The global pharmaceutical industry is feverishly researching vaccines and drugs against the corona virus. According to WHO, 23 Potential vaccines have already been tested on humans, five of them in large-scale studies with thousands of subjects.
This so-called phase III is the last stage of the clinical development of each drug before an application for approval can be made to the authorities. In phase I clinical trials, the safety of a drug is tested for the first time on a small group of healthy people who volunteer. In phase II studies with mostly 100 to 300 Participants will be tested how safe a drug is and how well it works.
Which vaccine candidates are there and at what stage are they? An overview:
ASTRAZENECA: The World Health Organization designated the vaccine candidate by the British pharmaceutical company is being developed together with Oxford University as one of the leading candidates in the global race against the corona pandemic. It is in the Phase III clinical trial and is being tested in the UK, Brazil and South Africa.
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Another study is due to start in the US soon. The active substance with the name AZD 1222 has in a test with more than 1000 Volunteers achieved positive results – the test subjects formed antibodies and so-called T cells, which support the immune system. There were no serious side effects.
The active ingredient uses a modified cold virus to transport genetic material from the new corona virus into the human body – a method that competitors also use. According to the researchers, the vaccine could be ready by the end of the year.
BIONTECH / PFIZER: The two companies have the vaccine candidate BNT 162 b2 developed, with a total of 60 comprehensive study of phase I / II led to the formation of antibodies and T cells in the test subjects. The Mainz-based BioNTech and the US phama group have since started a large-scale, global study to investigate the safety and effectiveness of the vaccine with more than 30. 000 healthy people aged 18 to 85 Years.
If successful, an approval procedure should be applied for in October. The partners opted for a type of vaccine that uses ribonucleic acid (RNA). This chemical messenger instructs body cells to produce proteins that mimic the outer surface of the coronavirus. The body recognizes these virus-like proteins as intruders and can then trigger an immune response against the actual virus.
MODERNA: The US biotech group was the first company to launch a phase I clinical trial in mid-March with a potential mRNA-based vaccine. All 45 had volunteers who took part in the investigation the vaccine elicited an immune response, Moderna said in mid-July. Now a crucial phase III efficacy study started with 30. 000 participants .
Testing is carried out in 30 US states, including the states severely affected by the virus Texas, California and Florida. The US government is supporting the project with almost a billion dollars.
SINOVAC: The Chinese vaccine developer is with its potential active ingredient against the coronavirus also in clinical phase III. Tests with thousands of volunteers are underway in Brazil, one of the countries most affected by the pandemic. The governor of Sao Paulo, Joao Doria, said that if the tests were successful, production of the vaccine could begin early next year.
SINOPHARM: The Chinese state-owned biotech group launched in the United Arab Emirates in mid-July with 15. 000 Volunteers started the Phase III trial. The company relies on an inactivated vaccine, i.e. on killed pathogens. These are recognized by the body as foreign and stimulate the body's defense system so that antibodies and T cells are formed. Such vaccines are used against influenza and measles, among others.
JOHNSON & JOHNSON: The pharmaceutical and consumer goods company wants tests with launch his potential human corona vaccine this week, then launch a Phase III trial in September. The United States government provides $ 1 billion in funding for the development and production of the drug, which also uses weakened viruses to stimulate the production of antibodies. The company is also in talks with Japan, the European Union and the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation about a supply agreement.
CUREVAC: In June, the Tübingen vaccine developer started clinical testing of his Covid – 19 – vaccine candidates started. The company expects results from this in the fourth quarter 2020. The vaccine should be ready for the market by the middle of next year if all studies are successful. The Tübingen researchers also rely on vaccines based on messenger RNA (mRNA).
CANSINO BIOLOGICS: The Chinese developer wants to further develop his vaccine candidate in an early study after promising test data. Candidate Ad5-nCOV was tested on 508 subjects and showed an effect on most of the volunteers. Around 77 percent had mild side effects such as fever or irritation of the injection site.
The vaccine uses a modified cold virus to carry genetic material from the new coronavirus into the human body, a method that is also used in the AstraZeneca vaccine. However, the study also showed that people who had previously been infected with this specific virus had a subdued response.
NOVAVAX: The American biotech company wants to test its vaccine candidate in a large clinical trial in the decisive phase III starting in October.
INOVIO : The US pharmaceutical company achieved promising results in an early study. The vaccine called 34 the 36 healthy volunteers aged 18 to 50 years ago immune responses. ( Reuters )