[Newsletter] Round-Up of COVID-19 Vaccine Updates: Week Commencing October 05, 2020

With the news on the novel coronavirus pandemic ever-changing, and the search for COVID-19 vaccines still continuing, it is difficult to stay on top of the goings-on of the vaccines in development. To help you stay on top of things, Nidhi Parekh of The Shared Microscope writes weekly updates on the vaccines alone.

Struggling to keep up with the goings-on of the COVID-19 vaccines?! We’ve got you covered! Check out our weekly COVID-19 Newsletter for the latest information on COVID-19 drugs and vaccines. #TSMUpdates #VaccineInfo #COVID19Updates


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COVID-19 Top Vaccines

There are currently 11 COVID-19 vaccines in the final phase of clinical trials. The final phase results of all these vaccines are currently awaited. For more information on the regulatory process for vaccines (which is a labyrinth), check out this post here.


 


1. The Oxford/AstraZeneca Vaccine

What is The Oxford/AstraZeneca Vaccine?

Among the top COVID-19 vaccine contenders, is the Oxford/AstraZeneca vaccine. The vaccine uses a replication-defective viral vector type vaccine – for a jargon-free article explaining these terms, check out our post here.

Latest Update

After a temporary pause due to a suspected adverse reaction, the AstraZeneca trial was resumed everywhere except for in the United States. 

To date, AstraZeneca has signed agreements with various governments to supply nearly three billion doses of their ChAdOx1 nCoV-19 vaccine worldwide. Phase 3 results are still currently awaited. 


2. The Moderna Vaccine

What is The Moderna Vaccine?

The Moderna vaccine is an mRNA type vaccine – it contains all the necessary information on how to produce the SARS-CoV-2 spike protein. For more on how this vaccine works, feel free to check out our blog post here.

Latest Update

Moderna has confirmed that “as of Friday, October 09, 2020, 28,618 participants have been enrolled in the Phase 3 COVE [Coronavirus Efficacy] study” conducted in collaboration with the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases (NIAID).

In addition to this, they also add that “34.5% of participants enrolled cumulatively are from diverse communities.” 22,194 participants have received their second dose of the vaccination and will undergo observation should any problems with safety and efficacy be identified.

Earlier this week, Moderna confirm that they will not be enforcing COVID-19 vaccine patents during the pandemic. According to Moderna’s CEO, Stephane Bancel, the company should have enough data from its clinical trials by November to know whether its coronavirus vaccine works. 


3. Sinovac’s CoronaVac Vaccine

What is The CoronaVac Vaccine?

CoronaVac is a vaccine of the inactivated type, being developed by Sinovac Pharmaceuticals. This means that the SARS-CoV-2 vaccine is harvested in bulk, and then killed/inactivated so it can no longer cause any disease — an “old school tried-and-tested” method in the science of vaccine development. The inactivated version of the virus is then injected into our body to raise a robust immune response. For more on this vaccine and how it works, check out our blog post here.

Latest Update

Sinovac’s CoronaVac is one of four promising vaccines being developed by China. Sinovac expects to begin analysing final-stage clinical trials data later this year.

CoronaVac has entered Phase 3 clinical trials in Turkey with an estimated enrollment of 13,000 participants. The company says that their vaccine is nearly ready and will be rolled out across the world early next year. Official results of Phase 3 clinical trial results are awaited.


4. Cansino’s Ad5-nCoV

What is Cansino’s Ad5-nCoV vaccine?

Cansino’s vaccine, like the Oxford University/AstraZeneca vaccine, uses a replication-defective adenovirus viral vector carrying vital information about the SARS-CoV-2 spike protein, which is vital in causing COVID-19 infection.

Latest Update

There has been no update on Cansino’s Ad5-nCoV vaccine this week. Please note, again, that scientists have raised concerns that the effectiveness of Cansino’s Ad5-nCoV vaccine may be limited since it uses a common cold virus as a vector. Safety concerns have not been raised.


5. Unnamed Inactive Vaccine – Wuhan

What is The Inactive Virus Vaccine From Wuhan?

The Wuhan Institute of Biological Products developed an inactivated vaccine, created by first harvesting the viral particles and then inactivating them using heat or chemicals. For this reason, the vaccine is similar to the CoronaVac vaccine listed above.

Latest Update

Earlier this week, Sinopharm revealed that hundreds of Chinese had already taken the company’s two leading COVID-19 experimental vaccines – the Unnamed Inactive Vaccine from Wuhan and the BBIBP-CorV. Recipients for the vaccines include health workers, and other targetted froups like transport workers, people travelling to countries with high COVID-19 infection rates, frozen food logistics workers, staff in supermarkets or other enclosed spaces, and employees of schools, orphanages, jails and elderly care homes. 


