The urgency to find a strong vaccine against COVID-19 was highlighted by Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Tuesday. In his address to the nation, the Prime Minister urged young doctors and researchers to come forward and support the country as well as the world in this regard.
Meanwhile, a team of researchers at Oxford University has been working 24×7 to find a potent antidote to the deadly virus. The team led by Professor Sarah Gilbert has held out hope that a vaccine could be ready as early as September this year. “In the next 14 days, human trials of the vaccine are set to take place,” Gilbert informed.
Similarly, at least 43 pharmaceutical and biotech companies across the world are burning midnight oil to come up with a cure against the pandemic. At present, only one vaccine has made it to the human trials stage and about 8-10 are hopeful to get through soon.
Here’s a list of companies and projects working on the vaccine nearing human trial stage:
Using the process of DNA immunization, the Ahmedabad-based Zydus Cadila is working on a technique that will develop immunity using cellular immune responses. Having one of India’s best vaccine development infrastructure, the company’s DNA plasmid vaccine is another project which is likely to defeat the deadly COVID-19 virus.
Serum Institute of India
Serum Institute of India will soon begin the animal trial data of a COVID-19 vaccine in partnership with the US-based vaccine specialist, Codagenix. The vaccine is expected to de-optimise live attenuated virus.
Besides, Hyderabad-based Indian Immunologicals Limited (IIL) has also begun research to develop a lead vaccine in collaboration with Griffith University of Australia.
In a recent development, Pune-based Seagull Biosolutions has become the first company to receive funding from the government to develop a COVID vaccine. In a span of 18-20 months, the company is expected to enter the phase-1 trial.
Sinovac Biotech & Wuhan Institute of Biological Products
China’s Sinovac Biotech and the Wuhan Institute of Biological Products have approved human testing for two vaccines on Tuesday, as reported by Chinese media agency Xinhua.
Glaxosmithkline is among the major vaccine makers in the world. With its adjuvant technology, the company is working on a vaccine with the University of Queensland, Australia.
Five other companies and research groups worldwide including Chinese biotech company Clover Biopharmaceuticals have joined hands with GSK to develop an effective vaccine.
The US-based Moderna has already begun its phase-1 trial on March 16 at the Kaiser Permanente Washington Health Research Institute in Seattle. With this, Moderna has become one of the early players to lead the task of vaccine development.
CSL & Seqirus
Australia-based Commonwealth Serum Laboratories (CSL) and Germany’s Seqirus (known for influenza vaccine) are working together on a molecular-clamp technology, ‘MF59’ to fasten the process of COVID-19 vaccine development. The companies are also getting support from the University of Queensland in Australia.
America’s Pfizer and BioNTech are working on a vaccine named ‘BNT162’. A clinical testing of the vaccine is expected to begin by the end of April this year.
France-based vaccine company, Sanofi has collaborated with America’s Biomedical Advanced Research and Development Authority (BARDA) to develop an appropriate novel COVID-19 vaccine candidate using its recombinant DNA technology. The company will move to Phase-1 by March 2021. Many R&D experts have joined hands with the company to work on the project.
Johnson & Johnson
US-based MNC, Johnson & Johnson has also collaborated with the Biomedical Advanced Research and Development Authority (BARDA), and Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center (BIDMC), to channelize more resources and expertise in developing a potential novel coronavirus vaccine.
Moreover, many other noticeable vaccine development programmes are being carried by small and big biotech companies and research specialists like Bharat Biotech, Sinovec, Heat Biologics and University of Miami, University of British Columbia and Apeiron Biologics among others.