WHO: 70 COVID-19 Vaccines in Progress, U.S. Moderna and Inovio Are Among Leaders

UTC by Darya Rudz · 3 min read
WHO: 70 COVID-19 Vaccines in Progress, U.S. Moderna and Inovio Are Among Leaders
Photo: Depositphotos

Three of the COVID-19 vaccine developers have already entered the stage of human trials. These are CanSino, Inovio Pharmaceuticals, and Moderna. Other 67 potential COVID-19 vaccines are still in preclinical evaluation.

According to the latest coronavirus data, the number of COVID-19 cases worldwide has totaled 1,873,879, with 116,046 lives claimed. While the virus is further spreading, more and more companies get involved in the race for finding the vaccine. Recently, we have reported about 20 companies involved in the process. But there are actually far more of them. As the World Health Organization has estimated, there are currently 70 COVID-19 vaccines in progress. Three of them have already enrolled in the stage of human trials.

CanSinoBIO’s Investigational COVID-19 Vaccine

According to the document released by the WHO, the vaccine candidate of Chinese CanSino Biological Inc (HKG: 6185) in collaboration with the Beijing Institute of Biotechnology is the leader. It is now in a clinical evaluation, tested on humans, after showing it can induce a strong immune response in animal models. CanSino’s candidate Ad5-nCoV uses its adenovirus-based viral vector vaccine platform. Notably, the company used the same technology to create a vaccine against Ebola virus infection. Then, the vaccine got a global approval.

During the Phase 1 human trial, CanSino divided 108 healthy adults 18 to 60 years into three groups to receive different doses of the vaccine. Recently, the company began Phase 2 trials.

Inovio Pharmaceuticals’ Vaccine

Inovio Pharmaceuticals Inc (NASDAQ: INO) has collaborated with Beijing Advaccine Biotechnology Company to advance the development of the former’s vaccine, INO-4800, as a novel COVID-19 vaccine. Meanwhile, INO stock price is at $7.72 having lost around 5%.

The biotech company got the approval of the United States Food and Drug Administration on April 6, which cleared the way for Phase 1 clinical testing in healthy volunteers. The trials began with 40 healthy adult volunteers in Philadelphia, PA (University of Pennsylvania) as well as Kansas City, MO (at the Center for Pharmaceutical Research). Each participant receives two doses of INO-4800 four weeks apart. The initial immune responses and safety data from the study will be in place by late summer.

Notably, Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation and the Coalition for Epidemic Preparedness Innovations (CEPI) have backed the vaccine of Inovio. Besides, the latter has granted $9 million to support the development.

Moderna’s mRNA-1273 Vaccine

Moderna Inc (NASDAQ: MRNA) is also one of the leaders in the COVID-19 vaccine race. It is working together with the Vaccine Research Center, a unit of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases (NIAID). Named mRNA-1273, the vaccine encodes for a prefusion form of the Spike (S) protein that NIAID and Moderna designed. The S protein complex is essential for the fusion of membrane and host cell infection. It has been the target of vaccines against the coronaviruses responsible for Middle Eastern Respiratory Syndrome (MERS) and Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome (SARS).

On March 16, Moderna started human testing of mRNA-1273 on volunteers. By the way, Moderna got approval from regulators to start human trials without conducting animal testing.

MRNA stock is 1.69% up today. Its current price is $32.40.

Other 67 candidate COVID-19 vaccines are still in preclinical evaluation. It is worth mentioning that it usually takes 10 to 15 years to find the vaccine. But in case with the coronavirus pandemic, is has been incredibly speed up. Ideally, if everything goes well, all the testing phases will end by the end of this year. After that, at the beginning of 2021, mass production of the vaccine may begin.

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