News/Op-Ed: The Market Race For An Effective Vaccine To Solve The Problems Of The COVID-19 Pandemic

by Pedro Ochoa

The race for a COVID-19 vaccine intensifies as cases rise worldwide, and people are starting to lose their patience.

covid vaccine trials: Johnson & Johnson to begin human trials of COVID-19  vaccine in the second half of July - The Economic Times

For drug-making companies, their future relies on if they can be the first ones to produce the vaccine first. Many big known companies are making a lot of progress to make the best vaccine possible, there are still many questions to be answered. 

With elections around the corner, there are many scenarios that can happen. Will the race slim down? Will there be bigger gaps between companies and their stages? Will there be a winner soon after the elections?

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From the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic, many have looked to the promise of a vaccine to prevent infection of COVID-19. Vaccines typically take years to develop before they ultimately reach the market, but given the global urgency, progress is being made much more rapidly.

When candidate vaccines reach human clinical trials, they need to go through Phase 1 trials to start with. Primarily to test the vaccine’s safety, determine dosages and identify any potential side effects in a small number of people. 

Phase 2 trials further explore safety and start to investigate larger groups. The final stage, Phase 3 trials, which few vaccines ever make it to, are much larger, involving thousands or tens of thousands of people, to confirm the effectiveness of the vaccine and test whether there are any rare side effects that only show up in large groups. The World Health Organization lists candidates at various stages of clinical trials.

Here is a slightly more in-depth look at the big named candidate vaccines in the Phase 1 trials or beyond.

Moderna

Moderna’s COVID-19 vaccine development appears to be at its home stretch. The company said that it completed the enrollment process of 30,000 participants in its final-stage study. While the clinical trials continue to progress,

Moderna and its manufacturing partners are doubling down on production with plans to produce 20 million doses of the vaccine by the end of the year. Assuming that two doses are required, this would be enough for about 10 million people.

Pfizer

Highly anticipated COVID-19 vaccine data from Pfizer unlikely to come  before Election Day: CEO - ABC News

Pfizer, one of the leaders in the race to develop a vaccine against COVID-19, said the final-stage trial of its vaccine candidate has now enrolled nearly all of the planned 44,000 participants worldwide. Nearly 36,000 had received the second shot of the two-dose vaccine as of last Monday. It has expanded enrollment in the trial to include individuals as young as 12 as well as people with chronic stable HIV, hepatitis C and hepatitis B.

AstraZeneca

Britain starts accelerated review for AstraZeneca's potential COVID-19  vaccine

Although the AstraZeneca trials were halted due to an unexplained illness during clinical trials in September, they were able to resume where they left off. AstraZeneca said it is a COVID-19 experimental vaccine that produces an immune response in both old and young adults. The vaccine also triggers lower adverse responses among the elderly, it said. Their vaccine candidates are in late-stage trials.

Johnson & Johnson

Johnson & Johnson Signs an Agreement with the US Government to Supply 100M  Doses of COVID-19 Vaccine Worth ~$1B | PharmaShots

Johnson & Johnson resumed clinical trials last week due to a patient getting sick, due to one of their earlier trials, causing them to go on halt for a while. They were able to strike a vaccine deal with Aspen Pharmacare, a South African firm, and the J&J test vaccine is now one of four different vaccines currently undergoing clinical trials in South Africa. 

These are the four big-name companies that are almost at the finish line for this big first trial for a vaccine that is desperately needed. However, there are over 40 more companies that are in the long race for a COVID-19 vaccine. 

As election day nears in the United States, there are still many questions to be answered by the creators of the future COVID-19 vaccine company. The goal for the big four companies is to release the vaccine by the end of the year. 

Can it happen? They have been pushing the release for months now, and as cases arise, the more needed are the vaccines. Although the world is needing a vaccine as soon as possible, the company that wins the race can be in for a big payday. 

Who will win this huge race to save humanity from this global pandemic? When will the first vaccine be released to the world? 

The only thing that is certain is that when a vaccine is ready to be released, a big global focus will be brought to whoever produces the vaccine

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