Advancement of Vaccines and Drugs against COVID-19


COVID-19 caused by the SARS-Cov-2 coronavirus is emerging as the most contagious and pandemic diseases with 294,110reported cases and 12,944 deaths, globally in a short period. Being the newly evolved virus and the causative agent of this new disease, no specific therapeutic drugs or vaccines are available to halt or detect the disease at an early stage.

Mechanism of action:

SARS-CoV-2 are non-segmented, +RNA viruses that attack human host cells by binding to the ACE-2 receptors. However, a recent study has reported that SARS-CoV-2can invade human host cells through a novel route of CD147-spike protein (SP)thereby mediating the viral invasion.

A step towards Global Fight:

According to news reports, an antiviral drug, Favipiravir or Avigan used for influenza treatment showed some positive response towards COVID-19 treatment in a clinical trial involving 340 volunteers conducted in Japan.

According to Xu Nanping, China’s vice-minister of science and technology, a pharmaceutical company named Inovio is planning to conduct the first clinical trials on a coronavirus vaccine in China by the end of April this year.

According to reports, WHO has recently announced the mega trials of the 4 most promising coronavirus treatment. The 4 most promising therapies are as follows:

  • An antiviral compound called Remdesivir
  • Chloroquine and Hydroxychloroquine;
  • A combination of two HIV drugs, lopinavir and ritonavir
  • Ritonavir/lopinavir + interferon-beta

These research fonts conclude that a vaccine is possible but is at least a year to 18 months away.

Vaccines or drugs in the pipeline for COVID-19:

The escalating cases of coronavirus have impelled the advancement of coronavirus vaccines across 35 biotech industries, pharmaceutical companies along with academic institutions e.g: National Institutes of Health (NIH).

Some of the vaccines across the world at different stages of development are listed below:

  1. Vaccine by Medicago
  2. AT-100 by Airway Therapeutics
  3. TZLS-501 by Tiziana Life Sciences
  4. OYA1 by OyaGen
  5. BPI-002 by BeyondSpring
  6. Altimmune’s intranasal coronavirus vaccine
  7. INO-4800 by Inovio Pharmaceuticals and Beijing Advaccine Biotechnology
  8. NP-120 (Ifenprodil) by Algernon Pharmaceuticals
  9. APN01 by University of British Columbia and APEIRON Biologics
  10. mRNA-1273 vaccine by Moderna and Vaccine Research Center

Some of the drugs across the world at different stages of development are listed below:

  1. Remdesivir (GS-5734) by Gilead Sciences
  2. Actemra by Roche to treat coronavirus-related complications
  3. Biocryst Pharma’s Galidesivir, a potential antiviral for coronavirus treatment
  4. Regeneron’s REGN3048-3051 and Kevzara

Advancement of mRNA-1273 vaccine

This is to be noted that a Phase 1 clinical trial for the development of a vaccine against COVID-19 has already been started at Kaiser Permanente Washington Health Research Institute (KPWHRI) in Seattle. This is a controlled trial with 45 healthy adult volunteers ages 18 to 55 years. The vaccine being used is named as mRNA-1273 developed by NIAID scientists in collaboration with Moderna, Inc., a biotechnology company based in Cambridge, Massachusetts.

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