TOPICS: COVID-19COVAX

The COVID-19 vaccine race – weekly update

Scientists around the world are working faster than ever to develop and produce vaccines that can stop the spread of COVID-19. Since the emergence of this novel coronavirus in December 2019, several vaccines have started to be rolled out. Here is an at-a-glance overview of those vaccines and recent developments of those vaccine candidates in clinical trials.

14 April 2021

TOPICS: COVID19

 

Recent updates

  • Turkey-based Koçak Farma launched a phase 1 trial for its COVID-19 vaccine candidate. 

  • Vietnam-based Institute of Vaccines and Medical Biologicals launched a phase 1/ 2 trial for its  COVID-19 vaccine.

  • COVAXX merged with United Neuroscience to form a new company, Vaxxinity, which is now the leading sponsor of the protein-based vaccine candidate, UB-612, currently in phase 2/3 trials.

  • Around the world, there are now 88 COVID-19 vaccine candidates undergoing clinical trials and 184  candidates in pre-clinical development.

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.  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 final stage, phase 4 trials, is conducted after national regulatory approval and involves further monitoring in a wide population over a longer timeframe as a form of post-marketing surveillance (pharmacovigilance). The World Health Organization (WHO) lists candidates at various stages of clinical trials.

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

 

Filter the different clinical phases

Phase 4

  • MODERNA (USA)

RNA VACCINE

The final trial results confirm this vaccine has a 94% efficacy, and the data has been sent to regulators around the world. As with the Pfizer vaccine, this RNA vaccine will need to be kept in ultra-cold freezers. The 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 2020. The final trial enrolled 30,000 healthy people from across the United States. In February, a phase 4 trial was launched as part of a national cohort study in collaboration with the Danish Ministry of the Interior and Health.

  • ASTRAZENECA/UNIVERSITY OF OXFORD (UK)

VIRAL VECTOR VACCINE

The ChAdOx1 vaccine, developed by the University of Oxford, has a vaccine efficacy of up to 90% and has been granted emergency use authorisation by the European Medicines Agency as well as national regulators in the UK, Argentina, India, Mexico, Brazil and Pakistan. Although the efficacy is slightly lower than the Moderna and Pfizer vaccines, it is fridge-stable meaning that it can be easily transported anywhere in the world. It was also found to be 100% effective against severe disease. At about US$ 4 per dose, it is also a fraction of the cost of others that are around US$ 26 per dose. It was tested in phase 3 clinical trials with more than 10,000 people from across the UK, including children and older people. The vaccine was also tested in Brazil, the United States and India and South Africa started the first COVID-19 vaccine trial in Africa. In February 2021, a phase 4 trial was launched as part of a national cohort study in collaboration with the Danish Ministry of the Interior and Health.

In March 2021, the University of Oxford registered a further phase 1 trial in the UK with 30 adult participants to investigate the delivery of its ChAdOx1 vaccine using a nasal spray. ChAdOx1 is currently being delivered by intramuscular injection as part of the UK’s national rollout. By using a different technique that administers the vaccine to the site of infection, researchers at Oxford intend to investigate whether this results in enhanced protection, especially against transmission and mild disease.

  • PFIZER/BIONTECH (GERMANY)

RNA VACCINE

In December 2020, the UK became the first country in the world to approve this vaccine and began rolling out an initial 800,000 doses at the start of the month. BioNTech, working together with Pfizer, started testing its BNT162 vaccine in humans in global trials, initially in Germany, and then started trials in the USA. BioNTech has also entered into 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 2020, 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, it said it would expand its phase 3 US trial to 43,000 participants. At the start of October 2020, BioNTech and Pfizer started recruiting for a phase 3 trial in South Africa and by early November had reported promising interim results. In its final efficacy analysis, its data showed a vaccine efficacy rate of 95% (even in adults over 65 years efficacy was more than 94%, which is reassuring as older people don’t always have a strong immune response to vaccines).

  • SINOVAC (CHINA)

INACTIVATED VACCINE

Sinovac conducted phase 3 trials involving volunteers in Brazil, Indonesia and Turkey. Although it is not yet approved by regulators, shipments have already arrived in Indonesia, ready for rollout. 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. The company began phase 4 trials in February 2021.

Back to phase overview

Phase 3

  • BEIJING INSTITUTE OF BIOLOGICAL PRODUCTS (CHINA)

INACTIVATED VACCINE

The Beijing Institute is part of China’s state-run Sinopharm Group, and developed its vaccine called BBIBP-CorV, in collaboration with the Chinese Center for Disease Control and Prevention. In phase 3 trials in the UAE, 5,000 people received BBIBP-CorV. The Institute initially began a phase 4 trial for the vaccine, but this phase is no longer being reported, according to the WHO.

