TOPICS: COVID-19COVAX

The COVID-19 vaccine race

Scientists around the world are working at an unprecedented pace to test different types of vaccines that could help to stop the spread of COVID-19.

Last updated: (Published 24 March 2020)

TOPICS: COVID19

 

When candidate vaccines make it to human clinical trials, they first go through Phase 1 trials primarily to test the vaccine’s safety, determine dosages and identify any potential side effects in a small number of people. Phase 2 trials further explore safety and start to investigate efficacy on larger groups. The final stage, Phase 3 trials, which few vaccines ever make it to, are much larger, involving thousands or tens of thousands of people, to confirm and assess the effectiveness of the vaccine and test whether there are any rare side effects that only show up in large groups. The World Health Organization lists candidates at various stages of clinical trials.

Here is a slightly more in-depth look at the 44 candidate vaccines that are in Phase 1 trials or beyond.

 

Filter the different clinical phases

Phase 1

  • BEIJING MINHAI BIOTECHNOLOGY (CHINA)

INACTIVATED VACCINE

A Phase 1 trial of this vaccine started on 2 October, with 180 health people aged over 18 years. The trial is being done in Jiangsu, China.

  • IMMUNITYBIO AND NANTKWEST (USA)

VIRAL VECTOR VACCINE

The company is planning to launch a Phase 1 trial in California this month with people aged up to 55 years. It is an adenovirus (Ad5) vaccine designed to deliver both spike protein and nucleocapsid DNA to drive both cellular and antibody immunity. Earlier this year, it was chosen to be part of Operation Warp Speed to rapidly develop vaccines in the USA.

  • REITHERA (ITALY)

VIRAL VECTOR VACCINE

The Italian biotechnology company ReiThera has developed a COVID-19 vaccine, called GRAd-COV2, based on an adenovirus that infects gorillas. In collaboration with the Lazzaro Spallanzani National Institute for Infectious Diseases they launched a Phase 1 trial at the end of July.

  • CANSINO BIOLOGICS/ACADEMY OF MILITARY MEDICAL SCIENCES (CHINA)

VIRAL VECTOR VACCINE

This Phase 1 trial will evaluate the safety and immunogenicity of a recombinant adenovirus 5 vectored COVID-19 vaccine (Ad5-nCoV) with two doses and with different administration routes in healthy adults aged 18 years and older. The trial will include 168 healthy adult aged 18 years and older.

  • VAXART (USA)

VIRAL VECTOR VACCINE

Early in 2020, Vaxart began working on an oral vaccine for COVID-19 using an adenovirus called Ad5 to deliver part of the COVID-19 virus into the body to trigger an immune response. In October, they began Phase 1 trials.

  • LUDWIG-MAXIMILIANS UNIVERSITY OF MUNICH (GERMANY)

VIRAL VECTOR VACCINE

On 30 September, Phase 1 testing for this non-replicating viral vector vaccine was approved. The trial will include 30 healthy participants aged between 18 and 55 years.

  • CLOVER BIOPHARMACEUTICALS INC., GSK & DYNAVAX (AUSTRALIA)

PROTEIN SUBUNIT VACCINE

The protein-based COVID-19 S-Trimer vaccine which uses GSK’s adjuvant system is now being tested in human clinical trials. This move comes after the promising results during the preclinical stage. The study will be conducted in 150 healthy adults in Australia. Clover has also obtained US$ 3.5 million from CEPI to prepare and launch Phase 1 clinical trials in June. It is planning a Phase 2 trial by the end of 2020.

  • VAXINE (AUSTRALIA)

PROTEIN SUBUNIT VACCINE

Vaxine launched a Phase 1 trial in July. Its vaccine combines viral proteins with an adjuvant that stimulates immune cells. Phase 2 trials are expected to start by the end of the year.

