How much progress has been made so far in the development of COVID-19 vaccines?
More than 160 vaccines are currently being developed worldwide to control the coronavirus epidemic. Experts expect an effective vaccine to be developed by the end of this year. Other experts warn that it is difficult to do so in such a short time. Only a few of the dozens of vaccines are currently undergoing human testing. Chances are that most will not be able to go beyond the laboratory.
Vaccine experts point out that several different types of vaccines are currently being developed. Smaller companies have partnered with larger companies to produce on a larger scale that illuminates a ray of hope.
Learn about the vaccines that are making rapid progress so far, whose success awaits the whole world.
The American company’s vaccine mRNA 1273 was the first vaccine to enter the human trial phase. Messenger MRN technique is being used for its preparation. This procedure does not require a virus to make the vaccine. Messenger RNA, or mRNA, forms a key spike protein on the surface of the new novel coronavirus, allowing the virus to enter cells.
When the vaccine is injected, it travels to the immune cells and instructs them to replicate the spike protein. That is, it works as if the cells have been infected with the coronavirus. This creates immunity in other immune cells to protect against the virus. The vaccine is currently in the second phase of a human trial that will test its safety and efficacy.
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Moderna is working with the US National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases to prepare it and will hire two groups of 600 people aged 18 to 55 and 55 or older.
Preparations for the third trial of the vaccine have already begun and are expected to begin in July 2020. The third phase trial will be the last to test the effectiveness of the vaccine in a larger group and to see how well it works compared to the drug.
In the third phase, Moderna will test two different doses of the vaccine. In mid-May, the company announced that in the initial phase, all 8 volunteers had been given 2 different doses and the results were encouraging.
The University of Oxford in the United Kingdom is working with AstraZeneca on the COVID-19 vaccine. A weakened strain of the common cold virus adenovirus, which is derived from chimpanzees, is being used.
The virus was genetically modified and could not replicate itself. The vaccine also contains spike protein genes to help the immune system destroy the new novel coronavirus in the body.
The human trial began in April and was used on more than a thousand people between the ages of 18 and 55 to see how effective it was. The results could be released this month or in July.
Researchers are now enrolling more than 10,000 adults and children for the second and third phases. Volunteers in the second and third phases will be given one to two doses of either the COVID-19 vaccine or a licensed vaccine for comparison.
Brazil, the second-largest coronavirus-infected country, has also joined clinical trials and its doses will be tested on 2,000 volunteers there.
On the other hand, after the agreement with Oxford and others, AstraZenka is ready to supply more than 2 billion doses globally. It is expected that 400 million doses will be supplied by the end of 2020, while researchers at Oxford University are determined to introduce the vaccine by September.
Pfizer and BioNTech
These companies are testing 4 vaccines and mRNA is being used in each. But the combination of mRNA in each is different so that antibodies can be made by targeting antigens.
The BNT-162 vaccine is being tested in humans in Germany and the United States and is currently undergoing its first phase. In which safety, immunity capacity and possible quantity are being tested on 4 volunteers.
Initially, it is being tested in people between the ages of 18 and 55, and once the given dose is proven safe and effective, the company expects the elderly to develop immunity to the virus.
The first phase of the US company’s vaccine trial on humans began with 40 volunteers. It uses DNA technology to create a specific immune response. Using a smart device for a minor electric shock, tiny pores of the skin are opened for the vaccine to be given. Once the DNA reaches the cell, it directs the replication of synthetic DNA and stimulates the body’s natural immune response.
The results of the first phase of the trial are expected this month and the trial of the second phase will begin after that. Human trials are also expected in China and South Korea. The company has partnered with a number of companies to make it possible to manufacture it on a large scale.
The Chinese company is working with the Beijing Institute of Biotechnology on the coronavirus vaccine. Genetically modified adenovirus ad-5 is being used for this.
At the end of May, researchers released the results of the first phase of the human trial, during which 108 people were given 3 doses of low, medium, and high. Most volunteers developed immune responses, but fewer had the neutralizing antibodies experts say are crucial to fight off the virus.
They also discovered that the concentration of these antibodies increased with the strength of the dose. Similarly, levels of antibodies suppressing the virus increased significantly in almost all volunteers. The researchers also examined T cells, another important component of the immune response, which helps fight the virus.
They discovered that the level of T cells reached its peak 2 weeks after the vaccination. The company began the second phase of the human trial in April, and China is working to introduce the vaccine by September.
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