• Race to a Cure Authors

SARS-CoV-2 Vaccine: Mid-Year Update

Back in May, we posted an article that covered three main vaccine frontrunners in the “race to a cure” for SARS-CoV-2, a virus that has been causing the coronavirus disease in people all over the world. While no specific vaccine has been decided on as of August 27, 2020, all of the vaccines that were covered in our previous article have progressed considerably, which will be also mentioned in this article along with any new initiatives that may seem to have the potential to conquer one of the most unprecedented public health crisis in history.

Cover Image: Vaccination(Image Courtesy of Wix)

May’s Vaccine Frontrunners: Then and Now

Moderna: As of May 29, 2020, The U.S. Food and Drug Administration(FDA) had consented Moderna to begin the Phase 2 of their trials, which requires them to perform clinical testing on animals. On July 27, the Phase 3 study of mRNA-1273, their vaccine, was announced in collaboration with the NIH and BARDA.

Oxford University: Similar to Moderna, they had completed the Phase 1 for their vaccine, ChAdOx1 nCoV-19, and were in the waiting period of data to be released. In July, the vaccine entered the third and final stage of its development as it.

Pfitzer: In collaboration with BioNTech, a German pharmaceutical company, have been working towards their BNT162 Vaccine. Although Phase 1 has not yet begun in the United States, Germany has been initiating trials. The Pfitzer vaccine, as last heard, had progressed into a combined stage of 1/2.

Therefore, as discussed, all three vaccines from our previous article: mRNA-1273, ChAdOx1 nCoV-19, and BNT162, have progressed to Stages 3 and 1/2, respectively.

Phases of Vaccine Development, extracted from a New York Times article.

Recent Advancements

Six other vaccines have entered Phase 3 and two have been approved for early or limited use. These include the Gamaleya Research Institute’s vaccine, Gam-Covid-Vac Lyo, and CanSino Biologics vaccine, Ad5. Both of these vaccines consist of bases of adenovirus, engineered with a coronavirus gene, and are expected to be introduced to Russia and China. While nothing is set in stone, most countries are hopeful about finalizing a vaccine by New Years.

Gam-Covid-Vac Lyo: According to a study published on August 13, 2020, Russia has raised the green flag without retrieving results of the vaccine that was only tested on a sample of 38 people. This form of approval is often known as "early approval" and can come with many consequences due to a potential lack of experience as well as information.

Ad5-nCoV: Originating in China, this vaccine required virologists to genetically engineer the adenovirus type 5 to express the SARS-CoV-2 spike protein. China has adopted to a "limited approval" model where it will open the vaccine to certain parts of its population with times. Similar to the vaccine approved by Russia, multiple concerns have been raised regarding the potential consequences of advancing into the system.

A Look at the Future

While nothing is set in stone, most countries are hopeful about finalizing a vaccine by New Years. In an unprecedented situation as such, it is very important to maintain social distancing measures as much as possible. 5.7 billion doses of SARS-CoV-2 vaccines have already been preordered in partnership with any one of the leading vaccine companies.


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Article Researcher and Author: Palak Agarwal