According to the World Health Organization (WHO), there are 70 candidate vaccines of the coronavirus under development around the world, with 3 vaccines already being evaluated in human trials.
Pharmaceutical companies are rushing to find the cure for COVID-19 as the disease appears cannot be wiped out through social distancing measures only.
Leading the race is a vaccine developed in collaboration between China’s Academy of Military Medical Sciences and CanSino Biotech Inc, a Hong Kong-listed company. The Chinese government had approved the human testing of the candidate vaccine a month ago.
The two other vaccines under clinical trials are developed by Moderna and Inovio, both US-based drugmakers.
Moderna announced to skip animal trials and jump directly to human trials just days after CanSino Biotech received the Chinese government’s approval.
Meanwhile, Inovio announced to start the human trials of its INO-4800 DNA candidate vaccine last week. If successful, it will be the 1st ever DNA vaccine approved for human use. DNA vaccines have only been used to treat a wide range of animal infections in veterinary medicine. Inovio is financially backed by the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation.
Following the outbreak of the virus in December last year, Coalition for Epidemic Preparedness Innovations (CEPI) had allocated $12.5 million to Moderna and Inovio along the University of Queensland to expedite the development of a vaccine for COVID-19.
As per WHO, candidate vaccines of Pharma giants like Pfizer and Sanofi are in preclinical stages. Pfizer recently announced that it has signed a $185 million agreement with BioNTech, a German biotechnology company, to develop millions of doses of its COVID-19 vaccine.
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