COVID-19 knowledge is rapidly changing as we grow closer to developing a vaccine. 

COVID-19 vaccine update 

AstraZeneca’s and the University of Oxford’s Coronavirus vaccine development was put on hold on Tuesday, Sept. 8. This is because the vaccine could not advance through the trials due to a United Kingdom participant contracting an unexplained illness. 

Three days after the announcement, an independent committee felt it was safe to relaunch the study. Vaccine development resumed in the U.K., South Africa, Brazil and the U.S. 

Pfizer is a company that applies science and global resources to bring therapy to people that enhance their lives. As of now, they are developing a vaccine, where they believe is looking safe, and they hope to have data within the next month. The company is expanding its trial from 30,000 to 44,000 people, which will include teenagers, ages 16-18, and those with HIV, hepatitis A, B or C. 

Data was released on Tuesday that showed younger participants and senior citizens had minor side effects, such as headaches and sore arms. 

Moderna is a clinical-stage biotechnology company where they focus on developing messenger RNA therapeutics and vaccines. AstraZeneca, Pfizer and Moderna are front runners in developing a coronavirus vaccine, becoming the first Western-based companies to successfully develop vaccines. There has become a competitive advantage for Pfizer and Moderna as AstraZeneca had their vaccine trial put on hold. 

COVID-19 vaccine updates around the world

From what we know, vaccines require years of research and testing before they can be received in a clinical setting. Times are changing and scientists are rushing to develop a safe and effective vaccine. As of now, researchers are testing 40 vaccines on humans and 92 preclinical vaccines under active investigation on animals. 

The University of Hong Kong, Covaxx and the University of Tȕbingen have entered Phase 1 of vaccines. AstraZeneca has resumed trials in Britain and Brazil while two Phase 3 vaccines by Sinopharm were given emergency approval. 

There is a development cycle for the vaccine from the lab all the way down to the clinic. This consists of five cycles which are: Preclinical Testing, Phase 1 Safety Trials, Phase 2 Expanded Trials, Phase 3 Efficacy Trials and Approval. 

In the Preclinical Testing, as scientists start testing a new vaccine on cells, they must move towards animals for an immune response. Phases 1, 2 and 3 give vaccines to a small group of people and then to thousands of people.

There are companies who are in the combined phases where their result is to accelerate vaccine development. The combined phases would be of Phase 1 and 2, there are about 10 companies that are combining phases as we speak. 

The third phase of trials have revealed unforeseen, rare side effects. Before the vaccine gets to approval, the vaccine must be at least 50 percent effective for it to win federal approval and is given to the public. After it is 50 percent effective, a vaccine is licensed and researchers begin to monitor people who receive it to ensure the vaccine is safe and effective. 

China and Russia have vaccines that were approved early without waiting for the results from the Phase 3 trials. Experts and scientists believe that this process is being rushed and can be a serious risk for the people involved

Vaccine ready by November or 2021

Alex Azar, the U.S. Secretary of Health and Human Services, believes the vaccine should be ready as early as Nov. 1, 2020 in Nashville, Tennessee. 

Vanderbilt University Medical Center is currently conducting clinical testing of one of three coronavirus vaccines. This could be released to the American public. They are part of a large trial involving 30,000 participants of a vaccine called Moderna

If Moderna’s vaccine is proved to be effective, it would deliver  500 million doses a year in 2021. Striving from 500 million doses to a billion a year in 2021, Moderna chooses to sell the vaccine for profit. 

Although vaccines may be ready soon, individuals should still be wearing masks and social distancing to slow the spread of coronavirus.