7 Developments On COVID-19 Vaccines

by Kroger Health Staff

Last Updated: June 29, 2020

Scientists around the globe are racing to discover a vaccine to stop the spread of COVID-19. Currently, there are more than 135 vaccines in various phases of development and clinical trials.

Vaccines are effective weapons against infectious diseases. Some vaccines protect against severe disease, some protect against illness, and some will even protect against infection. They work by introducing the body to a critical part of an infection and train the body’s immune system to respond when a real exposure occurs.

A decade of research and trials is typically required to ensure vaccines are effective and safe before federal approval. But scientists are hoping to develop a vaccine for COVID-19 in record time, potentially by next year. Here is the latest on the frontrunners in the critical race to find a vaccine:
  1. AstraZeneca and the University of Oxford are collaborating on the development of an innovative vaccine. Researchers are inserting COVID-19 genes into a different, harmless virus. Those proteins are then recognized by the immune system, which prepares the body to fight against an actual infection when it occurs. Human trials began in March, and this vaccine is in Phase II/III. Although human trials are still underway, AstraZeneca is already scaling up manufacturing and pending approval, the project aims to deliver emergency vaccines by October.
  2. Moderna is an American biotech company and was the first to start human testing in mid-March. This genetic vaccine uses the virus’s DNA to create an immune response. The company conducted Phase 1 trials on eight people in March. The vaccine is currently in Phase II trials and plans to move into the final stage with Phase III trials in July. If found to be safe and effective, a vaccine could be ready by early 2021.
  3. A joint effort between Pfizer and BioNTech developed a vaccine that began clinical trials in the U.S. and Germany in early May. As this vaccine is in Phase I/II, researchers are determining safety, effectiveness, and dose level. The head of Pfizer recently told the Agence France-Presse AFP that he believes they will have a vaccine by the end of October.
  4. Sinovac Biotech is testing a vaccine called CoronaVac, which uses an inactivated version of the coronavirus to start an immune response. Phase 1 and Phase II trials found no severe adverse effects, and more than 90% of 600 volunteers successfully produced an immune response in Phase II.
  5. Merck, the company behind the only successful Ebola vaccine, is collaborating with the International AIDS Vaccine Initiative (IAVI) - a non-profit scientific research organization. Although not yet in clinical trials, Merck is hoping to use a virus to deliver COVID-19 genes into a cell to start an immune response.
  6. CanSino Biological Inc. and Beijing Institute of Biotechnology developed a vaccine that successfully produced antibodies and T-Cell responses in 108 adults. The vaccine, which is currently in Phase II of the trial, was evaluated 28 days after treatment, and final results will be considered six months after initial treatment.
  7. Johnson & Johnson recently moved up its planned timeline on Phase I and II human clinical trials and now plans to start in July.

With recent progress in the development of COVID-19 vaccinations, it’s possible that one more could be ready for distribution as soon as early 2021.

Disclaimer: The information in this story is accurate as of its publication. However, the situation surrounding COVID-19 is ever-evolving. We are working to keep our stories up-to-date as changes occur, but we also encourage everyone to check news and recommendations from the CDC, WHO, and their local authorities.