  • UNIVERSITY OF QUEENSLAND & CSL LIMITED (AUSTRALIA)

PROTEIN SUBUNIT VACCINE

Researchers at the University of Queensland, in Brisbane, are using a patented vaccine-development technique called a ‘molecular clamp'. They first create a synthetic version of the characteristic 'spike' protein that covers the virus, as this can trigger an immune response in the human body. They then attach a 'clamp' onto this synthetic protein to ensure it remains stable enough to trigger antibodies (the protein would normally denature in the human body). The researchers launched Phase 1 trials in July. In September, the vaccine makers made an agreement with the Australian government to deliver 51 million doses if the vaccine works. They expect their first supply of the vaccines to be ready by mid-2021.

  • MEDIGEN (TAIWAN)

PROTEIN SUBUNIT VACCINE

Taiwan-based vaccine maker Medigen is making a vaccine made of a combination of spike proteins and an adjuvant from Dynavax. Their Phase 1 trial started this month.

  • FINLAY VACCINE INSTITUTE (CUBA)

PROTEIN SUBUNIT VACCINE

On 18 August, Cuba announced that the Finlay Vaccine Institute in Havana would start a clinical trial on a vaccine for COVID-19. The vaccine, called Soberana 1, contains a part of the spike protein, called RBD, along with an adjuvant to boost the immune response. The vaccine will be given in two injections during the trials that will involve 676 people aged between 19 and 80 years and finish in January 2021.

  • VECTOR INSTITUTE (RUSSIA)

PROTEIN SUBUNIT VACCINE

On August 26, a Russian biological research center known as the Vector Institute registered a Phase 1/2 trial for a coronavirus vaccine called EpiVacCorona. On 14 October, Vladimir Putin announced that Russia had granted regulatory approval for this vaccine, even though Phase 3 trials have not yet begun. This is the second COVID-19 vaccine the country has approved so far.

  • WEST CHINA HOSPITAL OF SICHUAN UNIVERSITY (CHINA)

PROTEIN SUBUNIT VACCINE

On 24 August, they got approval to run a Phase 1 trial. The vaccine incorporates recombinant protein grown in insect cells. To make the vaccine, researchers encode the receptor-binding domain (RBD) in a gene, which they insert into a virus. They then infect insect cells with the virus, triggering them to make the molecule in huge amounts. The hospital’s State Key Laboratory of Biological Therapy developed the “insect vaccine”, which seems to stop infection in monkeys without showing any apparent side effects.

  • UNIVERSITY HOSPITAL TUBINGeN (GERMANY)

PROTEIN SUBUNIT VACCINE

Earlier this year, rresearchers at the University of Tubingen in Germany created a vaccine made of viral proteins, along with an immune-stimulating adjuvant. In September they launched a Phase 1 trial.

  • COVAXX (USA)

PROTEIN SUBUNIT VACCINE

COVAXX, a subsidiary of United Biomedical, registered a Phase 1 trial on 11September in Taiwan and plan to run their Phase 2/3 trial in Brazil.

  • MERCK/DOHME/IAVI (USA)

VIRAL VECTOR VACCINE

Merck has joined forces with non-profit organisation IAVI to produce a vaccine candidate that will use the recombinant vesicular stomatitis virus (rVSV) technology that is the basis for Merck’s Ebola Zaire virus vaccine, ERVEBO. The Ebola vaccine worked as well in the elderly as it did in young, healthy adults.

  • MERCK/INSTITUTE PASTEUR (USA)

VIRAL VECTOR VACCINE

Merck acquired the Austrian firm Themis Bioscience in June and is working on a vaccine originally developed at the Institut Pasteur. The vaccine uses the weakened measles virus to carry genetic material into cells. A Phase 1 trial launched in August.

  • BEIJING WANTAI BIOLOGICAL PHARMACY (CHINA)

VIRAL VECTOR VACCINE

In 2019, researchers at the University of Hong Kong and Xiamen University created a nasal-spray vaccine for the flu based on a weakened form of the influenza virus. Now they have engineered the vaccine to produce part of the coronavirus spike protein, which has started Phase 1 trials in partnership with Beijing Wantai Biological Pharmacy.

