Even With a Vaccine Ready, How Long Will It Be Before We Get It?By Miriam Bello | Mon, 05/18/2020 - 14:19
Vaccine development can sometimes take up to a decade and when large quantities are required, access can take a while. Global efforts on keeping citizens safe and free of the SARS CoV-2 virus can only be complemented with a vaccine that will provide effective protection for the entire population.
For a safe outcome, vaccines undergo three clinical trials to measure their effectiveness. Right now, there are around 10 candidates that are entering human trials:
- Pfizer was one of the first ones to announce its commitment on finding a cure, joining efforts with BioNtech to develop a COVID-19 vaccine candidate based on BioNtech’s mRNA. Human trials began in late April in Germany.
- Inovio Pharmaceuticals in the US has worked on the development of a cure based on new technologies that involve genetic material manipulation. Human trial began at the beginning of April.
- In Wuhan, CanSino Biologics has started trials of a vaccine that, according to the developers “uses a technology that has products that are already licensed and marketed” to accelerate the process of development.
- GlaxoSmithKline (GSK) has allowed the University of Queensland in Austria to access its vaccine adjuvant and start working from there.
- Sanofi, a leader in vaccine development is also advanced on trials. The French company had announced that due to founding support, the US was going to be the first one to gain access to the cure.
- Oxford University with AstraZeneca have started trials and predict that by September, 30 million doses of the vaccine can be available in the UK.
- Moderna Therapeutics just today announced positive results on the first stage of trials that began on January.
- Johnson & Johnson in the US developed three leading candidates of a vaccine but selected just one for trials that began in March. On a recent report, scientists of the company said that their vast library of molecules is a holy grail on finding a cure in a much safer and faster way.
- China National Biotech, a Chinese state-owned company, has also entered trials and is one of the strongest Chinese candidates for a vaccine.
- SinoVac began human trials after getting positive results on tests with monkeys.
Vaccine development requires high founding but its rapid development has been a boost for pharmaceuticals’ growth. Right now, there are many interests at stake and some of the developments follow transnational collaborations, which leads to political dilemmas.
Finding a cure will for sure be a relief for many, but accessing it is a whole other subject. Many of these candidates have been vocal about the distribution of the first batches. Ensuring global distribution will depend mostly on WHO and that can take months. Currently, the world is already experimenting trouble regarding global supply of protection products, ventilators and test kits. With a vaccine, the scenario could get tense. Many of the developers are clustered in first-world countries, leaving developing countries far behind and making it obvious that a vaccine will not get to those countries soon enough. According to the New York Times, back in 2009 with the influenza pandemic, there was a pact made in advance regarding purchasing agreements between wealthy countries and vaccine manufacturers to get the product first, leaving poorer countries on a waiting list that took months to be served. As for now, there is no knowledge of such an agreement but experts say it is likely to happen.