The present month has a lot of updates for the Coronavirus vaccine which are being created throughout the world. From China being one of the first to offer its experimental coronavirus vaccine to workers in the aviation sector to Novavax candidates displaying real promise for British pharmaceuticals GSK and French pharma company Sanofi to start trials, things are looking upward. The Novavax trial would lead to the creation of a protein-based vaccine for COVID-19.
China offers coronavirus vaccine candidates to aviation industry workers – notice
Reuters has reported that the Chinese government is reportedly seeking to offer coronavirus vaccines still in an experimental state to workers in the aviation industry. The proposal has been issued to ensure that groups that are high-risk are inoculated before a plausible resurgence takes place. The Chinese currently have four vaccines for COVID-19 which are in their final stage of human tests. They had launched their emergency use vaccine program back in July, which was thought of as a plan to help boost a few groups’ immunities- especially those working as border inspectors, or in the health sector.
There has been a notice from the aviation regulator of China which states that a candidate vaccine will be provided to several sectors on a voluntary basis. These sectors include airports, Chinese airlines, TravelSky Technology, and China National Aviation Fuel Group.
Sanofi, GSK launch trial for COVID-19 protein-based vaccine
Sanofi, a French pharmaceutical company along with GSK from Britain have started clinical trials, all designed to create a COVID-19 Vaccine that is entirely protein-based. They are one of the frontrunners as most pharmaceutical companies are racing to create treatments that would solve the COVID-19 pandemic. GSK and Sanofi spoke about how they have already initiated their Phase ½ trial, which focuses primarily on the adjuvanted Coronavirus vaccine. They hope that they will be successful in making the vaccine available throughout the world.
Interestingly, the coronavirus vaccine candidate uses close to the same recombinant technology that is protein-based- symbolic of Sanofi’s highly valued vaccines against seasonal influenza. This when combined with GSK’s established adjuvant technology for pandemics really increases hopes and expectations of the entire world.
Vaccine group says 76 rich countries now committed to ‘COVAX’ access plan
The allocation plan for combating COVID-19, as instituted by the World Health Organization, has close to seventy-six of the wealthiest nations of the world pooling their resources now. The co-lead for this entire project believes that the commitment to pool their resources would ensure that the coronavirus vaccine reaches every single part of the world- and not just the rich countries. Seth Berkley, the CEO of the alliance for the GAVI vaccine stated that they have a coordinated plan which has been named COVAX. This plan has close to 70 countries, including Japan, Norway, and Germany providing their support- and agreeing in principle to secure coronavirus vaccines through this facility only.
Berkley was heard mentioning to Reuters that currently they have 76 countries of the upper middle and high income strata- countries who have confirmed that they want to be a part of the program. It is expected that the number will rise significantly in the coming months.
US CDC tells states to prep for COVID-19 vaccine distribution as soon as late October
Documents from the American Center for Disease Control and Prevention have stated that they want the public and state health officials. According to the document, they need to start preparing to distribute coronavirus vaccines that are at high risk. And the vaccines need to be administered by late October. A spokesperson for CDC mentioned that for the initial planning’s purpose, the CDC has simply provided states and their officials with a few certain assumptions for planning. This would be done hand-in-hand with them working on the specific plans for the distribution of the vaccines in different states. The spokesperson also mentioned that there might be a limited number of vaccines for the next couple of months.
Anthony Fauci, the top expert on infectious diseases in the USA had mentioned earlier that owing to the high rate of patient enrollment for clinical trials, results should be out early. Put it simply, the CDC would receive enough data in the next month or so to create a vaccine conclusively. On a side note, the New York Times has reported that the CDC is actually undergoing clinical trials for two different coronavirus vaccines- vaccine A, and B.
Early Novavax vaccine results show no major safety issue: Report
A report from the Associated Press brings good news for vaccine manufacturers and world governments. The early results for an experimental Novavax vaccine have shown positives, and no major problems related to safety. Also, the vaccine has attracted the response from the immune system that was highly desired.
Earlier, the government of the USA funded Novavax, a pharmaceutical company that has its headquarters in Maryland with a sum of $1.6 billion for the development of this vaccine. The vaccine will be divided into two shots, which would be administered at an interval of three weeks. Interestingly, the vaccine contains coronavirus protein that prompts the immune system to start combatting the infection by creating antibodies.
The trial for the Novavax vaccine was conducted through a placebo-controlled, randomized procedure where the scientists gave a placebo drug and the vaccine to 131 healthy individuals in May. Eighty three individuals received the vaccine with the adjuvant- which led to the boosting of the body’s immunity. Twenty five individuals received the vaccine but not the booster, while the rest twenty three simply got the placebo. All the participants were also injected 21 days after the first dosage.