  • IMPERIAL COLLEGE (UK)

RNA VACCINE

This vaccine candidate which uses self-amplifying RNA technology (saRNA) has been developed by researchers at Imperial College, in London. The research has received £ 41 million in funding from the UK government. It has also received £ 5 million through philanthropic donations. The clinical trial in the current phase will involve administration of the two-dose vaccine to 300 healthy individuals. Volunteers have already started receiving the first dose of the vaccine. Imperial College has also created VacEquity Global Health, a social enterprise, to develop and distribute low-cost vaccines around the world, including to low- and middle-income countries. It began Phase 1/2 trials on 15 June and has partnered with Morningside Ventures to manufacture and distribute the vaccine.

  • PEOPLE'S LIBERATION ARMY (PLA) ACADEMY OF MILITARY SCIENCES/WALVAX BIOTECH (CHINA)

RNA VACCINE

The vaccine is being tested with two age groups – one with people aged 18-59 years, and another with people 60 and older.

  • MEDICAGO (CANADA)

VIRUS-LIKE-PARTICLE VACCINE

Partly funded by the cigarette manufacturer Philip Morris, Medicago uses a species of tobacco to make vaccines. Virus genes are delivered into leaves, and then plant cells create proteins that mimic those found on viruses. In July, Medicago launched Phase 1 trials on a plant-based COVID-19 vaccine in combination with adjuvants from GSK and Dynavax. If this phase is successful, it plans to start Phase 2/3 trials in October.

Back to Phase overview

Phase 1/2

  • CHINESE ACADEMY OF MEDICAL SCIENCES (CHINA)

INACTIVATED VACCINE

The Institute of Medical Biology at the Chinese Academy of Medical Sciences (IMBCAMS) has previously developed inactivated vaccines for polio and hand-foot-and-mouth disease. Phase 2 trials began in June.

  • RESEARCH INSTITUTE FOR BIOLOGICAL SAFETY PROBLEMS (KAZAKHSTAN)

INACTIVATED VACCINE

Kazakhstan began research on a vaccine made from inactivated coronaviruses over the Summer. On 1September they started Phase 2 trials of their vaccine known as QazCovid, and expect to complete the study in April 2021.

  • INOVIO PHARMACEUTICAL (USA)

DNA VACCINE

Inovio put its INO-4800 DNA vaccine into human trials early in April. So far, it’s the only company with a Phase 2 vaccine against the related MERS-CoV coronavirus. The company plans to start human clinical trials in the USA, and shortly after in China and South Korea.

  • ANGES (JAPAN)

DNA VACCINE

On 30 June, the Japanese biotechnology company AnGes announced it had started safety trials (Phase 1) on a DNA-based vaccine, developed in partnership with Osaka University and Takara Bio. They are planning for a Phase 3 trial by the end of the year.

  • ZYDUS CADILA (INDIA)

DNA VACCINE

On 3 July Zydus Cadila announced approval to start human Phase1/2 trials, making it the second company in India to enter the COVID-19 vaccine race after Bharat Biotech. Phase 2 trials launched on 6 August.

  • GENEXINE CONSORTIUM (SOUTH KOREA)

DNA VACCINE

This vaccine is being jointly developed by a consortium which includes Genexine, Binex, GenNBio, International Vaccine Institute, Korea Advanced Institute of Science, and Technology and Pohang University of Science and Technology. The vaccine is currently in clinical Phase 1/2a with tests being conducted on 190 healthy participants between the age of 18 to 50. Genexine plans to market the vaccine by the second half of 2021.

  • BHARAT BIOTECH (INDIA)

INACTIVATED VACCINE

In collaboration with the Indian Council of Medical Research and the National Institute of Virology, Bharat Biotech designed a vaccine called Covaxin based on an inactivated form of the coronavirus. The company launched Phase 1/2 trials in July.

