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Coronavirus vaccine update: Covaxin to be launched by mid 2021, Moderna to deliver early doses by December

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Coronavirus vaccine update: Covaxin to be launched by mid 2021, Moderna to deliver early doses by December

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TIMESOFINDIA.COM | Last updated on – Nov 3, 2020, 18:55 ISTShare fbsharetwsharepinshareComments (0)

01/8COVID vaccine update: What you need to know today

COVID-19 cases are about to breach the 50 million mark across the world. Even as vaccine makers face unnerving pressure to roll out the earliest doses right now, we have come closer to having a vaccine ready than we were ten months ago. Recent studies also suggest that India, as a country, has a global edge in securing vaccines and administration.

Out of the 50 candidates in play, while some are starting phase III trials, others are in the middle of getting safety data. We bring you the latest updates about the same:

02/8Bharat Biotech plans vaccine launch by mid-2021

Hyderabad based Bharat Biotech is making headway with progress on Covaxin, which is India’s first indigenous COVID-19 vaccine. While the vaccine went into trials in July, the company recently announced plans to launch the vaccine by mid half of 2021. The timeline will depend on the conduct of phase III trials and regulatory approvals. AIIMS Delhi is reported to have submitted proposals and seek permission for conducting critical large scale trials across 25 sites spread across 10-12 states.

The vaccine has proved to be well-tolerated in phase I and II trials so far, with no adverse side-effects recorded so far. Covaxin trials are also seeing heavy participation, with volunteers expressing interest from far off cities as well. An April-May timeline will make Covaxin one of the earliest vaccines to be launched in India right now. Plans for global distribution, marketing and administration have not been discussed so far.

03/8CureVac generates strong immune response, to start mass-scale trials soon

German vaccine maker, CureVac recently announced receiving early positive data from clinical trials. The vaccine prototype, CVnCoV was able to generate a strong immune response, in line with expectations amongst volunteers. As per an official statement, the vaccine spiked up antibody count in the body, at par with those of people who had recovered from a serious case of COVID-19. It uses the same modelling technology, messenger RNA, as Moderna and Pfizer-BionTech. However, unlike its competitors, CureVac plans to administer lower doses of the vaccine in the next phase of trials (from 2-12 micrograms per shot).

The results will allow the vaccine, backed by pharma maker, GlaxoSmithKline to proceed with mass testing by the end of the year, involving 30,000 volunteers.

04/8Russia plans mass vaccination of second COVID vaccine, EpiVac Corona

After starting the initial round of vaccination with its experimental COVID vaccine, Sputnik V, Russian authorities are planning to start mass vaccination of the second COVID vaccine, EpiVac Corona, which has been developed by Vector State Research Center of Virology and Biotechnology. The vaccine, which was registered for use on October 14 is also being clinically tested, much like Sputnik V. Large-scale administration will begin by the first quarter of 2021.

Ambitious plans of mass vaccination have been fueled by high and effective success rates seen in early clinical trials.

Praising efficacy of the vaccine, Russian scientists have said the vaccine works against anti-genetically distinct strains and has a shorter sequence which can be easily recognized by the immune system.

Interestingly, the news comes after reports of increasing mistrust and fear against Russian vaccines have grown amongst the public.

05/8Israel launches human trials for a homegrown vaccine, aims for May 2021 launch

Israel, which is considered to be the hub of medical prowess and scientific advancement has initiated plans to start clinical testing of one of its homegrown COVID vaccine. According to reports, plans are underway to start clinical testing of the experimental jab on 80 volunteers right now. Two volunteers have already been dosed. The number will be expanded to 900 by the end of December. While no other information has been revealed as yet, it is expected that researchers will be conducting a large scale trial involving 30,000 volunteers by April, if the first two phases are successful. This timeline would allow the country to have early doses available by the end of summer 2021.

06/8Oxford vaccine progressing well, UK starts expedited review

More hopes arise for the University of Oxford-AstraZeneca vaccine candidate, AZD1222 as UK authorities plan to start expedited review and safety monitoring process for the vaccine soon. The vaccine, which is in the middle of phase III testing globally is seeing accelerated progress take place.

While the earliest studies confirmed safety and immunogenicity response of the inactive strain vaccine, scientists are also observing good success rates in later stages. Adar Poonawallah, CEO of Serum Institute of India, responsible for testing and marketing the vaccine in India as Covishield has also suggested that the vaccine may be available as early as December this year.

Apart from India, Oxford University backed vaccine candidate is seeing trials happen in several countries. Trials were just recently resumed in select centres across the USA after the program was halted briefly post discovery of side-effects.

07/8Moderna planning to keep up with December launch

The other two vaccine candidates in toe, Moderna Therapeutics Inc. and Pfizer-BioNTech, which are both creating a COVID vaccine based on messenger RNA technology (mRNA) are also planning to book December as the timeline for vaccine delivery. Both the companies have received stipulated funding from the US government as part of their ‘Operation WarpSpeed’.

While both the vaccine candidates are in the middle of phase III testing and use the same dosage for their shots, no major side-effects or problems have been discovered so far. However, both the shorts are currently priced on the higher side of the spectrum. They are also awaiting safety data from the first rounds of trials soon.

08/8Johnson and Johnson plan to inoculate children as part of their trials

Johnson and Johnson, a late entrant in the COVID vaccine race recently announced plans of testing its novel vaccine candidate on children aged between 12 and 18 years of age. The vaccine, which, to is in the middle of a combined phase II/III testing has also shown considerable benefits in early trials.

Although testing on children is an important factor which marks the safety and efficacy of a vaccine, it is not the easiest. However, given J &J’s past experience of developing vaccines for children, the current task would be comparatively easier and give the company an edge over others. The company also announced that the trials will be moderated very cautiously, post which, even younger children may be considered for experimental inoculation.


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