The world is anticipating the availability of a suitable COVID-19 vaccine soon as researchers and pharmaceutical companies are busy developing vaccines for the deadly virus that has infected more than 20 million globally.
As of last month, there had been 24 clinical trials and 142 pre-clinical trials on the COVID-19 vaccines worldwide.
There are six types of vaccine designs being developed around the world: Non-activated virus vaccine, subunit protein vaccine, virus-like particle (VLP), weakened live virus, DNA vaccine, and vector vaccine.
Many countries cast doubt over Russia-produced COVID-19 vaccine
Russia President Vladimir Putin on 11 August announced that Russia was the first country in the world that approves the COVID-19 vaccine regulation.
The incumbent leader also claimed that the vaccines produced by Gamaleya Research Institute of Epidemiology and Microbiology in Moscow had gained approval for use. Officials also said that Russia would start mass vaccination in October.
The official statement sparked protests from the world’s scientific community as final clinical trials on the vaccines have yet to be concluded. Russia has also not published the result of the first clinical trial.
The World Health Organization (WHO) stated that its approval will necessitate a thorough data review regarding its safety.
“We are in close contact with the Russian health authorities and discussions are ongoing concerning possible WHO pre-qualification of the vaccine,” said the United Nations’ health agency’s spokesman Tarik Jasarevic.
Indonesia prioritised for COVID-19 vaccine access from China
Indonesia is said to be prioritised for access to a China-made COVID-19 vaccine — the country will be participating in the final clinical trial of vaccine candidates from Sinovac Biotech on humans.
Head of Clinical Trial at Indonesia’s state-owned pharmaceutical company Bio Farma Rini Mulia Sari told Kompas on 12 August that there would be a technology transfer, meaning the vaccines sold in Indonesia would be produced by the company.
Sinovac is also conducting a clinical trial in other countries such as Bangladesh and Brazil.
Indonesia is also partnering with potential vaccine-producing countries such as South Korea and the United Arab Emirates.
Novavax signs a deal with the British government
The UK announced that it will be ordering 60 million doses of COVID-19 vaccines from the US-based pharmaceutical firm Novavax for the third phase of the clinical trial.
“We are honoured to partner with the UK government to deliver a vaccine that could provide vital protection in the fight against the global health crisis,” said Stanley C. Erck, President and Chief Executive Officer of Novavax in a statement on Friday (14 August).
The company stated that it would supply dosages of NVX-CoV2372 to the UK starting the first quarter of next year. In comparison, the Phase 2 trial is expected to resume in the third quarter.
Mr Erck added that the Phase 3 trial in the UK is the most crucial part of assessing the efficacy of the COVID-19 vaccine NVX-CoV2373.
The Phase 1 trial showed a satisfactory result as the vaccine could evoke antibody responses.
Additionally, Novavax is partnering with global pharmaceutical firm FUJIFILM Diosynth Biotechnologies to produce its antigen at the UK site.