Coronavirus vaccine: When will it be ready? Moderna, AstraZeneca offer answers
The search for a coronavirus vaccine has reached its zenith. While some researchers have progressed to advanced stages of trials, some have already put out a time frame for the release of the corona vaccine. World Health Organisation expects nearly 2 billion doses of COVID-19 vaccine to be ready by the end of next year. Moderna, one of the leading contenders for the coronavirus vaccine said that there's a high probability of their candidate reaching the distribution stage in 2021. Germany's CureVac AG is also aiming for mid-2021 release of its coronavirus vaccine candidate.
Here's the latest updates on coronavirus vaccine research and development:
WHO Chief Scientist Dr Soumya Swaminathan said that she expects nearly 2 billion doses of a COVID vaccine by the end of next year. "At the moment we do not have a proven vaccine but if we are lucky, there will be one of two successful candidates before the end of this year and 2 billion doses by the end of next year," she said while addressing the media from Geneva. There are currently over 100 vaccines under trial.
Moderna is preparing to launch Phase 3 of the trials in July. CEO Stephane Bancel said that there was a high probability that the company's product could reach the distribution stage in 2021. Bancel said that they are anticipating the efficacy data to be out by Thanksgiving. Moderna is aiming to recruit 30,000 people for its Phase 3 of trials. "We are very, very interested in knowing as much as we can about this vaccine and to ensure it is safe," he said. Bancel said that the company has worked upon several vaccines over the years that helped in speeding up their process. "This was actually the 10th vaccine that we put in clinical trial. We've learned a lot over the years: how to optimise the manufacturing process, how to optimise your chemistry, to get the best vaccine we could," said the CEO.
AstraZeneca that is producing the corona vaccine candidate developed by Oxford University said that they could deliver the candidate by October if everything goes well. AstraZeneca CEO Pascal Soriot said that their potential COVID-19 vaccine candidate is likely to provide protection for a year. "We think that it will protect for about a year," Soriot said. The company has already started human trials.
Germany's CureVac AG has said that if approved, their coronavirus vaccine candidate could be on the market by mid-2021. Klaus Cichutek, President of German vaccine regulator PEI said that the company might be able to apply for approval by early 2021. The company has received approval from the government to conduct trials on 168 health people.
Imperial College London that is conducting human clinical trials of the coronavirus vaccine hopes to have a viable candidate by April 2021. The human trials of the corona vaccine candidate will reveal its efficacy and safety. "From a scientific perspective, new technologies mean we have been able to get moving on a potential vaccine with unprecedented speed. We've been able to produce a vaccine from scratch and take it to human trials in just a few months - from code to candidate - which has never been done before with this type of vaccine," said Professor Robin Shattock from the Department of Infectious Disease at Imperial College.