6. Sinopharm’s BBIBP-CorV

What is Sinopharm’s BBIBP-CorV?

Sinopharm’s BBIBP-CorV again, like Sinovac’s CoronaVac and Wuhan’s unnamed vaccine candidate, is a vaccine of the inactivated type. Upon vaccination, our body is able to generate a diverse immune response against the virus, to protect against future infection by the SARS-CoV-2 virus.

Latest Update

Earlier this week, Sinopharm revealed that hundreds of Chinese had already taken the company’s two leading COVID-19 experimental vaccines – the Unnamed Inactive Vaccine from Wuhan and the BBIBP-CorV. Recipients for the vaccines include health workers, and other targetted froups like transport workers, people travelling to countries with high COVID-19 infection rates, frozen food logistics workers, staff in supermarkets or other enclosed spaces, and employees of schools, orphanages, jails and elderly care homes. 


7. Pfizer and BioNTech’s BNT162b2

What is Pfizer and BioNTech’s BNT162 Vaccine?

Pfizer and BioNTech have collaborated with Chinese drug maker Fosun Pharma to develop an mRNA vaccine, much like the vaccine in development by Moderna. The messenger RNA in this vaccine is a pre-fusion stabilised membrane-anchored SARS-CoV-2 full-length spike protein. For a jargon-free article on how this vaccine works, check out our post here.

Latest Update

According to the CEO of Pfizer, Albert Bourla, the vaccine may be ready as early as late October. They are currently trying to defuse the situation with critics amid their push for vaccine before election day (November 03, 2020). 

New Zealand has only yesterday signed a deal with Pfizer for 1.5 million coronavirus vaccines. According to Reuters, Health Canada will start a rolling real-time review of Pfizer and BioNTech’s experimental COVID-19 vaccine. To learn about the latest on this vaccine, check out our previous newsletter here.


8. The Russian Gam-COVID-Vac

What is the Gam-COVID-Vac?

The Gam-COVID-Vac, or the Sputnik V, is a COVID-19 vaccine candidate developed by the Gamaleya Research Institute (Russia).

Latest Update

There have been no new updates on this vaccine this week. For the latest updates on this vaccine, check out our post here.


9. Novavax’s NVX-CoV2373

What is Novavax’s NVX-CoV2373?

The NVX-CoV2373 is the COVID-19 candidate vaccine in development by Novavax. It too uses an old “tried-and-tested” method, which looks promising. The vaccine is a protein subunit type of vaccine — this essentially means that Novavax produces the spike proteins (which are vital for the SARS-CoV-2 virus to cause COVID-19 infection) are produced in bulk and then purified. The purified spike proteins are then used to provoke an immune response in our bodies, which will help us fight off any COVID-19 infection in the future. For a complete run-down of how this vaccine works and how it’s made, check out our previous post on the vaccine here.

Latest Update

Novavax’s vaccine candidate, NVX-CoV2373 is set to go into Phase 3 clinical trials in the United States this month. 10,000 people in the UK have already been enrolled to test out this vaccine. 


10. Johnson & Johnson’s JNJ-78436735/Ad26.CoV2-S

What is Johnson & Johnson’s COVID-19 Vaccine?

Johnson & Johnson’s pharmaceutical arm, Janssen, has developed another adenovirus-based vaccine against COVID-19 (JNJ-78436735/Ad26.CoV2-S). This vaccine too uses an adenovirus vector that expresses the viral spike protein normally found on the SARS-CoV-2 virus (which causes COVID-19). The adenovirus vector cannot multiply (as it normally would in disease) as essential genes required for multiplication are deleted. Upon vaccination, the individual will produce an immune response against the adenovirus AND the spike protein — thereby protecting us from COVID-19 infection in the future.

Latest Update

There have been no new updates on the J&J vaccine. For last weeks updates, check out our previous newsletter here.


11. Murdoch Children’s Research Institute’s BCG Vaccine Trial

What is Murdoch Children’s Research Institute Doing?

Murdoch Children’s Research Institute is conducting research to check if the BCG vaccine (used as protection against tuberculosis) also protects from the COVID-19 causing novel coronavirus, SARS-CoV-2. The BCG vaccine was invented in the 1900s and is used to this day for the prevention of tuberculosis (TB). Phase 3 trials using this vaccine are currently ongoing.

The Latest Update

Evidence suggested that the BCG vaccine protected not only against TB but also may protect from viral illnesses, respiratory infections and sepsis. There is also talk that the BCG vaccine may bolster the body’s immune system. There have been no new updates on this trial. For our latest updates, check out our previous newsletter here.


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