Since the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic, high expectations have been placed on the possibility of vaccines. The US government established Operation Tana Gati, a program aimed at accelerating the development of safe and effective novel coronavirus vaccines. Biopharmaceutical companies transfer resources, both large and small, to focus on COVID-19 vaccine research.
Today, these efforts are closer to paying than ever before. But what is the actual status of the coronavirus vaccine race? Here are seven key things you want to know.
1. Who are the leaders right now
According to the World Health Organization (WHO), there are currently 180 COVID-19 vaccine programs in development. Thirty-five of those vaccine candidates are being evaluated in clinical studies, with the rest in preclinical testing. Nine out of 35 clinical-stage COVID-19 vaccine candidates are in late-stage trials.
Chinese medicine makers Casino biologics, Sinopharm, And Synovac Biotech are developing four late-stage coronavirus vaccine candidates. Russia is already allowing a COVID-19 vaccine developed by Moscow’s Gamale Research Institute of Epidemiology and Microbiology to be administered to some individuals, although the vaccine is still under state trial.
The four late stage COVID-19 vaccine candidates targeting the US market are:
- Pfizer (NYSE: PFE) Partnered with BioNTech (NASDAQ: BNTX) To develop BNT162b2, a vaccine that uses modified messenger RNA (mRNA), induces the body to produce antibodies to the novel coronovirus SARS-CoV-2.
- Moderna (NASDAQ: mRNA) An mRNA vaccine candidate, mRNA-1273 is also developing.
- AstraZeneca (NYSE: AZN) Together with the University of Oxford to develop AZD1222, which distributes genetic material from the SARS-CoV-2 spike protein using a weaker version of adenovirus (a common cold virus).
- Johnson and johnson (NYSE: JNJ) This month Ad26.COV2.S is beginning its own late-stage trial.
2. When a Commentary Will Be Available
Not entirely certain when a COVID-19 vaccine will become available. It is possible that problems may arise in clinical studies. For example, AstraZeneca recently stopped its late-stage clinical trial of AZD1222 due to a severe adverse reaction in one participant.
However, the possibility seems quite good that a coronavirus vaccine will receive the FDA Emergency Use Authority (EUA) before the end of 2020. Pfizer and BioNTech hope to seek authorization for BNT162b2 in October if a late-stage test goes well. AstraZeneca and Moderna cannot stay far behind.
It is possible that the initial COVID-19 vaccines will have a phased roll-out. One possible scenario would be for health workers and high-risk individuals to receive the vaccine first, followed by the rest of the population.
3. How safe and effective will the vaccines be
We will not be able to know how safe and effective individual COVID-19 vaccines will be until they complete the late phase trial. However, to secure the EUA, FDA must determine that the benefits of the vaccine reduce the risk. The agency has stated that it will review the “target population, product characteristics, preclinical and human clinical study data on the product, and the totality of available scientific evidence relevant to the product” before granting it to the European Union.
To obtain full FDA approval, a COVID-19 vaccine must demonstrate at least 50% efficacy in a placebo-controlled clinical study. There will also be a need to meet the general safety requirements for vaccines already approved for infectious diseases.
4. How much dose will be required
Late-stage testing requires two doses for most coronovirus vaccines, usually administered four weeks apart. Johnson & Johnson’s investigative COVID-19 vaccine, however, requires only one dose.
5. How much does a coronavirus vaccine cost
Coronavirus vaccines will be made available to all Americans at no cost. However, healthcare providers may charge insurance companies for the cost of administering the vaccines.
6. Which vaccines can occur in the second wave
According to WHO, three COVID-19 vaccines are currently in Phase 2 clinical trials. These include vaccines developed by Novavax (NASDAQ: NVAX), German Biotech CureVac (NASDAQ: CVAC), And Chinese pharmaceutical manufacturer Anhui Zhaoigi Longcom. Innovio Pharmaceuticals (NASDAQ: INO) Awaits FDA approval to begin phase 2 trials of its coronavirus vaccine candidate.
7. Which shares are ready to win the most
Any of the stocks of companies that win approval for the FDA EUA or their respective COVID-19 vaccines will likely do well. However, small biotech stocks will definitely get bigger gains than larger pharma stocks. This could mean that BioNTech and Moderna could be the biggest winners among the leaders in the race for the coronovirus vaccine.
However, keep in mind that there is still a risk that vaccine candidates will stumble into a clinical trial. Therefore, safe stocks to buy will be large pharmaceutical manufacturers such as AstraZeneca and Pfizer as companies have enough product variety to withstand a setback in their COVID-19 vaccine programs.