Clinical trials for coronavirus vaccine progress
As the novel coronavirus (COVID-19) continues to spread across the world, scientists and researchers are working tirelessly to develop a vaccine. There are currently nearly 50 vaccine programs underway worldwide, according to the Milken Institute based in Santa Monica, California.
However, only three vaccine candidates have entered the Phase I of clinical trials, the first of three stages of human testing before approval.
Before reaching Phase I, a drug or vaccine is tested in non-human subjects to gather efficacy, toxicity, and pharmacokinetic information. Phase I testing determines drug safety using healthy volunteers. Phase II and Phase III test the drug on patients to assess efficacy and side effects and efficacy, effectiveness, and safety, respectively. From there, an approved drug or vaccine is monitored while in use in the general public.
The three vaccines entering Phase I testing include:
- Ad5-nCoV developed by the Beijing Institute of Biotech and CanSino Biologics
- mRNA-1273 developed by Moderna Therapeutics
- ChAdOx1 developed by the University of Oxford
Other vaccines still in preclinical stages include:
- BNT162 developed by Pfizer and BioNTech
- INO-4800 developed by Inovio Pharmaceuticals
- Unnamed DNA vaccine developed by Sanofi Pasteur
A nationwide trial is also underway to see if the drug hydroxychloroquine can prevent the disease in people exposed to COVID-19. The trials, which have been approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration, are being run by David Boulware, MD, MPH, an infectious disease scientist at the University of Minnesota. The trial was first posted on the U.S. National Library of Medicine website on March 16, and currently has over 550 healthy volunteers, with an aim to recruit 1,500.