The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) believes that a COVID-19 vaccine could be broadly rolled out to the public by the middle of 2021. Though President Donald Trump has contradicted this timeline by stating 100 million doses of a COVID-19 vaccine could be distributed by the end of 2020. Either way, a vaccine is a priority for the millions of US residents who see it as a ticket back to work, as measures meant to curb the spread of the virus has caused businesses to close.
Around the world, scores of companies are racing to develop a cure and we have compiled a list of five companies that could be close to success. Here are the teams that could be providing a vaccine to the US public.
Moderna was the first pharmaceutical firm to conduct human trials of a COVID-19 vaccine in the US. The company stated that it should know sometime in November whether its vaccine works. Moderna's vaccine, which uses messenger RNA, to trick the body into producing viral proteins to fight disease, could require two shots to protect from the coronavirus.
The company has enrolled more than 25,000 people in its Phase 3 trial and around 10,000 volunteers have received a second shot in the Phase 3 trial. The company had reported promising results in a smaller-scale test earlier this year.
Johnson & Johnson
Johnson & Johnson (J&J) plans to enroll around 60,000 participants in a Phase 3 trial set to begin by the end of September. This large pool of participants would make the trial twice as large as any of its rivals.
Earlier this month, J&J revealed that its potential coronavirus vaccine prevented illness in a small group of hamsters. The drugmaker said it is using the same technologies for its COVID-19 vaccine was used to create its Ebola vaccine, which was supplied to patients in the Democratic Republic of Congo.
Just this Monday (September 21) President Donald Trump on Monday suggested Pfizer could secure the first US approval for a Covid-19 vaccine in the coming weeks. Trump isn’t alone with his enthusiasm for Pfizer’s vaccine, as Bill Gates has also indicated that he believes Pfizer is a clear leader in the race to develop a vaccine.
Earlier this month, Pfizer CEO Albert Bourla said the company has enrolled about 23,000 people for its Phase 3 COVID-19 vaccine trial so far and expects initial results in late October.
Clinical trials for the AstraZeneca Oxford COVID-19 vaccine resumed in the UK earlier this month following confirmation by the Medicines Health Regulatory Authority (MHRA) that it was safe to do so. The company’s vaccine tests were briefly put on hold due to a suspected adverse reaction in a participant in the UK.
AstraZeneca began its Phase 3 trial in the US in late August and is currently testing at 62 sites across the country.
Novavax is gearing up to make its COVID-19 vaccine widely available. This month the biotech company inked a new deal with its manufacturer to increase the manufacturing capacity of its potential vaccine to over two billion doses annually by mid-2021.
In late August, Novovax announced that the first volunteers had been enrolled in the Phase 2 portion of its ongoing clinical trial to evaluate the safety and effectivness of its COVID-19 vaccine candidate, called NVX-CoV2373.
It should be noted that while vaccines are important, the CDC is quick to advise that masks may be the most effective way to end the COVID-19 pandemic.
During a congressional hearing, CDC Director Robert Redfield stated, "I might even go so far as to say that this face mask is more guaranteed to protect me against COVID than when I take a COVID vaccine. Because the immunogenicity may be 70%, and if I don't get an immune response, the vaccine's not going to protect me. This face mask will."
Redfield also advised, "These face masks are the most important, powerful public health tool we have. And I will continue to appeal for all Americans, all individuals in our country, to embrace these face coverings. I've said if we did it for 6, 8, 10, 12 weeks, we'd bring this pandemic under control."
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