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Coronavirus (Covid-19) vaccines latest updates: Covaxin to be tested on 375 people in Phase I; Moderna delays final phase trials

Coronavirus (Covid-19) Vaccine Latest Update: Besides Sinovac, the vaccines developed by AstraZeneca-University of Oxford and Sinopharm are the only other jabs in late-stage trials.

By: Express Web Desk | New Delhi |
Updated: July 8, 2020 7:48:00 am
Coronavirus (Covid-19) Vaccine Latest Update: A volunteer receives a COVID-19 test vaccine injection developed at the University of Oxford in Britain, at the Chris Hani Baragwanath hospital in Soweto, Johannesburg. (AP)

Coronavirus (Covid-19) Vaccine Latest Update: China’s Sinovac Biotech has become the latest company to start Phase III trials of its coronavirus vaccine candidate in Brazil following a fast-track approval by regulators last week.

So far, the vaccine candidates being developed by AstraZeneca-University of Oxford and China National Pharmaceutical Group (Sinopharm) are the only other jabs in late-stage trials. Moderna also plans to start its late-stage trial this month.

According to the World Health Organisation (WHO), there are 19 vaccine candidates currently in the clinical evaluation as of July 6. India’s own vaccine development efforts has gained pace, with Bharat Biotech planning to complete enrollment of Phase I trial participants by July 13 for its candidate Covaxin.

However, amid the race for a Covid-19 vaccine, top US infectious disease expert Anthony Fauci has cautioned that a shot to protect against the infection won’t work like the measles vaccine, which lasts throughout a person’s lifetime.

“You can assume that we’ll get protection at least to take us through this cycle. We may need a boost to continue the protection, but right now we don’t know how long it lasts,” Bloomberg quoted Fauci as saying.

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


💉 Sinovac Biotech coronavirus vaccine status

Nearly five months after it initiated the development of a vaccine candidate, China’s Sinovac Biotech has started Phase III trials in Brazil. Sinovac will dose nearly 9,000 healthcare professionals working in Covid-19 specialised facilities, Reuters reported.

The study will be done in partnership with Brazilian vaccine producer the Instituto Butantan. Simultaneously, Sinovac is also preparing a coronavirus vaccine plant, which it hopes will be ready this year and capable of making up to 100 million shots a year.

Phase I and Phase II trials typically test the safety of a drug before it enters Phase III trials that test its efficacy.

Britain’s Prince William wears a mask as he meets scientists during a visit to the manufacturing laboratory where a vaccine against COVID-19 has been produced. (AP)

💉 Moderna coronavirus vaccine status

Moderna Inc, which was supposed to start phase III trials of its experimental mRNA-1273 Covid-19 vaccine on July 9, has delayed it for an indefinite period of time, a news report said.

The trial, part of the US government’s Operation Warp Speed, will involve 30,000 patients. In its June update, Moderna said the primary objective of the trial was to assess the ability of the vaccine to prevent symptomatic Covid-19 disease.

A report by STAT News said Moderna was making changes to the trial’s protocol, which has pushed back the expected start date. However, CEO Stephane Bancel told CNBC the drugmaker still intended to start the trial in July.

Covaxin has been cleared for Phase-I and Phase-II trials by the Drug Controller General of India. (File)

💉 Bharat Biotech-ICMR Covaxin status

Covaxin, which has been cleared for Phase-I and Phase-II trials by the Drug Controller General of India, will be tested on more than 1,000 people in the two phases, Bloomberg reported. Jointly developed by ICMR and Bharat Biotech India Limited, Covaxin will be tested on 375 people in Phase I trial and on 750 people in the next phase. The company has set July 13 as the final date of enrollment for the trials.

Meanwhile, the process of conducting clinical trials for Covaxin began on Tuesday at the Nizams Institute of Medical Sciences (NIMS) in Hyderabad.

An investigator who is part of the trial said “immunogenicity” – the ability to provoke an immune reaction – will be the key aspect to be examined and which will decide if the trial can move from Phase I to II. Another investigator said the first phase was likely to take “at least three months”.

Covaxin is an “inactivated” vaccine — one made by using particles of the SARS-CoV-2 that were killed, making them unable to infect or replicate. Injecting particular doses of these particles builds immunity by helping the body create antibodies against the dead virus.

READ | All you need to know about Bharat Biotech’s Covaxin

💉 GSK-Sanofi coronavirus vaccine status

Human trials of the Covid-19 vaccine candidate being jointly developed by Sanofi and GlaxoSmithKline is set to begin in September. Sanofi is working on two possible COVID-19 vaccines, one of which uses an adjuvant made by GSK to potentially boost its efficacy.

Recently, a Reuters report said Britain was close to signing a 500 million pound ($624 million) supply deal with Sanofi and GSK for 60 million doses of its vaccine. The UK government has already landed a deal with AstraZeneca for 100 million doses of their vaccine candidate.

While Sanofi is contributing S-protein Covid-19 antigen based on its recombinant DNA technology, which is also used in its seasonal flu vaccine Flublok, GSK is offering its vaccine booster AS03 for their candidate.

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