COVID-19: These are the 11 vaccines that are in the last phase of clinical trials in humans

Of the 48 experimental vaccines against COVID-19 currently in human clinical trials, only eleven have entered phase 3, the last one before approval by the health authorities, according to the World Health Organization (WHO).

This is a review of the first vaccines likely to reach the market.

“The messenger RNA”, at the forefront

These are currently potential vaccines that appear to be the most advanced and using ultra-innovative technology. This consists of injecting fragments of genetic instructions called messenger RNA into human cells to make specific coronavirus proteins or “antigens”. These proteins will be delivered to the immune system, which will then produce antibodies.


The US giant and its German partner BioNTech are preparing to apply to the US Medicines Agency for an emergency use authorization for a vaccine that could be available before the end of the year. The companies presented provisional results of phase 3 a few days ago with an efficiency of “more than 90%” in the participants, before announcing this Wednesday full results that have an efficiency of 95%.


The American Biotechnology Society announced Monday that their vaccine was 94.5% effective. Plan to produce 20 million doses before the end of the year.

Well known inactivated virus technology

Several vaccines use this technology: the infectious agents of the SARS-CoV-2 they are treated chemically, or by heat, to lose their harmfulness, while preserving their ability to elicit an immune response. It is the most traditional way of vaccination.


The Chinese biotechnology company started a phase 3 trial for the “CoronaVac“with thousands of volunteers, mainly in Brazil.


Other chinese laboratory, for its part, launched two vaccine projects with Chinese research institutes. China plans to produce before the end of the year 610 million doses per year of various vaccines against new coronavirus, and has already authorized urgent use of some of them.

Indian vaccine

The Indian company Bharat Biotech began in November, for its part, recruiting about 26,000 people for its “COVAXIN“developed with the support of the Indian government, and bet on a vaccine available in the first half of 2021.

Viral vector vaccines

“Viral vector” vaccines use another more virulent virus as carrier, transformed to add a part of the virus responsible for the COVID-19. The modified virus penetrates the cells of vaccinated people, which make a typical SARS-CoV-2 protein, educating their immune systems to recognize it.


Anglo-Swedish group, and the University of Oxford: their vaccine uses an adenovirus as a viral vector. Results of the trial are expected this year.

Johnson & Johnson

The American launched two clinical trials of his candidate composed of a modified adenovirus, one of a single dose and the other of two. Around the world, 90,000 volunteers will participate. Results are expected in the first quarter of 2021.

CanSino Biological

The Chinese company developed “Ad5-nCoV“, in conjunction with the army, an adenovirus-based vaccine. Phase 3 trials have been launched in Mexico, Russia and Pakistan.

Sputnik V

Developed by the Gamaleya Epidemiology Research Center, with the Russian Defense Ministry, this vaccine is based on the use of two viral vectors, two adenoviruses. The Russians announced a few days ago an efficiency of 92%. However, the Gamaleya institute is accused of breaking the usual protocols to speed up the scientific process. Several senior Russian officials announced that they had already been vaccinated with Sputnik V.

A recombinant protein vaccine


The American biotechnology company is working on a so-called recombinant “subunit” vaccine. The new coronavirus It has on its surface some tips (viral proteins) to come into contact with cells and infect them. These proteins can be replicated and then presented to the immune system for reaction. Novavax launched its phase 3 clinical trial in September United Kingdom and at the end of November a rehearsal is due to begin in the United States. They wait preliminary data for the first quarter of 2021. (AFP)


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