COVID-19 Vaccine Candidates Enter Human Testing
There are more than 100 coronavirus vaccines in development with at least 20 expected to begin human testing in 2020. The pandemic has created an urgent need for a vaccine and pharmaceutical companies are working to accelerate the development process to meet demand. The research team from Oxford University had previously developed an effective vaccine against a related coronavirus Middle East Respiratory Syndrome (MERS) and this has helped them to quickly move into phase 1 human testing of their COVID-19 candidate. In January, the team began adapting their technique to fight SARS-CoV-2, the virus that causes COVID-19. Human trials began on April 23rd in the UK and if successful the vaccine could be available as early as September.
CanSino Biologics is currently conducting human trials of a similar viral vector vaccine in China while Pfizer and BioNTech have been authorized to begin human testing of their four mRNA vaccine candidates in Germany. In April, Innovio Pharmaceuticals announced that they have begun human trials of their DNA vaccine with results expected in June. Meanwhile, Moderna Therapeutics, one of the first companies to begin human testing of their COVID-19 vaccine candidate, recently announced that its phase 1 human trials are continuing on schedule while phase 2 human trials are expected to begin in spring.
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