It’s been just over five months since the World Health Organization declared the coronavirus a global pandemic. While that may feel like an eternity for some, it’s important to remember how quickly the science has progressed towards a COVID-19 vaccine in a short period of time.
Just 3 months ago in mid-May, there were only 8 vaccines in the clinical stage of development. By early July, that number more than doubled to 17. Now, as our summer of social distancing draws to a close, the WHO reports there are 29 vaccines undergoing clinical trials, with another 138 in the pre-clinical stage of evaluation.
While that may not feel fast enough for many, in the scientific world, COVID-19-related innovation is taking place in the blink of an eye.
What’s new: As the science continues to evolve rapidly, a number of vaccine candidates have been in the news in recent days.
The German biotech company, CureVac, is currently conducting early-stage clinical trials for a COVID-19 vaccine candidate. The company’s stock skyrocketed on Friday following their introduction on the Nasdaq, given the promise the vaccine may hold. While full clinical trial data will not be available until September or October, on Monday the company moved forward to register the mRNA vaccine candidate for a Phase 2 trial.
Similarly, Novavax – one of the companies who received support from the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation – announced the start of a Phase 2b trial in South Africa. The trial is notable because it will test the vaccine not just in healthy volunteers, but also in HIV positive individuals, which speaks to the scientific community’s recognition that vaccines must be tested in all segments of the population who could be adversely impacted by the disease.
What’s next: Given the unparalleled scientific progress to combat coronavirus since the global pandemic began five months ago, it begs the question: what will the next five months of scientific advances hold?
With the world’s most innovative companies, the brightest scientific minds, and the leading universities on the case, the Chamber is hopeful we may soon have an effective vaccine to defeat COVID-19.