries had already shown interest in helping Russia with the mass production, Dmitriev said.
Recently, Russia’s Sechenov University had announced that it had completed clinical trials of a Covid-19 vaccine, developed by Russian defense ministry’s Gamalei Institute of Epidemiology and Microbiology.
4. Chinese coronavirus vaccine update
A China-made coronavirus vaccine could be ready for market as early as the end of this year, China’s State-owned Assets Supervision and Administration Commission(SASAC) said in a social media post. In trials, more than 2,000 people have received vaccines developed by the Wuhan Institute of Biological Products and the Beijing Institute of Biological Products. A vaccine could be ready for the market as early as the end of this year or early 2021, according to the May 29 post on Chinese social media platform WeChat.
Vaccines from the Wuhan Institute of Biological Products and the Beijing Institute of Biological Products had entered Phase II clinical trials. Both groups are affiliated with state-owned pharmaceutical group Sinopharm, whose management is overseen by SASAC.
5. Coronavirus vaccine in India: AIIMS-Delhi begins recruiting volunteers for Covaxin human trials
AIIMS-Delhi has begun the process of recruiting volunteers for conducting human clinical trials of the indigenously developed Covid-19 vaccine candidate Covaxin, the premier medical institute's director Dr Randeep Guleria said.
He also said that there is not much evidence of community transmission of Covid-19 happening at the national level.
AIIMS-Delhi is among the 12 sites selected by the Indian Council for Medical Research (ICMR) for conducting Phase I and II randomised, double-blind and placebo-controlled clinical trials of Covaxin.
In phase I, the vaccine would be tested on 375 volunteers and 100 of them, the highest, would be from AIIMS. The second phase, would include around 750 volunteers from all 12 sites put together.
6. SII to apply for Oxford vaccine trials in India
The Serum Institute of India (SII) will soon apply to the Indian regulator for the licensure trials of the AstraZeneca-Oxford Covid vaccine. Commenting on the AstraZeneca-Oxford vaccine's results, Adar Poonawalla, CEO, Serum Institute of India, said, "The trials have shown promising results and we are extremely happy about it. We will be applying for the licensure trials to the Indian regulator in a week's time. As soon as they grant us permission, we will begin with trials for the vaccine in India. In addition, we will soon start manufacturing the vaccine in large volumes."
7. Moderna expects to start late-stage Covid-19 vaccine trial on July 27
Moderna Inc plans to start a late stage clinical trial for its Covid-19 vaccine candidate on or around July 27, according to its listing for the phase 3 study at clinicaltrials.gov.
Moderna said it will conduct the trial at 87 study locations, all in the United States.
The experimental vaccine will be tested in 30 states and Washington, D.C. Around half of the study locations are in hard-hit states like Texas, California, Florida, Georgia, Arizona and North and South Carolina.
8. Zydus begins human trials for potential coronavirus vaccine
Indian pharmaceutical company Zydus said it has started human studies for its potential Covid-19 vaccine. ZyCoV-D, its plasmid DNA vaccine, was found to be safe, immunogenic and well-tolerated in the pre-clinical toxicity studies, Zydus said. In the human trials, Zydus will enrol over 1,000 subjects across multiple clinical study sites in India.
9. Coronavirus vaccine race: Novavax gets $1.6 billion in US funding
The US government has awarded Novavax Inc $1.6 billion to cover testing and manufacturing of a potential vaccine for the novel coronavirus in the United States, with the aim of delivering 100 million doses by January. Novavax is somewhat of a dark horse in the race for a coronavirus vaccine. The company was not on the list of vaccine finalists for Warp Speed previously reported by the New York Times that included Moderna, AstraZeneca, Pfizer Inc, J&J and Merck & Co.
10. Bharat Biotech starts human trial at PGI-Rohtak
Haryana Health Minister Anil Vij on Friday said that human trial of a vaccine against novel coronavirus has begun at the Post Graduate Institute of Medical Sciences in Rohtak.
Human trial of COVAXIN of Bharat Biotech has started at PGIMES, Rohtak, Vij tweeted.
"Three subjects enrolled for the trial have tolerated the vaccine very well. There were no adverse effects," he added.
Although it is still unclear which if any of the vaccines will ultimately prove effective against the virus, Britain and other rich countries are already investing in the vaccines to ensure there is enough manufacturing capacity to deliver any successful candidate. Vaccines typically take years to develop and more than a dozen are in the early stages of testing globally.