COVID-19 Vaccine Race

The begining of the year saw many nations close down their borders and a strict lockdown to further avoid explosion of coronavirus. The graph for virus infected cases is continuously witnessing a rise. Though many countries have started to adopt easing of lockdown restrictions after spending 40-60 days inside the four walls, the race for invention of COVID-19 vaccine is on as this is the ultimate savior from the crisis.

Scientists and researchers all across the world are racing against time discovering a vaccine that can fight against novel coronavirus. Many research groups are working round the clock to develop such vaccine. The World Health Organization is tracking all potential vaccines for COVID-19 under clinical evaluation. Here are some recently developed vaccines leading the race.

The Univeristy of Oxford

ChAdOx1 nCoV-19‘ vaccine has been developed the Oxford University in a time span of three months. The vaccine (which is under human trial stage) uses a weakened strain of common cold virus (adenovirus) and is combined with SARS-CoV-2 genetic material. University researchers claim that the vaccine will be able to identify the spike protein of novel coronavirus.

Viagra company makes COVID-19 Vaccine

Pfizer, US-based pharmaceutical company and its German partner BioNtech have worked together to make four RNA vaccines. Clinical trials for BNT162 have already begun. The vaccine is based on specially designed RNA messengers that leads to production of viral protein in human body. The company plans to test the potential vaccine on 360 healthy volunteers in USA.

Sinovac Biotech Vaccine from Beijing

Chinese scientists have claimed that they have developed a potential vaccine for novel coronavirus and have successfully tested it on monkeys. The Chinese pharmaceutical company Sinovac Biotech injected monkeys with ‘PiCoVacc vaccine and later exposed them to novel coronavirus. The vaccine dose protected monkeys from infection and is now preparing to begin human trials.

Massachusetts Moderna Vaccine

The Massachusetts (US) based biotech company Moderna, in collaboration with the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases (NIAID) is developing an RNA based vaccine ‘mRNA-1273‘ (similar to Pfizer vaccine). The vaccine has already conducted Phase 1 trials and is set to begin trials for Phase 2. The RNA vaccine works entering the human cells and carries the molecular instructions to make the viral protein. Once the protein is recognized the human body, the immune system is triggered.

Inovio Pharmaceuticals DNA-based Vaccine

Inovio Pharmaceuticals, a biotechnoloy company in Pennsylvania developed a potential vaccine in its San Diego lab. Named INO-4800, clinical human trials of the vaccine is set to begin at the University of Pennsylvania. Each volunteer will receive two doses of the DNA-based vaccine, after four weeks of which its efficiency and safety will be monitored.

BCG Vaccine

The Bacillus Calmette-Guerin (BCG) live-attenuated vaccine is used against tuberculosis to boost the immune system. The vaccine is in phase 2/3 and is successfully undergoing clinical trials protecting people from COVID-19.

“Monoclonal Neutralizing Antibody” – Israel

Israel Institute for Biological Research has isolated a monoclonal antibody that can neutralise Covid-19. Defence Minister of Israel, Naftali Bennett declared that the vaccine is a “significant breakthrough” as it can can attack the virus within the bodies of the infected. The institute has sucessfully tested vaccine on rodents last month and is set to test it on humans.

What is the status in India?

The Indian Council of Medical Research (ICMR) has collaborated with Hyderabad-based Bharat Biotech International Ltd. to develop a potential vaccine. The vaccine will use virus strain isolated at the National Institute of Virology (NIV), in Pune. Also, the Serum Institute of India (SII) has partnered with Oxford University to produce up to 60 million doses of a potential vaccine.

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