Biotech companies in race to find Covid-19 vaccine

The novel coronavirus continues its expansion across the world with more than 255,000 cases and 10,000 deaths, as of mid-Friday. The figures rise every hour. Racing against that clock, some 20 biotechnology companies and organisations, mostly in the US, Europe and China, are working to find a vaccine and treatment for Covid-19.

 

Massachussets-based company Moderna is testing its first vaccines against Covid-19 in the US and has taken the lead - for now...

While Chinese scientists are researching multiple types of vaccines simultaneously in hospitals and universities across the country.

•    United States

Moderna

Vaccine: "mRNA-1273"

1st clinical test in Seattle on March 16th on 45 healthy patients

Forecast: Available in 12-18 months if efficient 

(Source: Food and Drug administration/FDA)

Gilead Sciences

"Remdesivir" could be the first treatment on the market 

Used to treat Ebola but not efficient

Forecast: Available in the coming months

(Source: Bruce Aylward, World Health Organization/WHO)

Inovio Pharmaceuticals

DNA vaccine

Fist clinical tests in April in the US, then in China and South Korea 

Forecast: delivering 1 million doses by the end of the year

(Source: J. Joseph Kimn, CEO Inovio)

•    Germany

CureVac

DNA vaccine

The European Commission offered 80 million euros to CureVac on 17 March to develop the vaccine

A candidate vaccine could be provided within a few months 

(Source: CEO, CureVac)

•    France

France is to increase its scientific research budget by five billion euros over the next ten years

Pasteur Institute 

Use of measles vaccine 

Forecast: first vaccine by fall 2020

Pasteur Institute to be given 5 million euros to develop vaccine

(Source: Pasteur Institute)

Sanofi 

In cooperation with US Health Ministry

DNA vaccine

Possible clinical test within 12-18 months 

(Source: David Loew, Vice-president Sanofi Pasteur)

IHU – Institut hospitalo-universitaire

Treatment with chloroquine (anti-malaria drug)

Has been testing since 9 March on 24 patients; after 6 days, only 25% of patients are still infected (Source: Pr. Didier Raoult, IHU Director)

French Health ministry expresses methodological concerns but has given green light to larger clinical tests

Sanofi has offered 300,000 anti-malaria doses if proven efficient

•    China

Clover Biopharmaceuticals

Chengdu-based

Partnership with GSK (Bratford, UK)

GSK will provide Clover with its proprietary adjuvants

Chinese scientists researching multiple types of vaccines simultaneously

Some have entered animal trials (mice)

Forecast: first clinical trials in late April 2020

(Source: Chinese National Health Commission)

•    Japan

Fujifilm Biotechnologies

Flu shot treatment Avigan

Tested on board of the Diamond Princess ship cruise when in quarantine

Clinical tests on 200 patients in Wuhan and Shenzen, China

(Source: Chinese National Health Commission)