COVID-19 Vaccine Development Updates
As of 11 May 2020, the World Health Organization reports that there are currently 8 candidate vaccines in clinical evaluation and 102 candidate vaccines in preclinical evaluation.
Considering the lengthy vaccine development process which typically spans between 5 to 7 years, the speed and urgency with which industry partners are moving to develop a vaccine, to ensure we achieve outbreak control is something to be proud of.
It is hoped that it will take as little as 12 to 18 months before a vaccine is available and with the combined knowledge and urgency that now exists in research and design, we have reason to be confident of a future without COVID-19. The International Alliance of Patients' Organizations is strongly committtd to supporting the development of a vaccine however now more than ever, we call for guareentees that ensure that once we develop a vaccine, everyone can benefit.
In line with this, we as IAPO support the World Health Organization’s Access to COVID-19 Tools Accelerator initiative. This is a global collaboration taskforce to accelerate the development, production and equitable access to new COVID-19 diagnostics, therapeutics and vaccines. This pooling of resources as proposed in the WHO initiative will allow open access to the data, rights and technologies used in testing, treating and preventing infections. Doing so would accelerate global research efforts, protect universal access and enable the production of a vaccine at scale.
Vaccine updates from our partners
Johnson & Johnson
Johnson & Johnson (J&J) and partners announced on 30 March the selection of a lead vaccine candidate for COVID-19 from constructs it has been working on since January 2020. Working towards an anticipated emergency use date of early 2021, they have already begun preparations for clinical vaccine production at its facility in Leiden, the Netherlands, with the aim of initiating Phase 1 human clinical studies of its vaccine candidate in September 2020. As part of this effort, J&J is expanding its manufacturing capacity through a series of global collaborations to ensure global supply of more than one billion doses of a safe and effective vaccine. Price will not be an issue with a vaccine as they are committed to supplying a billion vaccines at not-for-profit pricing. They promise that It will be available, accessible and affordable.
J&J has also launched a live weekly educational series called “The Road to a Vaccine” that airs every Tuesday at 12pm EDT. The eight-episode series, hosted by journalist Lisa Ling, uncovers the complex scientific efforts underway around the world to develop a vaccine. In each episode, leading scientists and researchers, healthcare workers on the front lines and public health experts around the world discuss how they are working collaboratively to help bring an end to the deadly pandemic and what we might expect from an approved vaccine.
GSK announced on 14 April that they had joined forces with Sanofi to develop an adjuvanted vaccine for COVID-19, using innovative technologies from both companies which is expected to enter clinical trials in the second half of 2020 and, if successful and subject to regulatory considerations, aim to complete the development required for availability by the second half of 2021.
Pfizer and BioNTech announced in April that they have entered into a partnership to jointly develop BioNTech’s COVID-19 vaccine candidate. The two companies plan to jointly conduct clinical trials initially in the United States and Europe across multiple sites by the end of April 2020. On April 22, the German regulatory authority, the Paul-Ehrlich-Institut, approved the Phase 1/2 clinical trial for BioNTech’s BNT162 vaccine program to prevent COVID-19 infection.