The trial involved people who had come from two different places in Australia and were under the 60 age barrier. The Novavax vaccine trial also excluded people who were Coronavirus positive or were recovering from it. In the first trial, the scientists were simply on the lookout for any adverse side effects that might occur, whilst checking for a response. For the entire duration of the clinical trial for this coronavirus vaccine, every single participant was asked to record any response or symptom they might have had. They were also given swab tests, and tested 35 days after they had received the first injection.
After day 35, none of the participants had any adverse effect from the coronavirus vaccine. Although one person mentioned contracting a mild fever, it lasted for just one day. Most of the participants did not report any reaction altogether, and even if they did have any reaction- it was extremely mild. When the second injection was administered, most of the participants for the coronavirus vaccine didn’t have any problems.
Fortunately, the coronavirus vaccine did seem to bring out an immune response. Every single one of the individuals who received the vaccine started developing antibodies after receiving the second dose. On the 35th day, individuals who received two coronavirus vaccine doses with the adjuvant started developing neutralizing antibodies on a level much higher than the average recovering coronavirus patient. For the uninitiated, antibodies are nothing but the proteins that the body creates to combat toxin or any infection. Interestingly, this vaccine also started developing T-cells, a kind of cells that help provide immunity to the body. The utility of adjuvant to accelerate the growth of antibodies finally managed to shut down the sceptics- whilst showing its value on the 21st day after the second dose was given.
Dr. Gregory Glenn, the Novavax R&D President mentioned that due to the many positives that were highlighted at the end of the Phase 1 results, they were now determined to go through with the Phase 2 trials. He claimed that Novavax was simply committed to ensuring that the safety, efficacy data, and the immunogenicity would actually help support the usage of the coronavirus vaccine. Not just in the county, but on a global level. And the data that would be published after the tests are conducted would duly prove conclusive.
Nonetheless, we can’t deny that there are still certain limits to how far we can know about the coronavirus vaccine based on just one clinical trial. Still, experts are hopeful. Dr. Paul Offit from the Children’s Hospital mentioned how the results were looking bright despite the fledgling state. Offit spoke about how the vaccine would have to be tested amongst a huge population for a conclusive date to be brought out. He stated that they needed to check not just for the efficiency of the vaccine, but also whether it was protective enough.
Yet, Offit did find out an interesting feature of the Novavax vaccine. Amongst all the vaccines that were being created throughout the world, this coronavirus vaccine had the highest chances of succeeding, simply because it used one of the many approaches that has been tied with other successful vaccines. As a final note, he spoke about how the only thing he could take from this trial was that they were moving on the correct path- and using the correct tools. Now, they simply had to give the coronavirus vaccine some more time.
When will we have a coronavirus vaccine?
A normal vaccine can take close to several years for its inception. But due to the dire urgency of this situation, scientists are trying to create something in months- what usually takes years. Most of the medical experts are of the opinion that a proper coronavirus vaccine will only be widely available by the middle of next year. Needless to say, that will definitely be a giant scientific feat- but there are no guarantees that it will actually work.
What still needs to be done to create a Coronavirus vaccine?
Although there have been several clinical trials going in various countries throughout the globe, there are a few things still left to be done to create a coronavirus vaccine.
1. Any clinical trial conducting the coronavirus vaccine test needs to highlight that the vaccine wouldn’t add to any of the symptoms.
2. Every clinical trial would need to ensure that the vaccines used would actually bring out an immune response which would prevent people from being sick.
3. Mass production of coronavirus vaccines is of utmost necessity- and a means has to be found out to bring so much into circulation.
4. It must be approved by medicine regulators, and the FDA.
5. World governments need to start working to combat the logistical challenge that will come up when trying to vaccinate the world’s population.
While the easiest way to check if the vaccine worked would be for people to get infected and then administered with the coronavirus vaccine, the process can easily be fatal.
How many people need to be vaccinated?
It is not easy to determine the number, without judging how capable the vaccine is. On average, around 60%-70% of the population would need to be vaccinated to result in herd immunity. Even in that case, billions across the world would have to be vaccinated.
Who Would Get a Coronavirus Vaccine?
The first few months after the development of the vaccine would have to be spent in prioritizing who got the vaccine. Due to the limited supply- it would be extremely prudent to provide only those with the vaccine who would be in close proximity to the virus. Healthcare workers would unanimously top this list, along with senior citizens who are more susceptible to it. According to the British government, the priority list would also involve people who have certain medical conditions- making them prone to the virus.
A coronavirus vaccine will be developed- and that is something that goes without saying. The main problem seems to be time- for the number of cases keeps on increasing. With the Novavax vaccine displaying some promise, we can only hope that a proper coronavirus vaccine with all the conclusive data would be available as soon as possible.