Covid-19 Vaccine Update

Vaccine is a substance that protects you against certain diseases.It acts like an agent to protect the body from becoming sick.

The difference between vaccine and medicine is that, vaccine is a prevention you take once so that you will have not to suffer from the disease. While, medication is the treatment you take periodically or when you are suffering from the disease.

There are more than 150 countries who are engaged in Covid-19 vaccine global access facility. Around 75 countries have shown their interests to protect their populations and those of other nations through joining the COVAX facility.

Those 75 countries will finance the vaccines from their own public finance budget and will perform partnership with around 90 lower income countries that needs to support through the voluntary donations to Gavi’s COVAX Advance Market Commitment (AMC).

Covid-19 vaccine development

After the detection of coronavirus in December 2019, the genetic sequence of Covid-19 was published on 11 January 2020; but yet no vaccine exists for the prevention of Covid-19. However, many countries are trying to prepare the proper vaccine.

More than million people could die by the end of this month, so a vaccine is highly needed at this time to save lives and livelihoods and some of the dozens of vaccine under development- such as Russia’s Sputnik V- have already been cleared for use.

Vaccines in the Race

StageNo. of vaccinesDescription
Pre-clinical Stage142Vaccines not yet in human trials
Phase 1 trials24Vaccines in testing safety and dosages
Phase 2 trials14Vaccines in expanded safety trials
Phase 3 trials9Vaccines in large-scale efficacy tests
Approved3These vaccines have been cleared for use before completing phase 3 trials.

Phase 3, Released for Use

  1. Sputnik V

On 11 August 2020, Russian health ministry enrolled the first vaccine against Covid-19, named as Sputnik V.

FILE PHOTO: A handout photo provided by the Russian Direct Investment Fund (RDIF) shows samples of a vaccine against the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) developed by the Gamaleya Research Institute of Epidemiology and Microbiology, in Moscow, Russia August 6, 2020. Picture taken August 6, 2020. The Russian Direct Investment Fund (RDIF)/Handout via REUTERS

‘Gam-COVID-Vac’[Sputnik V] vaccine is for the prevention of coronavirus (Covid-19) is developed by the Gamaleya National Research Center of Epidemiology and Microbiology of the Ministry of Health of Russia. This vaccine has passed the all mandatory quality tests in the laboratories of Roszdravnadzor [medical device regulator] and its first batch has been released into civil circulation.

As the results published in The Lancet Journal, this vaccine seems to be safe without any serious adverse effects and has developed long-term antibody response in humans during clinical trials.

Russian authorities have stated now that it is a conditional certification that will be reviewed after phase-3 trials. They have contacted India to host larger human trials as well as to manufacture the vaccine.

Phase 3, Limited Use

  1. CanSino Biologics

Vaccine name Ad5-nCoV, was developed by Chinese company named CanSino Biologics and a military institute. After the completion of trials of Phase-1 in May, Chinese military approved its use. Furthermore, the tests of Phase-2 showed strong immune response. Now, Saudi Arabia and Pakistan have stated that they will host the 3 phase trial of the vaccine.

  1. Sinovac

Sinovac, is a Chinese vaccine approved by Beijing for limited use in July.

Its phase-3 trials are going in Brazil and Indonesia. It is used as an ‘inactivated’ or dead virus to produce immunity.

Phase 2, Phase 3

  1. AstraZeneca, Oxford University

The Oxford vaccine is known as ChAdOx1 nCoV-19 or AZD1222is undergoing the multiple trial phases at the same time. Phase1/2 showed that it does not shows severe side-effects. Phase 2/3 trials were on in England, India, Brazil, South Africa and the US when they were halted internationally because a participant in the UK developed an “unexplained illness”.

When this vaccine is injected in a person, the gene is “expressed”, which causes build up of spike proteins. The immune system of body recognises it and starts to create the antibodies to defeatthe foreign object.

  1. BioNTech, Pfizer, FosunPharma

It uses RNA from the virus to build immunity. However, no RNA vaccine has been approved for human use so far.

Phase 3

  1. Moderna, National Institutes of Health

It was RNA vaccine, it was the first vaccine to start trials in March but suffered a setback in July.

  1. Sinopharm

Sinopharm, owned by the government of China is testing two inactivated virus vaccines; one was developed by Wuhan Institute of Biological Products and the other by Beijing Institute of Biological Products. The phase 3 trial of Wuhan vaccine is going on in UAE, Peru, Morocco and as per the statement of Chinese officials, it will be ready for use by the end of the year.

India set to be the major vaccine manufacturer

  • ZydusCadila- The firm of Ahemdabad has developed the vaccine named ZyCov-D with the use of genetically- engineering molecule which contains coronavirus DNA. The vaccine has reached to phase 2 trials with 1000 participants.
  • Bharat Biotech-The vaccine named Covaxin has been developed by Bharat Biotech in collaboration with Indian Council of Medical Research, University of Wisconsin- Madison and US based FluGen. The trials of phase 2 are expected to start in this month.
  • Biological E- The firm of Hyderabad has collaborated with Baylor College of Medicine in US to manufacture and test a protein-based vaccine in India. Trials are expected to start this month.
  • Gennova Biopharmaceuticals- The frim of Pune mRNA vaccine is expected to start its human trials in October, in India, US, Brazil & South Africa.

These are the vaccines which reached to trial phase. However, medical officers of different countries are still trying to make proper vaccine.