  • KENTUCKY BIOPROCESSING (USA)

PROTEIN SUBUNIT VACCINE

Similar to Medicago, this second tobacco-based vaccine is created by engineering a species of tobacco called Nicotiana benthamiana to make viral proteins. Kentucky Bioprocessing used this technique to make a drug called Zmapp for Ebola. After preclinical testing in the Spring, it registered a Phase 1/2 trial for its coronavirus vaccine in July, scheduled to start in November.

  • SANOFI PASTEUR/GSK (USA)

PROTEIN SUBUNIT VACCINE

The vaccine is based on the same design Sanofi used to create Flublok, an approved vaccine for infuenza. The companies launched a Phase 1/2 clinical trial in September, with plans to start Phase 3 trials in December. Sanofi has agreed to provide much of its global supply to COVAX, an international collaboration co-led by Gavi to deliver the vaccine equitably across the world. This month, Sanofi said they have plans to make up to one billion doses in 2021.

  • ARCTURUS/DUKE-NUS (USA/SINGAPORE)

RNA VACCINE

In August, they launched a Phase 1/2 trial on humans in Singapore.

  • SPYBIOTECH/SERUM INSTITUTE OF INDIA (INDIA)

VIRUS-LIKE PARTICLE (VLP) VACCINE

This spin-off from Oxford University started its Phase 1/2 trial in Australia, being run by the Serum Institute of India. Human papillomavirus (HPV) vaccines and some hepatitis B vaccines are also based on the VLP-platform.

Back to Phase overview

Phase 2

  • ANHUI ZHIFEI LONGCOM BIOPHARMACEUTICAL & INSTITUTE OF MICROBIOLOGY, CHINESE ACADEMY OF SCIENCES (CHINA)

PROTEIN SUBUNIT VACCINE

The protein subunit vaccine candidate is being tested in collaboration with the Second Affiliated Hospital of Chongqing Medical University and Beijing Chao Yang Hospital. Phase 2 trials began in July.

  • CUREVAC (GERMANY)

RNA VACCINE

Phase 2 trials began in Panama and Peru in July, and Phase 3 trials are planned by the end of 2020. The company is hoping to make 100 million doses by the end of this year. CureVac has collaborated with Elon Musk’s company Tesla to develop mRNA “micro-factories,” which could be sent worldwide to make billions of doses of the vaccine.

Back to Phase overview

Phase 3

  • SINOVAC (CHINA) - INACTIVATED VACCINE

INACTIVATED VACCINE

Sinovac recently begun phase 3 trials involving volunteers in Brazil, Bangladesh, Indonesia and Turkey. It might start trials in the Philippines by the end of this year. A report in July said that the Chinese government has given the Sinovac vaccine emergency approval for limited use. The city of Jiaxing has reportedly offered the vaccine to health workers and other high-risk groups for US$60.

  • WUHAN INSTITUTE OF BIOLOGICAL PRODUCTS (CHINA) - INACTIVATED VACCINE

INACTIVATED VACCINE

The Wuhan Institute launched phase 3 trials in July in the United Arab Emirates, and in Peru and Morocco in August. The state-owned Chinese company Sinopharm has been putting the vaccine through clinical tests. On Sept. 14, the U.A.E. gave emergency approval for the vaccine to be given to health care workers.

  • BEIJING INSTITUTE OF BIOLOGICAL PRODUCTS (CHINA) - INACTIVATED VACCINE

INACTIVATED VACCINE

Like the Wuhan Institute, the Beijing institute is also part of China’s state-run Sinopharm Group, and is working on this vaccine with the Chinese Center for Disease Control and Prevention. In Phase 3 trials in the United Arab Emirates, 5,000 people are receiving the Wuhan Institute version, while another 5,000 are receiving the Beijing Institute one. 

