China’s Sinovac, US’ Moderna lead the race to develop vaccine against Covid-19

Prashasti Awasthi Mumbai | Updated on June 01, 2020 Published on June 01, 2020

Countries across the world are racing to develop a vaccine against the deadly contagion Covid-19. In the latest development, the United States-based company Moderna Inc., one of the frontrunners in the race, has maintained that it has started dosing patients in mid-stage, Indian Express reported.

As many as 120 vaccines are being currently tested in the world, out of which at least 10 have already entered the phase of human trials.

Among the vaccines, China’s CanSino adenovirus vaccine, Oxford University’s adenovirus vaccine, Moderna’s mRNA vaccine, and Novavax have emerged as the topmost potential vaccine candidates for Covid-19.

A Chinese vaccine, being jointly developed by the Beijing Institute of Biological Products and China National Biotec Group Co, has finished its phase II testing and will likely be developed by the market at the end of this year or early next year, according to a report published by the State-owned Assets Supervision and Administration Commission.

The report, quoted by Reuters, said the production line for the vaccine would be fully disinfected would have a full manufacturing capacity of 100-120 million vaccines each year. The vaccine candidate employs a killed version of the novel coronavirus that can still trigger an immune response.

China leads the race with five vaccines being currently being tested on humans, the most in any country.

Another Chinese biopharmaceutical company Sinovac Biotech has raised some hopes on its inactivated vaccine, dubbed CoronaVac, and said it was 99 per cent sure of its efficacy. As per a Sky News report, Luo Baishan, a researcher at Sinovac, said, “It must be successful…99 per cent sure.”

Sinovac’s research and development subsidiary has garnered $15 million from private equity firms Advantech Capital and Vivo Capital to fund the development of the vaccine.

The company has also received a large factory to produce the vaccine after the successful trials. It aims at producing 100 million doses.

Another neck to neck contender is US firm Moderna Inc. The firm recently said it had started dosing patients in a mid-stage study with its experimental coronavirus vaccine. It has now planned to enroll 600 patients for the trial. The move signals that the company’s mRNA vaccine has passed its initial safety checks. Moderna plans to begin late-stage trials in July, Reuters reported.

In a press statement, Moderna said the first participants in each age group of the trial — adults below and above age 55 — had received doses of the company’s candidate.

Earlier in May, Moderna had released early-stage data that showed the vaccine successfully produced protective antibodies in a small group of healthy volunteers.

However, last week, a report highlighted the side effects of a volunteer taking part in a trial. A volunteer told STAT News that he started getting chills within hours of getting home from his second dose and had nausea and aching muscles, Indian Express report added.

Published on June 01, 2020
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