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Coronavirus (Covid-19) vaccine status check: GSK booster shot enters clinical trials; Clover starts human tests

Coronavirus (Covid-19) Vaccine Latest Update: Vaccines developed by Moderna Inc, China's Sinovac Biotech and UK's Oxford-AstraZeneca are set to enter late-stage trials in July and subject to large-scale studies.

By: Express Web Desk | New Delhi |
Updated: June 23, 2020 6:33:41 am
Pakistan targets ambitious growth, revenue despite coronavirus struggles Coronavirus (Covid-19) Vaccine Latest Update: A health worker takes blood sample of a boy during door-to-door testing and screening facility for the coronavirus. (AP)

Coronavirus (Covid-19) Vaccine Latest Update: Even as the Covid-19 pandemic has set off an unprecedented response from the global scientific community to find a vaccine, according the World Health Organization’s latest count, 13 experimental jabs are being tested in humans and more than 120 others are in earlier stages of development.

Biotechnology and pharmaceutical companies, including AstraZeneca Plc and Moderna Inc, have been ramping up production and promising supplies of millions of doses of their experimental vaccines before the year end.

Meanwhile, a sixth Covid-19 vaccine from China has begun human trials while German company CureVac said the first results of its vaccine could be available in September or October.

Explained: How close are we to a Covid-19 vaccine? What is the testing process?

WHO Chief Scientist Dr Soumya Swaminathan said she expected hundreds of millions of doses of a Covid-19 vaccine this year and 2 billion doses by the end of 2021. “At the moment we do not have a proven vaccine but if we are lucky, there will be one of two successful candidates before the end of this year and 2 billion doses by the end of next year,” she said while addressing the media from Geneva.

Coronavirus (Covid-19) vaccines status check, latest updates

💉 GlaxoSmithKline coronavirus vaccine status

Even though Oxford-AstraZeneca and Moderna may have grabbed headlines for the fast progress with their candidates, the world’s largest vaccine maker GlaxoSmithKline (GSK) only entered the clinical trial stage with one project on Friday.

GlaxoSmithKline’s chief medical officer for vaccines Thomas Breuer said the company preferred the slow and steady approach of focusing on an established technology that had the best chance of reaching the widest possible demographic, Reuters reported.

GSK is working on a so-called “adjuvant”, an efficacy booster that is combined with more traditional vaccines.
Breuer said vaccines developed later, and adjuvant technology, might have longer or better efficacy, especially in the elderly.

The company plans to produce 1 billion doses of the efficacy boosters for Covid-19 shots next year. GSK has contributed its adjuvant to alliances involving Chinese biotech firms Clover Biopharmaceuticals, Xiamen Innovax and Chongqing Zhifei, as well as the University of Queensland in Australia and Sanofi.

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💉 Clover Biopharmaceuticals coronavirus vaccine status

Clover Biopharmaceuticals has said the first participants have been dosed with its COVID-19 S-Trimer sub-unit vaccine candidate (SCB-2019) in the Phase 1 first-in-human study. The development makes it the sixth Chinese developer of a potential Covid-19 vaccine to move into human trials.

Clover’s trial, which is enrolling about 150 adult and elderly patients, will evaluate two different boosters, or adjuvants, from Britain’s GSK and US-based Dynavax in combination with its candidate shot, SCB-2019, Reuters quoted the Chinese company as saying.

The study is being conducted at Linear Clinical Research in Perth, Australia. The trial and Clover’s COVID-19 vaccine program is being supported by the funding and collaboration with the Coalition for Epidemic Preparedness Innovations (CEPI).

Clover said initial safety data from its study was expected in August this year, and it would aim to start broader studies by year end. Its vaccine is based on proteins called antigens that will be taken in combination with the adjuvants.

💉 Institute of Medical Biology coronavirus vaccine status

An inactivated Covid-19 vaccine candidate developed by the Institute of Medical Biology under the Chinese Academy of Medical Sciences has entered phase-2 clinical trials in China, according to a report in the Science and Technology Daily. The phase-2 trials are being conducted in the southwestern province of Yunnan.

The Institute of Medical Biology had started the phase-1 clinical trials in May, where nearly 200 volunteers aged between 18 and 59 received the vaccine.

A Covid-19 vaccine manufacturing plant of the institute in Kunming will be put into use in the second half of 2020, according to the report.

The institute has developed and produced attenuated live vaccines and inactivated vaccines against polio.

Coronavirus (Covid-19) Vaccine Latest Update: Clinical trial participants are given a coronavirus vaccine in Melbourne, Australia. (AP)

💉 Israel coronavirus vaccine status

The Israel Institute for Biological Research has claimed it had completed successful coronavirus vaccine trials on rodents, according to a report in The Times of Israel. Researchers said they hope to have a finished vaccine in a year, or possibly even earlier.

The vaccine, which was tested on hamsters, “results in rapid and potent induction of neutralizing antibodies against SARS-CoV-2”, the report said.

“Importantly, single-dose vaccination was able to protect hamsters against SARS-CoV-2 challenge, as demonstrated by the abrogation of body weight loss of the immunized hamsters compared to unvaccinated hamsters,” researchers wrote in the report.

While the lungs of infected hamsters showed extensive tissue damage and a high viral load, the report said that those given the vaccine “showed only minor lung pathology” and had no viral titre.

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💉 MMR coronavirus vaccine status

US researchers have claimed that the measles, mumps and rubella (MMR) vaccine might offer extra protection against Covid-19 and proposed conducting of clinical trials.

In a paper published in mBio, the researchers suggested that the MMR vaccine could help reduce septic inflammation associated with Covid-19 infection.

“A clinical trial with MMR in high-risk populations may provide a low-risk-high-reward preventive measure in saving lives during the Covid-19 pandemic,” said Dr Paul Fidel, Associate Dean for Research at Louisiana State University Health School of Dentistry.

Live attenuated vaccines like the MMR vaccine, which contain a weakened form of the germ that causes a disease, can potentially bolster the body’s response to unrelated future infections, experts have opined.

Live attenuated vaccines induce nonspecific effects representing “trained innate immunity” by training leukocyte (immune system cells) precursors in the bone marrow to function more effectively against broader infectious insults.

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