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Among the top coronavirus vaccines are those developed by Moderna, Johnson & Johnson, Inovio Pharmaceuticals, Pfizer, Novavax, Sanofi and GSK, Oxford University and AstraZeneca. All of them are in different stages of development.
Biotech companies worldwide have focused efforts on developing the COVID-19 vaccine. Some are far ahead, others are at the beginning of the race. Let us look at the top coronavirus vaccines under development.
Moderna Inc (NASDAQ: MRNA) is collaborating with the National Institutes of Health, a unit of the Department of Health and Human Services, to develop its mRNA-1273 vaccine. The vaccine encodes for a prefusion form of the Spike (S) protein that NIAID and Moderna designed.
In March, the company became the first to start human trials of its mRNA-1273 which is one of the top coronavirus vaccines. Recently, the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) approved mRNA-1273 for phase 2 human trials. According to the company, this step will be “crucial” for vaccine development. Besides, the company is planning to begin a phase 3 trial as early as this summer.
Moderna has significantly progressed in the vaccine development, but its CEO Stephane Bancel warned about mRNA-1273 being limited. As he explained, no single manufacturer can make enough coronavirus vaccine doses for the planet.
Inovio Pharmaceutical’s INO-4800
Another of the top coronavirus vaccines is INO-4800 developed by Inovio Pharmaceutical Inc (NASDAQ: INO) in collaboration with the Beijing Advaccine Biotechnology Company. INO-4800 adds genetic material of COVID-19 inside synthetic DNA, which the scientists suggest causes the immune system to make antibodies against it.
On April 6, Inovio began a phase 1 clinical trial for the vaccine candidate. Till the end of April, the company was recruiting 40 healthy adult volunteers to take part in the trial. In addition, Inovio received $6.9 million to work with the International Vaccine Institute (IVI) and the Korea National Institute of Health (KNIH) and start Phase 1/2 clinical testing of its INO-4800 vaccine.
Johnson & Johnson’s Vaccine
Johnson & Johnson (NYSE: JNJ) announced working on the COVID-19 vaccine at the end of January and has been in the public limelight since then. The company’s candidate combines genetic material from the coronavirus with a modified adenovirus known to cause common colds in humans.
To work on the vaccine, Johnson & Johnson pledged over $1 billion of investment in partnership with the federal biomedical Advanced research and Development Authority. In September, the drug developer will start phase 1 human clinical study. If successful, the vaccine will be available early next year for emergency use. Besides, if the trials go well, Johnson & Johnson will produce up to 900 million doses of vaccines by the end of 2021’s first quarter.
According to Johnson & Johnson, they are now increasing manufacturing capacity with additional sites in the U.S. and other countries to enhance vaccine production and distribution. Therefore, the company’s ambitious production plans have all the chances to be lived up.
NVX-CoV2373 Vaccine Candidate of Novavax
Maryland-based Novavax Inc (NASDAQ: NVAX) announced working on coronavirus vaccine soon after the pandemic began. In April, the company announced that it was ready to start trials of its vaccine candidate. Its NVX-CoV2373 uses adjuvant technology and neutralizes the so-called spike protein, found on the surface of the coronavirus, which is used to enter the host cell.
Recently, the Coalition for Epidemic Preparedness (CEPI) granted $4 million to help Novavax. With this support, the company is a strong COVID-19 vaccine race player.
Pfizer’s BNT162 among Top Coronavirus Vaccines
Pfizer‘s BNT162 is one of the top promising coronavirus vaccines as well. To work on the drug, Pfizer Inc (NYSE: PFE) is collaborating with German biotech company BioNTech. BNT162 is based on messenger RNA — genetic material that carries the instructions for cells to make proteins. By the way, BNT162 is one of Pfizer’s four vaccine candidates. Each of them represents a different combination of mRNA format and target antigen. The trials will evaluate various mRNA candidates and identify the safest and potentially most effective one.
In preclinical work, BNT162 was quite successful. Therefore, Pfizer decided to speed up the development and enter the clinical trial in the third quarter instead of the end of 2020.
On May 4, Pfizer dosed the first participants of the vaccine Phase 1/2 clinical trial in the US. In general, there will be 360 healthy patients dosed with the vaccine. By September, Pfizer plans to conduct tests in thousands of people.
Sanofi and GSK’s Vaccine
French pharmaceutical giant Sanofi SA (EPA: SAN) is also participating in the COVID-19 vaccine race and collaborating with British GlaxoSmithKline. Sanofi contributes its S-protein COVID-19 antigen based on recombinant DNA technology, while GlaxoSmithKline PLC (LON: GSK) implements its proven pandemic adjuvant technology. This combination has already worked well in a number of vaccines available today.
Phase 1 clinical trials of the vaccine will start in late 2020. By the second half of 2021, the companies are planning to produce hundreds of millions of doses.
Oxford University and AstraZeneca Team Works on One of Top Coronavirus Vaccines
Another COVID-19 vaccine partnership is between British-Swedish AstraZeneca Plc (LON: AZN) and Oxford University. On April 23, they began phase 1 human trials of their ChAdOx1nCoV-19. Notably, this is the first COVID-19 vaccine trial on humans in Europe. If successful, the partners will produce 1 million doses by September. Besides, by the end of 2020, they aim to manufacture 100 million vaccine doses.
On our website, you can also read about other coronavirus updates.