With over 4 million people infected by coronavirus across the world, and more than 3 lakh people dead, the need for Covid-19 vaccine grows more urgent by the day. 

According to the World Health Organization, 8 candidate vaccines are currently in the clinical evaluation phase for Covid-19. 

China-based CanSino Biologics, American biotechnology company Moderna, Inc., the University of Oxford, US-based Inovio Pharmaceuticals are some of the top contenders in the race to developing coronavirus vaccines. 

According to the World Health Organization, more than 110 candidates are in the preclinical evaluation phase. 

Cansino Biologics has received clinical trial application approval for recombinant novel coronavirus vaccine, news agency Reuters reported. CanSino will develop the vaccine in collaboration with the Beijing Institute of Biotechnology. 

Moderna Inc.’s experimental candidate vaccine, mRNA-1273, recently received approval from the US FDA to conduct the phase II of its clinical trial. 

Also read: What did eight weeks and $3 trillion buy the Covid-19 in the fight against coronavirus?

The University of Oxford has come to positive results with its Covid-19 vaccine candidate which involves six rhesus macaque monkeys. Experts at the university exposed the monkeys to the SARS-CoV-2 virus. The trial showed improvement and offered hope as the vaccinated monkeys had less virus in their lungs and airways. Rhesus macaque monkeys have immune systems similar to humans

Inovio Pharmaceuticals is currently testing INO-4800 (a DNA plasmid vaccine with electroporation) as a vaccine against coronavirus. The trial aims to test the vaccine’s ability to trigger an immune response in the body to fight coronavirus.

Besides these, clinical trials for Covid-19 vaccine by three other contenders are under the clinical evaluation phase. These include trials led by Wuhan Institute of Biological Products/Sinopharm, Beijing Institute of Biological Products/Sinopharm and Sinovac. Sinopharm Group is a Chinese pharmaceutical giant.

Also read: China’s Wuhan nearly doubles number of Covid-19 tests per day

These trials are on “inactivated” type of vaccine candidate wherein non-living pathogens are used to develop an immune response in the body against the target.

Last week, Jubilant Life Sciences Limited, an integrated global pharmaceutical and life sciences company, said that its subsidiary, Jubilant Generics Limited, has entered into a non-exclusive licensing agreement with Gilead Sciences that will grant Jubilant the right to register, manufacture and sell Gilead’s investigational drug remdesivir, a potential therapy for Covid-19 in 127 countries including India. Remdesivir is only allowed for emergency usage by the US FDA to treat Covid-19. 

India’s spot

Indian multinational pharmaceutical and biotechnology company, Cipla Limited is reported to have been working on various multiple therapies for treating coronavirus. 

The Mumbai-based company is working out the finer details of its pact with Gilead Sciences Inc on the experimental antiviral drug remdesivir, chief financial officer Kedar Upadhye told HT’s business publication Mint in an interview.

Meanwhile, experts at All India Institute of Medical Sciences (AIIMS) in Bhopal have said that the institute has been conducting drug trials for coronavirus treatment which have shown promising results.

The trials of the drug Mycobacterium W (Mw) were conducted on Covid-19 patients at AIIMS Bhopal for the last few days, an official said.

“So far, three Covid-19 patients have recovered after the clinical trial of Mycobacterium W (Mw) at AIIMS,” director of the institute Dr Sarman Singh said.

Singh said that the institute will soon use Favipiravir, a drug agent used in Japan for Covid-19, news agency PTI reported.

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