70 COVID-19 vaccines under development; 3 candidates in human trials: WHO

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New Delhi: The World Health Organization (WHO) said that at least 70 potential coronavirus vaccines are currently in development globally, with three of them already being tested in humans. Three candidate vaccines developed by CanSino, Moderna, and Inovio – are already in clinical evaluation.

On April 11, WHO released an updated list of vaccine efforts being made across the globe as top drugmakers, scientists and independent researchers join an unprecedented race to develop a vaccine for COVID-19. Developing a safe and effective vaccine is a lengthy and expensive process. Yet, WHO noted that a vaccine may ultimately be instrumental in controlling this worldwide pandemic.

As the coronavirus continues to spread rapidly across the world, drugmakers, scientists and researchers have come together as part of an international collaboration to help accelerate the availability of a vaccine against SARS-CoV-2. The unprecedented worldwide collaboration is coordinated by the WHO.

The vaccine developed by the Institute of Biotechnology, Academy of Military Medical Sciences of China, has entered the second phase of clinical trial with 500 hundred volunteers participating in the study. US-based biotech startups Inovio Pharmaceuticals and Moderna have both started human safety trials. Once a vaccine enters the phase-3 trial, it is tested for efficacy and safety and given to thousands of people.

Although, vaccines for coronavirus are being developed at an unprecedented speed, Dr Anthony Fauci, White House Health Advisor and director of the US National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, has said that it will take at least 12-18 months for a COVID-19 vaccine to be available for use in the US.

Apart from the vaccines, the WHO had earlier revealed that as many as 70 drugs and experimental cocktails are being examined for the treatment of COVID-19. The UN health agency launched a trial called ‘SOLIDARITY’. The trial will collect reliable data and compare the safety and effectiveness of four treatment protocols using different combinations of remdesivir, lopinavir/ritonavir, Interferon beta, chloroquine and hydroxychloroquine.

Till date, at least 117,489 people in the world have lost their lives to the novel coronavirus, while more than 1,889,410 cases have been registered in 193 countries and territories.

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