Coronavirus Vaccine: Who is Likely to Win the Race?

Dr. Naveed Aslam

3 min read

coronavirus-vaccine

Since the advent of Coronavirus pandemic which swamped the Globe, vaccination has been a topic of hot discussions as so far it appears to be the only panacea to the normality of life given that no miracle cure has been found yet.

Unfortunately, all successful trial treatment options discovered until now have shown limited efficacy in the management of this disease and conditional relative improvement in mortality. Therefore, enormous efforts have been stimulated towards the development of a vaccine that can take us out of this conundrum.

To untie all pieces of the puzzle for the availability of the vaccine, first, we have to look into the process right from it’s discovery to the point of it’s availability to the general public. A new vaccine has to go through many stages and phases which are underlined in the following paragraph synoptically.


Any new vaccine has to go through these stages:


1.Exploratory stage
2.Pre-clinical stage
3.Clinical development
4.Regulatory review and approval
5.Manufacturing
6.Quality control

Clinical Development of coronavirus vaccine

At stage three which is ‘Clinical development,’  a new vaccine has to go through a three-phase process. During Phase I, small groups of people receive the trial vaccine.

In Phase II, the clinical study is expanded and the vaccine is given to people who have characteristics (such as age and physical health) similar to those for whom the new vaccine is intended.

In Phase III, the vaccine is given to thousands of people and tested for efficacy and safety. Many vaccines undergo Phase IV formal, ongoing studies after the vaccine is approved and licensed.

Now as we got the gist of the journey of vaccine from its start till it reaches a regular person in a community. Let us have a look at the top-notch trio in this race. These include, “CoronaVac” by Sinovac Biotech LtddChAdOx1 nCoV-19 by the University of Oxford and last on the list is mRNA-1273 by pharmaceutical company Moderna in the USA.

Which coronavirus vaccine is likely to be successful?

Let us take these vaccines one by one and see which has the most potential to cross the treacherous road of licensure and reach us at the earliest with the best promising results of being successful to give us the required immunity to combat this virus bearing in mind that only time will tell us how long the immunity from the vaccine will last as for now there is no way to establish the duration of time we will be immune for as this is a new vaccine for a new virus so we don’t have any existing data to compare with.

All we can do is to speculate about the timing of the vaccine’s efficacy based on our scientific research and knowledge.

Coronovac

First and foremost with the best possibility of reaching to South Asian countries and the Globe eventually as the company is committed to manufacturing it for the entire world is Coronavac which has shown some remarkable positive results in phase I/II of clinical development for its safety and induction of immune response and now is in phase III and we are waiting for the phase III results to be published.

nCoV-19

The second vaccine worth mentioning is “ChAdOx1 nCoV-19” by the University of Oxford. Unfortunately, no results for phase I/II have been published yet however this vaccine is also in phase III of the clinical development stage.

Although Oxford is running phase III trials in South America nevertheless the likelihood of this vaccine reaching South Asian countries is not as promising as China’s vaccine.

mRNA-1273

Lastly, it’s about a U.S. based company Moderna’s vaccine mRNA-1273 which is also in phase III of the clinical trial. Moderna is pioneering messenger RNA (mRNA) therapeutics and vaccines to create a new generation of transformative medicines. Only time will tell the efficacy and side effects of this vaccine as is the case with other vaccines in general however stakes for risks of its success seem to be higher because of novel technology being used for a novel Coronavirus.  

A Final Word

In the end, I would like to raise your attention to some salient grey areas of this jigsaw so we can draw some pragmatic steps moving forward. Only time will tell us how these vaccines will work because unless we don’t follow the results of a massive number of population with different demographics around the world who had been exposed to coronavirus after they had the vaccination, there is no way to find out how successful these vaccines would be and that will take time in months if not years.

Also, there is so much more to learn about this virus therefore it would be wise to focus our attention on what we know already by taking all precautions to avoid spread and get infected to the point where we will have a vivid picture of this crippling bug.

For now, our best hope for the vaccine seems to come from China because of their manufacturing capacity, willingness to help the world, robust research, and publishing of their data for the trials. It would be reasonable to speculate that CoronaVac will be with us in the coming 6-12 months.

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Disclaimer: The contents of this article are intended to raise awareness about common health issues and should not be viewed as sound medical advice for your specific condition. You should always consult with a licensed medical practitioner prior to following any suggestions outlined in this article or adopting any treatment protocol based on the contents of this article.

Dr. Naveed Aslam - Author Dr. Naveed Aslam is a General Physician at Medicare Bahria Town, Rawalpindi. He has a diverse experience of working in Pakistan, England, Scotland, and Wales in different specialties which gives him an extra edge when working as a General Physician. Although his area of interest is Respiratory Medicine, Gastroenterology, Cardiovascular diseases, Endocrinology(Diabetes), Psychiatry nevertheless he is able to deal well with other specialties patients as a General Physician.