Updated on: Tuesday, November 17, 2020, 12:41 PM IST

Race for COVID-19 vaccine: Here is the latest development on Pfizer, Moderna, Bharat Biotech vaccines

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File Photo


As the worldwide search for a vaccine to treat the coronavirus disease continues, the number of overall global COVID-19 cases has topped 54.8 million, while the deaths have surged to more than 1,325,750, according to the Johns Hopkins University.

As of Tuesday morning, the total caseload and death toll stood at 54,826,773 and 1,325,752, respectively, the University's Center for Systems Science and Engineering (CSSE) revealed in its latest update.

Meanwhile, in the latest updates on a coronavirus vaccine, two vaccine makers have said that preliminary results from their late-stage studies suggest their experimental vaccines are strongly protective.

Moderna this week said its vaccine appears nearly 95 percent effective. This comes after Pfizer and its German partner BioNTech last week had said that their experimental vaccine was more than 90 percent effective in preventing Covid-19 based on initial data from its Phase III trials. Even, India’s Hyderabad-based Bharat Biotech International Limited has started phase 3 trials of its vaccine candidate, COVAXIN.

Here are the latest updates on these three Covid-19 vaccines:

Moderna coronavirus vaccine:

The US pharma giant Moderna on Monday announced that its vaccine has shown more than 94.5 percent effectiveness in preliminary data from the company's ongoing study.

Stephane Bancel, Moderna's chief executive termed it as a "pivotal" moment in the development of the vaccine, on which the company had been working since early this January. "This positive interim analysis from our Phase 3 study has given us the first clinical validation that our vaccine can prevent COVID-19 disease, including severe disease," said Bancel in a statement.

Moderna also said it expected its vaccine to remain stable when refrigerated at between 2C and 8C for 30 days, significantly longer than the shot developed by BioNTech-Pfizer, which can survive in a normal fridge for only up to five days and must otherwise be stored at minus 75C. "The independent, NIH-appointed Data Safety Monitoring Board (DSMB) for the Phase 3 study of mRNA-1273, its vaccine candidate against COVID-19, has informed Moderna that the trial has met the statistical criteria pre-specified in the study protocol for efficacy, with a vaccine efficacy of 94.5 percent," the company said in a statement.

Pfizer coronavirus vaccine:

Pfizer Inc and BioNTech SE on November 10 said that their vaccine candidate was found to be more than 90 percent effective in preventing COVID-19. "Today is a great day for science and humanity. The first set of results from our Phase 3 COVID-19 vaccine trial provides the initial evidence of our vaccine's ability to prevent COVID-19," Pfizer Chairman and Chief Executive Officer Albert Bourla said.

After a discussion with the Food and Drug Administration (FDA), the companies recently elected to drop the 32-case interim analysis and conduct the first interim analysis at a minimum of 62 cases, the statement said. The Phase 3 clinical trial of BNT162b2 began on July 27 and has enrolled 43,538 participants to date, 38,955 of whom have received a second dose of the vaccine candidate as of November 8, 2020, the statement said. The trial is continuing to enroll and is expected to continue through the final analysis when a total of 164 confirmed COVID-19 cases have accrued. Based on current projections, the companies expect to produce globally up to 50 million vaccine doses in 2020 and up to 1.3 billion doses in 2021.

Bharat Biotech coronavirus vaccine:

India’s Hyderabad-based Bharat Biotech International Limited announced the commencement of Phase III trials of COVAXIN on Monday.

The Phase III trials will involve 26,000 volunteers across India and will be conducted in partnership with ICMR. It is the largest clinical trial conducted for a COVID-19 vaccine in India.

Trial volunteers will receive two intramuscular injections about 28 days apart. Participants will be randomly assigned to receive COVAXIN(tm) or placebo. The trial is double-blinded, such that the investigators, the participants, and the company will not be aware of who is assigned to which group.

COVAXIN has been evaluated in about 1,000 subjects in Phase I and Phase II clinical trials, with promising safety and immunogenicity data. Volunteers who wish to participate in this trial should be adults over 18 years of age. COVAXIN(tm), India's indigenous COVID-19 vaccine by Bharat Biotech is developed in collaboration with the Indian Council of Medical Research (ICMR) and the National Institute of Virology (NIV).

(Inputs from Agencies)


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Published on: Tuesday, November 17, 2020, 12:41 PM IST