Days after US biotechnology company Moderna Inc reported successful results from its experimental vaccine for Covid-19, a second breakthrough has been made in China, with Cansino Biologics Inc saying the vaccine appeared to be safe and might protect people from the novel coronavirus.
With Covid-19 infecting more than 5.5 million and killing 338,249 people across the world, a vaccine is considered to be the best long-term solution for allowing countries to reopen their economies by coming out of months-long lockdown.
For Covid-19, there are over 100 vaccines being developed across the world now, some from scratch, some from existing molecules developed for other diseases.
Coming to India, PTI reported experts were of the view that research in the country on a Covid-19 vaccine was still at a nascent stage and any concrete breakthrough was not likely within a year. Presently, while Zydus Cadila is working on two vaccines, Serum Institute, Biological E, Bharat Biotech, Indian Immunologicals, and Mynvax are developing one vaccine each.
Coronavirus (Covid-19) vaccine latest updates:
💉 The latest breakthrough in developing a Covid-19 vaccine has been made by Chinese vaccine company Cansino Biologics Inc, which has claimed in a paper in The Lancet that its candidate was able to generate an immune response against the virus.
The early-stage trial was conducted by researchers at several laboratories and included 108 participants aged 18 to 60. The results showed that those who received a single dose of the vaccine produced certain immune cells, called T cells, within two weeks. Antibodies needed for immunity peaked at 28 days after the inoculation.
However, this was just an early-stage trial and proof of its effectiveness will require trials in thousands more people.
Ad5-nCoV is a genetically engineered vaccine candidate with the replication-defective adenovirus type 5 as the vector to express SARS-CoV-2 spike protein, which intends to be used to prevent the disease caused by Covid-19.
As per the study, about 81 per cent of all the participants showed at least one adverse reaction to the vaccine within the first seven days. The most common reaction was redness, swelling, itching and induration. Some systemic adverse reactions noted in all patients were fever, muscle pain and headache.
💉 Meanwhile, in what has been touted as one of the world’s fastest-moving experimental Covid-19 vaccines, the University of Oxford and AstraZeneca Plc is set to begin advanced human studies or second phase of clinical trials for its ChAdOx1 nCoV-19 vaccine.
More than 10,200 people — including children between the age of five and 12 and adults over 70 — are being enrolled for the second phase. The second phase of the study aims to assess the immune response to the vaccine in people of different age groups. The third phase will judge the effectiveness of the vaccine in a large number of people over the age of 18, researchers at the University of Oxford have said.
Earlier this week, AstraZeneca received a boost in its efforts after the US pledged as much as $1.2 billion towards development of the vaccine and said it would order 300 million doses. AstraZeneca has already signed an agreement to supply 100 million doses of the vaccine to the British government and it reiterated it hopes to start delivery in September.
Recently, Adrian Hill, director of the Jenner Institute and the professor co-leading the development of the vaccine, said the vaccine trial had only 50 per cent chance of success “as the coronavirus seems to be fading rapidly in Britain”.
The proposed Covid-19 vaccine is made from a weakened version of a common cold virus that’s genetically changed to make it unable to grow in humans.
💉 Coming to India, the ICMR and Bharat Biotech International Limited (BBIL) are jointly developing a Covid-19 vaccine. In the latest development, the novel coronavirus strain was isolated and characterised at the Indian Council of Medical Research’s National Institute of Virology, Pune, and the vaccine candidate has been transferred to BBIL.
“Once the vaccine is ready it will go for animal trials to be followed by human clinical trials to assess its safety and efficacy which will take at least one year,” a senior ICMR official told PTI. The BBIL is working towards developing killed virus vaccine which usually provides good immunogenicity, the official said, adding that by entering the body it will create antibody against the infection.
PM CARES Fund Trust has decided to allocate Rs 100 crore for support to coronavirus vaccine development efforts. The WHO has listed Serum Institute of India, Zydus Cadila, Indian Immunologicals Limited and Bharat Biotech from India among the firms involved in developing a vaccine.
💉 A few days back, we reported that Thailand claimed its Thai mRNA vaccine showed promise on mice. On Saturday, the country began testing of the vaccine against the virus in monkeys.
Thailand’s minister of higher education, science, and research and innovation, Suvit Maesincee, said researchers had moved to testing the vaccine on monkeys and hoped to have a “clearer outcome” of its effectiveness by September, reported Reuters.
“This project is for the human race, not just Thais. The prime minister (Prayuth Chan-ocha) has outlined a policy that we must develop a vaccine and join the world community workforce on this,” Reuters quoted Suvit as saying.
The Thai mRNA vaccine is being developed by the National Vaccine Institute, the Department of Medical Science and Chulalongkorn University’s vaccine research centre. Messenger RNA prompts body cells to produce so-called antigens, molecules on the surface of viruses, that spur the immune system into action.
💉 Austin’s Tito’s Handmade Vodka has provided a million-dollar grant to Baylor College of Medicine to develop a vaccine for COVID-19. The Baylor team, which had started work in 2011 to develop an SARS vaccine, will repurpose it and accelerate a vaccine for SARS-CoV-2.
The $1 million grant will help researchers work with remaining vaccine manufacturing activities and then allow them to speed up the timeline for the vaccine to move into human trials.
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