As COVID-19’s death toll surpassed 250,000 globally, states and pharmaceuticals are exhausting all possible avenues in the fierce race of developing an effective vaccine against the coronavirus, which could be our best route back to normal life. Currently, over 100 vaccine candidates are in the development pipeline worldwide which features a diverse range of novel technology platforms, including DNA and RNA, virus-like particle, peptide, viral vector, recombinant protein and conventional approaches of live attenuated and inactivated viruses. Governments are expediting the trial timeline for new vaccines, with scientists hoping that effective vaccines will be on the horizon within 12 to 18 months. This still represents an unprecedented challenge given that the fastest record of developing an entirely new vaccine took 4 years and the typical success rate of below 10%. China, Germany, US and UK are among countries showing promising results in vaccine development. International cooperation and alliance could be the ultimate key to accomplishing this extraordinary mission of developing COVID-19 vaccines at pandemic speed.
The virologists in Fudan University promptly analyzed the complete viral genome of the SARS-CoV-2 in just a few weeks after the earliest cluster of cases reported in December 2019. The full-length genomic sequence is available as open-access so that the whole world access to it promptly. This enables research on vaccine development around the world can be done in a more accurate, effective and faster way. As of 20 March 2020, 40 vaccine candidates were in development stage, among which ≥ 2 of them have entered clinical trial phase.
Challenges: The length of clinical trials (phase I-III) are typically 12-18 weeks. It will probably take another 12 to 18 months to mass produce the vaccine for the general public. If successful, our chance of victory against the COVID-19 would be much higher. However, clinical trials are not a guaranteed solution to a disease. For example, although various stages of clinical trial on HIV vaccine have been carried out, none of them have been proven effective. Furthermore, all viruses evolve over time and the success of vaccination strategies depend much on their rate of mutation. Since SARS-CoV-2 is a new type of coronavirus with unknown mutation rate, the result of vaccination strategy is still full of uncertainty.
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2. Moderna doses first patient with mRNA-1273 in coronavirus vaccine trial. Available at: https://www.pharmaceutical-business-review.com/news/moderna-mrna-1273-coronavirus-trial/. Accessed on 2 Apr 2020.
3. China approves first homegrown COVID-19 vaccine to enter clinical trials. Available at: https://www.bioworld.com/articles/433791-china-approves-first-homegrown-covid-19-vaccine-to-enter-clinical-trials. Accessed on 2 Apr 2020.
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11.3 Developing Covid-19 Vaccines at Pandemic Speed
11.4 The COVID-19 vaccine development landscape
11.5 SARS-CoV-2 Vaccines: Status Report
11.6 Big Pharma and coronavirus vaccine development | COVID-19 Special
11.7 World leaders pledge €7.4bn to research Covid-19 vaccine
11.8 U.S. Covid-19 Cases Rise 1.9%; Deaths Top 70,000: Virus Update
11.9 What you need to know about the COVID-19 vaccine
11.10 Finding a Covid-19 vaccine needs a global effort
11.11 Pfizer begins human testing for experimental coronavirus vaccine in the US
11.12 China now has more leading coronavirus vaccine candidates than any other country
11.13 AstraZeneca to work with University of Oxford on Covid-19 vaccine development and distribution
11.14 UK researchers should know by July if coronavirus vaccine is effective
11.15 Potential coronavirus vaccine being tested in Germany could ‘supply millions’ by end of year
11.16 Developed Antibody Against Coronavirus, “Terrific Breakthrough”: Israel
11.17 Coronavirus: Searching for a COVID-19 vaccine
11.18 How scientists are rushing to create a coronavirus vaccine | COVID-19 Special
11.19 Why Will A Coronavirus Vaccine Take 18 Months to Develop?
11.20 WHO’s Dr Mike Ryan: Coronavirus vaccine ‘at least a year’ away
11.21 Bill Gates: “Vaccine takes at least 18m!”
11.22 US: Testing COVID-19 vaccine in people (16 Mar)
11.23 WHO Says 70 Vaccines in the Works, With Three Leading Candidates
11.24 China Approves Third Coronavirus Vaccine for Clinical Trials
11.25 UK researchers should know by July if coronavirus vaccine is effective
11.26 Promising Early Results from CoV Vaccine Trial
11.27 CoV Vaccine Front-Runners Emerge, Rollouts Weighed
11.28 Oxford Vaccine Fails. Moderna Vaccines Shows Good Results
11.29 Former FDA Chief on Moderna’s Early-stage Vaccine Trial Results
11.30 Safety, tolerability, and immunogenicity of a recombinant adenovirus type-5 vectored COVID-19 vaccine: a dose-escalation, open-label, non-randomised, first-in-human trial
11.31 Coronavirus vaccine in China produces neutralizing antibodies in early-stage trial
11.32 Dr. Anthony Fauci Says There’s a Chance Coronavirus Vaccine May Not Provide Immunity for Very Long
11.33 China’s Sinovac Says Coronavirus Vaccine Has Shown Positive Results in Trials
11.34 Coronavirus Vaccine: China’s Vaccine Candidate Shows Promise in Human Trials
11.35 How “Super” Antibodies Could Help Create a Coronavirus Vaccine
11.36 America’s Update and Vaccine Development
11.37 Inside China’s Race For A Coronavirus Vaccine
11.38 How Close Are Scientists to Having A Coronavirus Vaccine? | The 11th Hour