Even at their most effective pace – social distancing has only helped to slow down the spread of the coronavirus disease – it does not cure it neither does it offer any help to those who have been infected with the virus.
Scientists are currently in a race to find an effective cure for the virus, and vaccines seem to be the most promising pathway to help curb the pandemic. Vaccines have been around for quite a long time, and almost every bacteria and virus have their own vaccines.
All vaccines, however, follows the same working principle. This principle involves injecting part or all of the weaken pathogen into the human body. The body’s immune system then responds by producing appropriate antibodies that can combat the virus or bacteria.
When the body has completely destroyed the weakened pathogen, the immune system memory cells will be programmed in such a way that they can respond in the same fashion when the real pathogen is present and, as such, can act faster to destroy them.
Currently, vaccines seem to be the most promising treatment for the coronavirus, and more than 30 pharmaceutical companies and academic institutions have joined the race to find such a vaccine that could end the plague once and for all. Out of these, at least five have already made a vaccine which they are already testing on animals, and some are already in phase 1 trial – small scale human testing.
Below are the top five companies in the race for the coronavirus vaccines and their progress so far in finding an effective vaccine to end the pandemic.
Top 5 Companies That Are Working on a Coronavirus Vaccine
These companies that are working on a Coronavirus vaccine include top drugmakers and small pharmaceutical startups, which have stepped forward with plans to develop vaccines or treatments that target the outbreak caused by the novel coronavirus.
Coronavirus or COVID-19, which began back in December 2019 in Wuhan, China, has affected more than 710,000 people worldwide and killed over 33,000 people. There are no Food and Drug Administration-approved vaccines or therapies for treating or preventing the coronavirus disease.
Here are 5 companies that are working on a Coronavirus vaccine:
Vaccine Name: BNT162
BioNTech is a german based company which collaborating with two pharmaceutical companies – Fosun Pharma and Pfizer to develop a vaccine for the coronavirus disease. Its collaboration with Fosun Pharma will help in the distribution of the vaccine in china while Pfizer will hand the distribution outside of China.
The company is developing a novel mRNA-based influenzas vaccine. BioNTech is still perfecting the vaccine with the hope of putting it into trial in late April in Germany and the United States.
Vaccine Name: mRNA-1273
Moderna is among the first pharmaceutical companies to make a vaccine for the coronavirus. It began its development in February, and it has already begun human trials on a small scale. This unprecedented speed of development is in large part due to the Chinese sequencing RNA of the virus available in the early stages of the outbreak.
The Chinese shared the sequence of the coronavirus in early January, which allowed the company to grow it and study how it affects the human system. Aside from that, the SAR-COV-2, which is the virus responsible for the COVID-19, shares a very similar genetic sequence with the virus that causes the SARS and MERS disease. This allows the company to repurpose some of the early work to develop a faster vaccine for the novel coronavirus.
3. Gilead sciences
Gilead is a long-time drug maker and was the first drugmaker to make the best cure for the Hepatitis C virus.
The company has entered into the race to find a cure for the coronavirus. It is not developing a vaccine, per se like other companies. Rather Gilead sciences are focusing on treatment drug for the coronavirus.
The company has developed a drug – remdesivir, which it is currently testing in Wuhan china – the epicenter of the coronavirus disease breakout.
Vaccine Name: AS03 Adjuvant System
GlaxoSmithKline, a leading vaccine maker, is currently in the race to find an effective vaccine for the coronavirus.
The company is majorly known for the development of vaccines for the human papillomavirus, seasonal flu, among others. The company has opened its doors to the CEPI-funded University of Queensland and Clover Biopharmaceuticals Inc., which will now have access to the drug maker’s adjuvant technology.
The adjuvant technology is believed to improve the potency of a vaccine and can significantly reduce the doses required to achieve immunity against the disease being vaccinated against.
5. Heats Biologics Inc.
Heat Biologics is also in the race to finding a vaccine for the novel coronavirus. Its COVID-19 vaccine has been added to the World Health Organization draft landscape as among the top 41 potential vaccines for the coronavirus diseases.
Heat Biologics Inc. recently joined forces with the Alliance for Biosecurity to seek government funding to push on with the development of a vaccine for the coronavirus.
Developing a vaccine is a slow process and often requires a lot of testing and approvals. As such, it typically takes up to ten years before a vaccine is made available to the public. With the outbreak, however, it is likely that a vaccine will be approved faster, but most experts believe even with the fastest approach, a vaccine for the coronavirus will most likely be available worldwide no earlier than 2021.