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Covid-19 vaccine tracker, July 31: Oxford, Johnson & Johnson shots prevent infection in monkeys

Coronavirus (COVID-19) vaccine tracker update: The vaccine being developed by Oxford University has just begun phase-III human trials, while the one by Johnson & Johnson is carrying out phase-I and phase-II trials.

By: Explained Desk | Pune | Published: July 31, 2020 7:45:38 am
coronavirus, coronavirus vaccine, coronavirus vaccine update, covid 19, covid 19 vaccine, covid 19 vaccine covaxin, oxford vaccine, moderna coronavirus vaccine, india moderna vaccine Blood samples from volunteers are handled in the laboratory at Imperial College in London, Thursday, July 30, 2020. Imperial College is working on the development of a COVID-19 vaccine. (AP Photo: Kirsty Wigglesworth)

A vaccine candidate being developed by Oxford University in association with AstraZeneca was able to “prevent” the Coronvirus infection in monkeys, a new study published in the Nature journal has said. Another study in the same journal said even the vaccine being developed by Johnson and Johnson was able to achieve similar results.

Detailed findings of animal trials of these two leading vaccine candidates were published separately in Nature on Thursday. Both the candidates are now being tested on humans. The vaccine being developed by Oxford University has just begun phase-III human trials, while the one by Johnson & Johnson is carrying out phase-I and phase-II trials. Read in Tamil

READ | Covid-19 vaccine tracker, August 2: Clinical trials of Russian vaccine over

Just two days ago, a vaccine being developed by Moderna Therapeutics, a US biotech firm, had also published findings of its animal trials. This study, published in the New England Journal of Medicine had also reported encouraging results of the tests on monkeys. Moderna has also begun phase-III testing on human beings.

Oxford and Moderna have also released preliminary results of their phase-I and phase-II human trials, and they too have been found to be satisfactory.

Also read | Vaccine would be a reality by end of year or start of 2021, says top US expert Anthony Fauci

The phase-III trials could take a few months. Researchers are hoping that one of the leading contenders would be able to finalise the vaccine by early next year, if not by the end of this year itself.

Interestingly, Russia had said that a vaccine being developed by a research institute in Moscow was in line to get final regulatory approval by the middle of next month, and it could be made available for public use by September. This Russian vaccine is still in phase-II trials, but indications are that it would get a conditional approval for use, if the phase-II results are satisfactory. The phase-III trials would be taken up, even while it is released for public use.

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Moderna intends to make profits from its vaccine: Report

Four companies considered front-runners for developing a vaccine against novel Coronavirus recently appeared before a Congressional hearing in the United States, where three of them — AstraZeneca, Johnson & Johnson, and Pfizer — promised to US lawmakers that they would not profit from their vaccine, according to a report in The New York Times.

Moderna, however, made no such promise. Its president Dr Stephen Hoge said the company would not sell the vaccine “at cost”, according to the report.

All the four companies are carrying out human trials of their vaccines. A Pfizer executive was quoted by the newspaper as saying that the company would price its vaccine “consistent with the global health emergency” and that a vaccine was “meaningless” if people were unable to afford it.

The companies told the US lawmakers that they were optimistic their vaccines would be ready by the end of this year, or the beginning of 2021.

Also in Explained | Here is what we know of Covid-19 vaccine pricing at the moment

Indian manufacturing capabilities key to success of Coronavirus vaccine: Fauci

As the world’s leading manufacturer of vaccines, India’s private sector was key to the success of any Coronavirus vaccine that is developed, Dr Anthony Fauci, one of world’s leading experts on infectious diseases, has said.

Fauci, director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases in the United States, was speaking at an online symposium organised by the Indian Council of Medical Research.

“India’s private sector also has a very important role to play as the world’s leading manufacturer of vaccines, and as effective Covid19 vaccines emerge from our research efforts, this manufacturing capability is going to be very, very important,” Dr Fauci said.

India’s Health Secretary Rajesh Bhushan, who also spoke at the symposium, said there was a growing consensus within the government that when the vaccine is finally ready, the frontline health workers have the best claim to get it administered first.

The story so far

  • About 25 candidate vaccines in human trials
  • Five in Stage-III trials
  • 139 candidates in pre-clinical trial stage
  • Two Indian candidates in Stage-I trials
  • One Chinese vaccine already approved for limited use, only on army personnel as of now
  • The frontrunners: Oxford-AstraZeneca, Moderna, Pfizer, Russia’s Gamaleya Institute

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