Status of SARS-CoV-2 vaccine development


  • Heather Mason
  • Univadis Medical News
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The World Health Organization (WHO) has announced that 83 potential COVID-19 vaccine candidates are being assessed, including seven approved for human clinical trials. A report in BMJ highlights what we know so far about possible COVID-19 vaccines.

CanSino Biological and the Beijing Institute of Biotechnology currently has the only vaccine candidate in a phase II trial, which uses an adenovirus vector. However, its phase I trial results are pending.

Sinovac’s ‘PiCoVacc’ inactivated-virus vaccine is undergoing a phase I trial and pre-clinical studies report that it confers “complete protection”.

The Beijing Institute of Biological Products and the Wuhan Institute of Biological Products is also evaluating a candidate, although information is scarce.

The University of Oxford, UK, has begun a healthy volunteer study for their ChAdOx1 nCoV-19 adenovirus vector and the SARS-CoV-2 spike protein.

Inovio Pharmaceuticals is testing a DNA platform, while Moderna and the US National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases have developed an mRNA-1273 vaccine. The first patients were injected in March.

BioNtech and Pfizer have approval for a trial to evaluate BNT162, which involves four vaccine candidates using different mRNA formats and target antigens.

Despite these advances, the WHO says, countries should not rely on a vaccine to control this pandemic but also on public health measures.