#VaccineTracker: Early COVID-19 vaccine results expected by September 15
As the COVID-19 crisis is deteriorating with every passing day, all the hopes are pinned on the development of a safe and effective vaccine. The companies working on the shots have maintained that they expect to have them ready by the end of this year, but it depends on the final data, part of which will be published this month. Here are more details.
Over 170 vaccine candidates developed so far
Ever since the pandemic began, leading institutes and pharma companies have been racing to develop a vaccine. Their efforts have led to the development of more than 170 candidates, of which 34 are moving through different stages of human trials around the world. These studies, conducted on thousands of people in three phases, are aimed at providing data on the candidates' safety and efficacy.
Results from front-runners likely to be published first
Out of the 34 candidates in human trials, a select few are in the large-scale third phase - the last hurdle before regulatory approvals. From this group, UK-based AstraZeneca is expected to be the first one to publish early results on whether their shot can prevent COVID-19 infection. As per Airfinity Ltd., an analytics company tracking drug trials, their data could come by mid-September.
Moderna, Pfizer expected to follow next
After AstraZeneca, US giants Moderna and Pfizer could be sharing their late-stage trial results. Their data, according to Airfinity, could come before October 22, which is when the Food and Drug Administration plans to have a key meeting over COVID-19 vaccines. To note, Moderna was the first American company to get started with the human trials of a COVID-19 vaccine.
Sinovac could be the fourth candidate to publish data
The fourth company to publish human trial data could be China's Sinovac Biotech. Airfinity came to these estimates on the basis of the publicly available data on each of these companies' trial enrollment and design as well as the rate of infections where the participants have been enrolled. If the rate of infection is high, the chances of gathering efficacy data sooner automatically increase.
This data will be a good indicator
Having said that, it must be noted that this data will just be an indicator of vaccine efficacy rather than giving a complete picture. The full data for the three front-runners should be available by the end of this year, Airfinity noted. However, in the case of the US, if the September-October results are good enough, the vaccines could be given early emergency-use approval.
When Indians can expect a vaccine?
In India, the internationally leading shot developed by Oxford University and AstraZeneca is being tested and manufactured locally by Serum Institute of India and should become available by the end of this year. After that, homegrown candidates from Bharat Biotech and Zydus Cadila might follow up (if successful in ongoing human trials), providing a more affordable way to exit the pandemic.