Coronavirus Vaccines Under Development
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Coronavirus Vaccines Under Development Currently Around The World

Since the first outbreak of the deadly COVID-19 infection caused by the novel coronavirus, researchers worldwide have been working ceaselessly to understand the virus and find a vaccine against the virus causing the COVID-19 pandemic, the SARS-CoV-2 virus. According to the estimation by experts, if the vaccine development process goes smoothly from conception to market availability, a successful vaccine candidate could be officially launched to market in approximately 12-18 months.

Scientists have used various innovative platforms for developing a COVID-19 vaccine such as recombinant protein, nucleic acid (DNA and RNA), live attenuated virus and inactivated virus, peptide, virus-like particle, replicating and non-replicating viral vector approaches. Each of these vaccine candidates attaches either directly or indirectly onto the spike protein of the SARS-CoV-2 virus.

In order to accelerate the whole process, there have been various collaborations to manage the global crisis, such as the COVAX Facility, part of the World Health Organization’s (WHO) Access to COVID-19 Tools (ACT) Accelerator, headed by the World Health Organization (WHO), the Global Alliance for Vaccines and Immunisation (GAVI), and the Coalition for Epidemic Preparedness Innovations (CEPI); the Operation Warp Speed (OWS) collaboration, which includes several US federal government

departments; among other collaborations.

Currently, there are more than 150 COVID-19 vaccine candidates that are in development across the world. To date, only the COVID-19 vaccine developed by the Gamaleya Research Institute in Moscow, the Sputnik V vaccine has been approved for commercial use. However, given it has not yet entered Phase 3 clinical trials, experts have raised considerable concern about the vaccine’s safety and efficacy.

The Top 10 COVID-19 vaccine candidates currently in Phase 1-3 trials among all the  Coronavirus Vaccines Under Development Currently Around The World are as follows:

Coronavirus Vaccines Under Development

1. University of Oxford/AstraZeneca

Vaccine Name: ChAdOx1 nCoV-19
Phase: Phase I/II, III
Country: United Kingdom

The University of Oxford’s Jenner Institute, in collaboration with the biopharmaceutical company AstraZeneca, has developed the COVID-19 vaccine candidate named AZD1222, formerly known as ChAdOx1 nCoV-19. It is made from a genetically modified and weakened version of a common cold virus (adenovirus) that causes infections in chimpanzees. It is a replication-deficient viral vector vaccine. The candidate is jointly developed by AstraZeneca and the Serum Institute of India in India, where it goes by the name Covishield.

One month after a single dose of AZD1222 during the vaccine candidate’s phase 1/2 study, it was seen that it resulted in a 4-fold increase in antibodies to the SARS-CoV-2 virus spike protein in 95% of participants. Currently, the Phase 3 trials of the vaccine candidate involving around 30,000 adult volunteers are being conducted at 80 sites in the United States and in study sites in India.

Coronavirus Vaccines Under Development

2. CanSino Biological Inc.

Vaccine Name: Ad5-nCoV
Phase: Phase I, II, III
Country: China

A Chinese biopharmaceutical company, CanSino Biological Inc., has developed its vaccine candidate  (Ad5)-nCoV, a recombinant COVID-19 vaccine developed upon CanSinoBIO’s adenovirus-based viral vector vaccine technology platform, incorporating the adenovirus type 5 vector. The vaccine candidate introduces the SARS-CoV-2 spike protein to the body using a weakened version of the adenovirus as a vehicle.

From Phase 1 and Phase 2 studies, it was observed that the Ad5 vectored COVID-19 vaccine at 28 days post-vaccination is tolerable and immunogenic. In healthy adults, at day 28 post-vaccination, humoral responses against SARS-CoV-2 peaked, and from day 14 post-vaccination, rapid, specific T-cell responses were noted. Currently, the company is conducting the Phase 3 clinical trial for Ad5-nCoV in several countries.

