Coronavirus (COVID-19) Vaccine Tracker: The novel coronavirus vaccine being developed by Oxford University and AstraZeneca has started phase-3 clinical trials in the United States. The vaccine is already undergoing phase-3 testing in several countries, including India, Brazil, England and South Africa. The company said trials were soon likely to start in Japan and Russia.
In the US trials, about 30,000 participants are likely to be enrolled. Globally, the Oxford vaccine trials are expected to involve 50,000 participants. In India, phase-2 trials of the vaccine began last week, and about 1.600 participants are likely to be enrolled for the combined phase-2 and phase-3 trials. Read in Malayalam
In the United States, the developers hope to get the initial data of these trials by as early as October, that could open up the possibility of an emergency use authorisation ahead of the US Presidential elections, as President Donald Trump has claimed.
The US government has been reported to have reached an understanding with AstraZeneca to grant emergency use authorisation to its vaccine if the initial data from phase-3 is favourable. The company has denied these reports. But in the last few days, there have been several suggestions that the United States might be moving towards getting an early vaccine, even before the entire process of phase-3 trials and analysis of its data was completed. The Food and Drug Administration, the country’s drug regulator, has also said that it was open to grant emergency authorisations to suitable vaccine candidates even before the completion of phase-3 trials, if it felt that benefits of doing so outweighed the risks involved.
Another leading contender to build the coronavirus vaccine, pharma giant Pfizer, is also reported to have said that early data from its phase-3 trials would be available by October. The vaccine being developed by Pfizer, along with its partner BioNTech, is also undergoing phase-3 trials right now.
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Meanwhile, Reuters reported that AstraZeneca had expanded an existing manufacturing deal with UK-based Oxford Biomedica to mass produce its vaccine, in expectation of a fast-track approval in the United States. It did not say how many doses were supposed to be manufactured under the expanded agreement.
Hunt for coronavirus vaccine: The story so far
- More than 175 vaccine candidates in pre-clinical or clinical trials
- 33 of them in clinical trials
- Eight 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 28; source: WHO Coronavirus vaccine landscape of August 28, 2020)
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