Q&A: Where are we in the COVID-19 vaccine race?

Drug makers and research centers around the world are working on the COVID-19 vaccine, with thousands of candidates undergoing a major global trial involving thousands of participants. Some companies had suggested that preliminary test data could be ready for release in October but have since pushed it to November and December.


Q&A: Where are we in the COVID-19 vaccine race?

The vaccine race to help eradicate the coronavirus epidemic, which claims more than a million lives worldwide, we know about the race to be vaccinated’ below:


Who's away with that?


American drugmaker Pfizer Inc., along with U.S. partners Biotech SE, and American Biotech Moderna Inc. may receive preliminary data in November. AstraZeneca PLC, based in the UK, in partnership with the University of Oxford, and Johnson & Johnson say they are on track to provide their vaccine data this year.

What happens in these trials?


Companies are testing their vaccines against placebo - usually saline solutions - in healthy volunteers to see if vaccine recipients have significantly lower rates of COVID-19 infection than dummy shot recipients.


Why are data reports beyond actual predictions?


Trial depends on subjects who are naturally infected’ with the coronavirus, so how long it takes to produce results depends on how widespread the virus is where the trials are being conducted. Each drug maker has targeted a specific number of infections to begin the first analysis of its data.


For example, Pfizer believes that it may find that its vaccine contracts COVID-19 to 32 people at a time in a trial of 44,000 people, while the majority of those infected have a placebo. Achieved.


But drugmakers say the insufficient number of infections before the recent rise in cases has reduced their ability to present statistics. Pfizer said in October that trial data was not expected’ to be available until the end of November due to a slow infection rate. Earlier, it was suggested’ that this would happen in October.


AstraZeneca said the slowdown in the infection over the summer has delayed its UK trial and hopes to see results by the end of the year. The timeline was also extended’ by a pause to investigate a disease in a trial participant in the UK.


With the rate of infection slowing down in late summer and early autumn, cases of Covid 19 spread again in October and early November, as the weather cooled, setting daily records in the United States and Europe. And people moved into homes. Experts advise that trial participants are more careful to avoid compromising on Cove 19, knowing that they have a placebo than the general population.


How will we know if the vaccine will work?


The United States, the European Union, the United Kingdom and the World Health Organization have set similar minimum standards of effectiveness. Some regulators have said that vaccines should demonstrate at least 50% efficacy - which means that volunteers who have received placebo at least twice have an infection, such as those in the vaccine group. The European Medicines Agency says it can accept low levels of efficacy.


When will regulators decide?


Vaccines will be reviewed’ once companies have sufficient data to submit applications for Emergency Use Permit (EUA) or formal approval. They may make an early decision in December because Moderna and Pfizer / Bionetics do not expect adequate safety data until the second half of November. U.S. regulators say participants should be monitored’ for side effects for up to two months after receiving the final dose of the vaccine. AstraZeneca could take a look at the death toll by the end of the year. UK officials say there is little chance they will decide on the vaccine by the end of December.


Regulators in Europe, the UK, and Canada are considering rolling data as soon as it becomes available. They expect a quick review of preliminary data for the possible use of emergency use before more traditional lengthy reviews for formal commercial approval.


Could this be the first approved coronavirus vaccine?


Yes, although China and Russia are on the same timeline. China launched an emergency use program in July aimed at putting workers and others at high risk of infection, which has inoculated hundreds of thousands of people. At least four vaccines remain, including the China National Biotech Group [CHNAPF.UL] (CNBG), CanSino Biologics and Sinovac. Sinovac and the CNBG have said they expect trial data to be released’ as early as November. Russia's Jamila Institute has begun a late-stage trial of 40,000 people and is expected’ to have preliminary figures in November. Russia has also vaccinated at least hundreds of "high-risk" members of the general population.


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