Coronavirus Vaccines Under Development

3. Gamaleya Research Institute

Vaccine Name: Sputnik V
Phase: Phase I, III
Country: Russia

The Russian research institution, Gamaleya Research Institute, in collaboration with the state-run Russian Direct Investment Fund, has developed the COVID-19 vaccine named Sputnik V. Using a weakened version of two strains of the common cold-causing adenovirus, the Adeno-based (rAd26-S+rAd5-S) non-replicating viral vector vaccine introduces the SARS-CoV-2 spike protein to the body. It has been reported that in order to boost the immune response, a second injection after 21 days is required.

Russia has claimed this as the first registered COVID-19 vaccine on the market and has cleared the Sputnik V vaccine for widespread use, despite the lack of published evidence.


4. Janssen Pharmaceutical Companies

Coronavirus Vaccines Under Development

Vaccine Name: Ad26COVS1
Phase:  Phase I/II, III
Country: Belgium

Collaborating with a teaching hospital of Harvard Medical School, Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center, the research team from Johnson and Johnson (J&J) and Janssen Pharmaceutical have developed their COVID-19 vaccine candidate Ad26.COV2-S (Ad26COVS1) (JNJ-78436735) after constructing and testing multiple vaccine candidates using the Janssen AdVac® technology.

Recent study reports states that elicited binding and neutralizing antibody responses in hamsters infected with high-dose intranasal SARS-CoV-2 infection were seen with a single immunization with an adenovirus serotype 26 vector-based vaccine expressing a stabilized SARS-CoV-2 spike protein and also protected against SARS-CoV-2-induced mortality, pneumonia, and weight loss. Currently, a large phase 3 study has been launched in Brazil to study the Ad26.COV2-S COVID-19 vaccine candidate.

Coronavirus Vaccines Under Development

5. Sinovac

Vaccine Name: CoronaVac
Phase: Phase I/II, II, III
Country: China

The Chinese biopharmaceutical company, Sinovac, has developed a COVID-19 vaccine candidate based on an inactivated pathogen, CoronaVac, in collaboration with Brazilian research center Butantan. It uses a non-infectious version of the coronavirus as it is an inactivated COVID-19 vaccine candidate.

Fourteen days after the vaccination with a 0 and 14-day schedule, the vaccine candidate was shown to induce neutralizing antibodies in Phase 2 clinical trial. It was confirmed that the vaccine candidate could induce a positive immune response as the neutralizing antibody seroconversion rate was noted to be above 90%. Sinovac was given the approval to conduct the Phase 3 clinical trials and involves 9,000 healthcare professionals in Brazil, along with the trials conducted in Bangladesh and Indonesia.

6. Sinopharm/ Wuhan Institute of Biological Products

Vaccine Name: None
Phase: Phase I/II, III
Country: China

Sinopharm, China’s state-run pharmaceutical company, developed a vaccine in association with the Wuhan Institute of Biological Products. A vaccine based on inactivated coronavirus is being developed by Sinopharm, and they expect to release the vaccine for civilian use by the end of 2020. The vaccine has shown to trigger an antibody response in humans with no serious adverse effects in the preliminary findings from two randomized trials. However, the study has not measured immune responses mediated by T cells.

China started introducing the vaccine into high-risk groups and medical workers in July. It was the first experimental vaccine available to civilians other than clinical volunteers. The first phase 3 trials of the vaccine began in the United Arab Emirates in July among 15,000 volunteers—aged 18 to 60. The company is also planning to conduct phase 3 trials in Bahrain and Peru.

7. Beijing Institute of Biological Products/Sinopharm

Vaccine Name: BBIBP-CorV
Phase: Phase I/II, III
Country: China

Sinopharm developed a candidate coronavirus vaccine named BBIBP-CorV in collaboration with the Beijing Institute of Biological Products. The vaccine is based on inactivated SARS-CoV-2 virus strain inside Vero cells. Studies showed the vaccine to generate neutralizing antibodies in several mammalian species and found efficient in providing protection against the coronavirus in rhesus macaques. Currently, phase 3 clinical trials of the vaccine are underway.