  • UNIVERSITY OF OXFORD (UK) - VIRAL VECTOR VACCINE

VIRAL VECTOR VACCINE

The ChAdOx1 vaccine, developed by the University of Oxford, is being tested in phase 3 clinical trials with more than 10,000 people from across the UK, including children and the elderly. The vaccine is also being tested in Brazil, the United States, and India and South Africa started the first COVID-19 vaccine trial in Africa. With support from the Coalition for Epidemic Preparedness Innovations (CEPI), AstraZeneca will manufacture 300 million doses of this coronavirus vaccine candidate in anticipation of the vaccine proving to be both safe and effective. If it is, the first doses are expected to be available in late 2020.

  • CANSINO BIOLOGICS INC. (CHINA) - VIRAL VECTOR VACCINE

VIRAL VECTOR VACCINE

The Ad5-nCoV vaccine candidate uses a harmless non-replicating viral vector (essentially a sort of molecular transport) to carry vaccine antigens into the human body – this is the same platform that the vaccine developer CanSino Biologics Inc, based in Tianjin, used for its Ebola vaccine. The vaccine was jointly developed with the Institute of Biotechnology of the Academy of Military Medical Sciences. On June 25, the Chinese military approved the vaccine on June 25 for a year as a “specially needed drug”, which is unusual given that by then Phase 2 results hadn’t been collated. On 9 August, the Saudi health ministry announced that CanSino would run a Phase 3 trial in Saudi Arabia; later in the month the company also started a trial in Pakistan and Russia.

  • GAMALEYA RESEARCH INSTITUTE (RUSSIA) - VIRAL VECTOR VACCINE

VIRAL VECTOR VACCINE

Gamaleya has started a phase 1 clinical trial on this non-replicating viral vector vaccine candidate (Sputnik V) with two sets of volunteers receiving vaccination since mid-June. Before the trial went on to later trials, Russia had announced that the vaccine would be approved for use. A Phase 3 trial of the vaccine began with more than 2,000 people in Russia, Latin America and the Middle East, and then expanded to 40,000. Volunteers were also recruited in Belarus, the United Arab Emirates and Venezuela.

  • JOHNSON&JOHNSON (USA) – VIRAL VECTOR VACCINE

VIRAL VECTOR VACCINE

J&J has developed vaccines for Ebola and other diseases with Recombinant Adenovirus Serotype 26 (Ad26) and has now made one for the coronavirus. It launched phase 1/2 trials in July, and launched a Phase 3 trial with 60,000 participants in September in Latin America. It hopes to make up to a billion doses in 2021.

  • NOVAVAX (USA) - PROTEIN SUBUNIT VACCINE

PROTEIN SUBUNIT VACCINE

Novavax is using a nanoparticle technology platform to generate antigens from the protein found on the spikey outer shell of the coronavirus. The vaccine also received the highest funding from CEPI with a total of US$ 388 million. Phase 2 trials started in August in South Africa and Phase 3 trials started in the UK in September, with plans for Phase 3 trials in the USA this month.

  • MODERNA (USA) - RNA VACCINE

RNA VACCINE

This RNA vaccine has been developed by Moderna, in Cambridge, Massachusetts, and funded by the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases (NIAID), which is part of the US National Institutes of Health. The vaccine was tested in phase 1 trials on volunteers at the Kaiser Permanente Washington Health Research Institute in Seattle. Moderna has run phase 2 trials on participants of a wide range of ages and started phase 3 trials in July. The final trial is enrolling 30,000 healthy people from across the United States.

  • BIONTECH (GERMANY) - RNA VACCINE

RNA VACCINE

BioNTech, working together with Pfizer, started testing its BNT-162 vaccine in humans in global trials initially in Germany, and recently started trials in the USA. BioNTech has also entered a € 100 million debt financing agreement with the European Investment Bank in order to scale-up the production of the vaccine in Europe. On 27 July, it announced the launch of a phase 2/3 trial with 30,000 volunteers in the USA and other countries including Argentina, Brazil, and Germany. In September, they said they would expand their Phase 3 US trial to 43,000 participants. At the start of October, BioNTech and Pfizer started recruiting for a Phase 3 trial in South Africa, and got permission to test in children aged 12 years, which is younger than the average age of participants.

Back to Phase overview

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