Some experts thought that the warmer summer temperatures would lead to a slower spread of COVID-19. But summer has come, and the number of COVID-19 cases is increasing dramatically, especially in several states with warmer climates.
Dr. Michael Osterholm, director of the Center for Infectious Disease Research and Policy at the University of Minnesota, said in May: “We all have to face the fact that there is no magic bullet except a vaccine that will make this work. “far away.” It seems more and more like Osterholm was right.
But Osterholm’s comment acknowledges that a vaccine could be that magic bullet that many eagerly await. When can you get a coronavirus vaccine? This is what you need to know.
Where are things now
According to the World Health Organization, more than 140 experimental vaccines for immunization against the new coronavirus are being investigated worldwide. However, most of those vaccines are found only in preclinical tests. Currently, there are 16 COVID-19 vaccines in clinical studies.
The leader of the package, at least in terms of clinical progression, is the vaccine being developed by the University of Oxford and AstraZeneca. This vaccine is in a phase 3 clinical study.
Several other COVID-19 vaccine candidates are very close to the Oxford / AstraZeneca vaccine. Two Chinese drug makers, Cansino Biologics and Sinovac, are evaluating their respective candidates for the coronavirus vaccine in phase 2 clinical trials. US-based biotechnology. Modern (NASDAQ: MRNA) It also has a candidate for the COVID-19 vaccine in phase 2 testing and has already received the green light from the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) to begin a phase 3 clinical study of its COVID-19 vaccine in July.
Another Chinese pharmaceutical company, Sinopharm, you have two candidate vaccines in phase 1/2 of clinical trials. German biotechnology BioNTech and his partner, Pfizer (NYSE: PFE), has a phase 1/2 clinical study in progress evaluating four candidates for the COVID-19 messenger RNA (mRNA) vaccine. Novavax It also has an ongoing phase 1/2 clinical trial for its experimental COVID-19 vaccine.
Eight other COVID-19 vaccine candidates are in phase 1 clinical trials. They will join soon for Johnson and Johnson, who plans to start an early-stage clinical trial of her COVID-19 vaccine candidate in late July.
Regulatory agencies, including the FDA, require vaccine candidates to successfully complete three phases of clinical trials before a pharmacist can apply for approval. Regulatory agency experts review data from clinical studies to determine if the vaccine is safe and effective enough to be marketed.
The further a vaccine candidate progresses through the clinical trial phases, the more likely he or she is to obtain regulatory approval. The biotech trade organization BIO reviewed data from 2006 to 2015 to determine the following probabilities of FDA approval of a vaccine:
|Test phase completed||Probability of FDA approval|
In the coming months, some of the COVID-19 vaccines in clinical trials will likely advance to the next phase. Some may also prove to be ineffective or cause adverse reactions that are serious enough that they cannot move forward. Meanwhile, several drug manufacturers are increasing their ability to produce large quantities of their COVID-19 vaccines even before obtaining regulatory approvals.
Most likely availability
Vaccines can usually take several years to go through clinical trials and get regulatory approval. However, the COVID-19 pandemic could disrupt normal deadlines.
Healthcare executives are optimistic. Moderna CEO Stephane Bancel has stated that his company may be ready to present its COVID-19 vaccine for approval “towards the end of the year or the beginning of next.” Pfizer CEO Albert Bourla has challenged his team to “have millions of doses of vaccines in the hands of vulnerable populations by the end of the year,” according to the company’s chief scientific officer, Mikael Dolsten.
What do experts think outside the biopharmaceutical industry? There are mixed opinions. Some think that it will be virtually impossible for a COVID-19 vaccine to be ready by early 2021. Others are cautiously optimistic. Dr. Anthony Fauci, director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, believes that a COVID-19 vaccine could be ready by the end of 2020 or the beginning of 2021.
Perhaps the best prediction at the moment is that one or more COVID-19 vaccines may be available sometime next year, if all goes well in clinical trials. The safest bet would be for later in 2021, but you may be able to get a coronavirus vaccine in the first half of the year.
There is another key question besides when a COVID-19 vaccine will be available: How effective will the vaccines be? Bancel de Moderna believes that her company’s COVID-19 vaccine has an 80% to 90% chance of success. But her definition of success is more than 50% efficiency. Using their goal, even a successful vaccine could leave almost half of the population vulnerable to being infected by the new coronavirus.
Regardless of how fast a vaccine is ready, it may not be the magic bullet many expect.