Coronavirus (COVID-19) Vaccine Tracker: The timeline for a novel Coronavirus vaccine seems to have got firmly advanced, from early next year to this year-end. On Friday, US President Donald Trump promised to produce a vaccine before the end of this year, “or may be even sooner”.
And in a separate development, Britain said it would amend its laws to ensure that a novel Coronavirus vaccine is given emergency approval as soon as it is declared to be safe in clinical trials. It said it would not wait for the full licensing process to get completed. The new legal provision could kick in as early as October this year, enabling its drug regulator to grant emergency approvals to a vaccine that has been proven safe. The changed law would also protect the pharmaceutical companies from being sued if the vaccines produced any side-effects.
Trump has maintained earlier as well that the possibility of a vaccine being made available this year could not be ruled out. But on Friday, he was more emphatic than ever before. “We will have a safe and effective vaccine this year, and together we will crush the virus,” he said while accepting the Republic Party nomination to run for President once again.
However, the plans of both the US and the UK would depend on at least one of the vaccine clinical trials getting completed and its results declared to be safe and effective. As of now, most vaccine developers have been maintaining that their product was likely to be ready by early next year.
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Initial vaccine supplies will be limited: CDC Head
Meanwhile, head of Centres of Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) in the United States has said even if the vaccines were ready on time by early next year, the supplies would be limited for some time.
“At first, there will likely be a limited supply of one or more of the Covid-19 vaccines, because limited doses will be available,” CDC Director Robert Redfield was quoted as saying.
“It is important that the early vaccines are distributed in a fair, ethical ad transparent way,” he said.
The United States has pre-booked 800 million doses of vaccines from different developers. Assuming each of these vaccine candidates are successful in the trials, and are approved by the drug regulator, it would still take several months to manufacture those many doses. Not all the vaccines are likely to succeed, and that too could result in scarce supplies of the vaccines.
Hunt for Coronavirus vaccine: The story so far
- More than 170 vaccine candidates in pre-clinical or clinical trials
- 31 of them in clinical trials
- Six in final stages, phase-III of human trials
- At least eight candidate vaccines being developed in India. Two of these have entered phase -II trials after completing phase-I.
(As on August 25; source: WHO Coronavirus vaccine landscape of August 25, 2020)
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