Coronavirus Vaccines Under Development

8. NIAID/ Moderna

Vaccine Name: mRNA-1273
Phase: Phase I, II, III
Country: United States

Moderna Therapeutics, a biotech company in Massachusetts, is developing a COVID-19 vaccine named mRNA-1273 in collaboration with the National Institutes of Health’s National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases (NIAID). The vaccine candidate relies on introducing snippets of the SARS-CoV-2 virus’s genetic material into human cells. In this case, it is the mRNA. Once inside the cell, the viral mRNA generates proteins that resemble that of the SARS-CoV-2 virus and train the human immune system to detect its presence. This would be the first mRNA based vaccine approved for use in humans since this technology was never licensed for any other disease.

Phase 3 human trials of the vaccine began in July. Preliminary results from the trial have shown the capability of the vaccine in generating antibodies and T cell response. The vaccine trial will be conducted in around 30,000 U.S. participants. They expect to deliver the vaccine by the beginning of 2021.

9. BioNTech/Pfizer

Vaccine Name: BNT162b2

Phase: Phase I/II, III
Country: Germany

Pfizer, one of the world’s largest pharmaceutical companies, is developing a COVID-19 vaccine named BNT162b2, in collaboration with BioNTech, a German biotech company. It is an mRNA based vaccine developed based on BioNTech’s technology they previously used in cancer vaccines. If the drug is approved, Pfizer will deliver 100 million doses of the vaccine to the US by December 2020.

The companies enrolled a diverse population in areas with significant COVID-19 transmission to conduct the combined phase 2 and phase 3 trials. The vaccine will be tested in 30,000 people from Argentina, Germany, Brazil, and the US. The vaccine has been shown to produce T cell responses and antibodies specific to novel coronavirus in the preliminary data from phase one/two trials.

Coronavirus Vaccines Under Development

10. Novavax

Vaccine Name: NVX-CoV2373
Phase: Phase I/II, II
Country: United States

Novavax, an American vaccine development company, developed its COVID-19 candidate vaccine NVX-CoV2373. They used recombinant nanoparticle technology to produce antigen derived from the SARS-CoV-2 spike protein. NVX-CoV2373 in combination with its proprietary Matrix-M™ adjuvant has shown to bind effectively to the human cell receptors targeted by the SARS-CoV-2 virus generating an immune response in the human body.

Novavax began the phase 2 clinical trials of its vaccine NVX-CoV2373 in August 2020. They will study the safety and immunogenicity of the vaccine in 1,500 volunteers aged 18 to 84 across the US and Australia. Results from the phase 2 trials are expected by the fourth quarter of 2020.

COVID-19 Vaccine Candidate From India
Coronavirus Vaccines Under Development

Bharat Biotech

Vaccine Name: COVAXIN
Phase: Phase I/II
Country: India

The Indian biotechnology company Bharat Biotech developed India’s first indigenous coronavirus vaccine named COVAXIN in association with the Indian Council of Medical Research (ICMR) and the National Institute of Virology (NIV). Their vaccine candidate is a whole-virion inactivated vaccine developed from an Indian strain of the SARS-CoV-2 virus.

Bharat Biotech received approval from the Drugs Controller General of India (DCGI) for phase I & II Human Clinical Trials and the trials of the vaccine began in July 2020 across India. The company is hoping to commence phase 3 trials soon.

According to the World Health Organization, 38 COVID-19 candidate vaccines are under clinical evaluation around the globe, among which nine are at phase 3 stage of the clinical trials. Apart from the vaccines listed above, vaccines from companies including Anhui Zhifei Longcom Biopharmaceutical, Curevac, Chinese Academy of Medical Sciences, Inovio Pharmaceuticals, and Sanofi Pasteur, are also under clinical evaluation.

Author: Namitha Thampi & Prathibha HC

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