Pharmaceutical companies worldwide are looking for a vaccine against the SARS-CoV-2 coronavirus. Some are already testing their active ingredients on humans. We give an overview of the research.
Since the global spread of the corona virus, people have been asking the question: when does a vaccine against the pathogen come? Many pharmaceutical companies and scientists are working flat out to research possible vaccines.
Over 133 research projects worldwide
According to the Association of Researching Pharmaceutical Companies (vfa), there are now at least 133 research projects. Some of their projects are already in phase two of three in clinical trials. That means: After the efficacy and tolerability of the vaccine candidate was first successfully tested on animals and in the first clinical phase on a small group of up to 30 volunteers, the active ingredient is now being tested on a larger group of 50 to 500 volunteers. The tolerance, the dosage and the reaction of the immune system are examined.
Recently, the US company Moderna announced promising interim results for its agent mRNA-1273. Moderna had started the first phase of volunteer testing in the United States in mid-March. According to the biotech company, the participants in this first clinical study developed antibodies that were at least as concentrated as in recovered corona patients after two vaccinations. As a result of the treatment, they had become immune to SARS-CoV-2. Vaccination with mRNA-1273 also stopped the multiplication of the pathogen in the lungs in animal experiments with mice.
The Chinese company CanSino Biologics is also working with the Beijing Institute of Biotechnology on a vaccine that has already reached phase 2 of clinical trials in China. The British Oxford University is researching a so-called vector virus vaccine. The first volunteer test phase has been running in the UK since late April. Phase 3 of around 30,000 patients and a series of tests with children are imminent. The UK is expected to be supplied with the vaccine in September.
It is unclear whether such a point in time is realistic. Many experts assume that it will take 12 to 18 months before a vaccine is available. Other experts spoke of the end of the year.
Research among others in Tübingen
The Tuebingen-based company Curevac is developing a gene-based vaccine that contains selected genes from the virus. According to the company, positive results have already been achieved. From June, the drug will be tested on subjects in Germany and Belgium. According to the Paul Ehrlich Institute, a vaccine from the German Center for Infection Research is also promising. So far, only the Biontech company from Mainz has received approval in Germany.
The French company Sanofi is researching a dead vaccine with genetically engineered virus antigen. It has not yet been tested on humans. The first tests on people are planned for the second half of 2020.
Producing large quantities of vaccines is a challenge
If a safe and effective vaccine can be found in the foreseeable future, there is another challenge ahead: the rapid production of large quantities of vaccine doses and their distribution among the population. To accelerate widespread production, several companies and research institutes want to expand their production capacities for a Covid-19 vaccine. Some, including Moderna and Oxford University, plan to begin mass-producing vaccine candidates before human testing is complete
In addition, companies that are not researching their own Covid 19 vaccine have agreed to support the production of other companies’ vaccines. These include the Japanese company Takeda and Bayer.
The colleagues from “Research up to date” have only just dealt with vaccines again and have provided an overview (audio link).
Further articles on the corona virus
We have created a news blog. In view of the large amount of information, it offers an overview of the most important current developments.
Vacation and leisure
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+ Travel: What the 2020 vacation could look like
+ Vacation: Which rules apply to trains and airplanes
+ Tourism: dispute over voucher solutions for travelers
+ Swimming: How to continue with the outdoor pool and swimming pool
+ Sport: How to continue with a sports club and gym
Coronavirus pandemic numbers and data
Corona pandemic – and afterwards? What about environmental protection after the crisis?
+ Figures from Europe: How the corona virus spreads in Europe
+ Current developments: Figures on the corona virus in Germany
+ Germany: Why the death rate from the corona virus is (still) so low in Germany
+ Undetected infected: What is the undisclosed number of coronavirus infections
+ Mortality: How deadly is the corona virus really?
Illness and protection
+ Droplet infection or suspended particles: What role do aerosol particles play in the transmission of the coronavirus?
+ Spread: How dangerous are super spreaders in the corona pandemic?
+ Vaccination: Research has progressed
Treatment: how far is the search for drugs against Covid-19?
+ Contagion: When should daycare centers and schools open again?
+ Face masks: What you should know about protective masks
+ Shopping trolley and Co.: How long the corona virus stays on surfaces
Fake news, conspiracy theories, protests
+ Corona demos: Opponents of the Corona measures are in the minority
+ Corona False News: Doctors and virologists warn of infodemic
+ Self-proclaimed party: How resistance 2020 questions the corona crisis
Widespread accusations: How Bill Gates became the target of conspiracy theorists
You can also find the Dlf news on Twitter at: @DLFNachrichten.