  • WUHAN INSTITUTE OF BIOLOGICAL PRODUCTS (CHINA)

INACTIVATED VACCINE

The United Arab Emirates became the first foreign country to approve this vaccine, after interim phase 3 trials showed 86% efficacy. The Wuhan Institute launched phase 3 trials in July 2020 in the UAE, and in Peru and Morocco in August 2020. The state-owned Chinese company Sinopharm has been putting the vaccine through clinical tests. On 14 Sept, the UAE gave emergency approval for the vaccine to be given to health care workers.

  • BHARAT BIOTECH INTERNATIONAL LTD (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 is conducting phase 3 trials in 25 centres across India, and is seeking emergency authorisation based on promising phase 1 and 2 results.

  • CANSINO BIOLOGICS INC. (CHINA)

VIRAL VECTOR VACCINE

The Ad5-nCoV vaccine candidate uses a harmless non-replicating viral vector 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 COVID-19 vaccine was jointly developed with the Institute of Biotechnology of the Academy of Military Medical Sciences. On 25 June 2020, the Chinese military approved the vaccine for a year as a “specially needed drug”, which is unusual given that at that point phase 2 results hadn’t been collated. On 9 August 2020, 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

Gamaleya has started a phase 1 clinical trial on this non-replicating viral vector vaccine candidate (known as Sputnik V) with two sets of volunteers receiving vaccination since mid-June. Before the vaccine went on to later trials Russia announced that it 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 UAE and Venezuela. On 2 February, the company published the results of their Phase 3 trial, including a vaccine efficacy rate of 91.6%.

  • JANSSEN/JOHNSON&JOHNSON (USA)

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 2020, 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. Janssen began phase 3 trials in the UK in November last year. J&J has committed 500 million doses of this vaccine to the COVAX initiative for distribution worldwide. In January, the company announced that the vaccine had an efficacy of 66% in Latin America, 57% in South Africa and 72% in the United States, with 100% efficacy against severe disease in all trials.

  • NOVAVAX (USA)

PROTEIN SUBUNIT VACCINE

Novavax is using a nanoparticle technology platform to generate antigens from the spike protein found on the outer shell of the coronavirus. The vaccine also received the highest funding from CEPI with a total of US$ 388 million and hundreds of millions of doses will be made available to the COVAX initiative if trials are successful. Phase 2 trials started in August in South Africa and phase 3 trials started in the UK in September as well as in the USA in December last year.

In January, the company announced that its vaccine had an efficacy rate of 89.3% based on trials in the United Kingdom. In South Africa, Novavax’s vaccine efficacy rate was lower at below 50%, potentially due to the dominance of the COVID-19 variant in South Africa, which can evade the antibodies stimulated by the vaccine. In both cases the vaccine was found to be 100% effective against severe disease.

  • 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 3 trials are being conducted across China.

  • ZYDUS CADILA (INDIA)

DNA VACCINE

On 3 July Zydus Cadila announced approval to start human phase 1/2 trials, making it the second company in India to enter the COVID-19 vaccine race after Bharat Biotech. Phase 2 trials launched in August 2020. Zydus Cadila is now initiating a phase 3 trial with 300,000 participants.

  • 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 July 2020 and was followed by a phase 3 trial in 29,000 participants in December 2020.

  • RESEARCH INSTITUTE FOR BIOLOGICAL SAFETY PROBLEMS (KAZAKHSTAN)

INACTIVATED VACCINE

Kazakhstan began research on a vaccine made from inactivated coronaviruses over the Summer. On 1 September 2020 it started phase 2 trials of its vaccine known as QazCovid. On 19 December, it reported that phase 2 trials had been completed, with participants producing an immune response. The researchers launched a phase 3 trial, and expect to get approval by March 2021.

  • CUREVAC (GERMANY)

RNA VACCINE

Phase 2 trials began in Panama and Peru in July 2020, and phase 3 trials launched in Germany in December 2020 with around 36,500 volunteers. The company is hoping to make up to 300 million doses in 2021. 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.

  • SANOFI PASTEUR/GSK (FRANCE)

PROTEIN SUBUNIT VACCINE

The vaccine is based on the same design Sanofi used to create Flublok, an approved vaccine for influenza. The two companies launched a phase 1/2 clinical trial in September 2020. Following the announcement on 11 December 2020 that older people were not responding as strongly as expected to the vaccine, the companies began phase 2 trials in February 2021 with a different formulation of their vaccine and if successful, this study will support the selection of the most appropriate antigen dosage for phase 3. Phase 3 is projected to begin in the second quarter of 2021 if trial data is positive. 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. In December, Sanofi said it has plans to make up to one billion doses in 2021.

  • INSTITUTO FINLAY DE VACUNAS (CUBA)

PROTEIN SUBUNIT VACCINE

In October 2020, Instituto Finlay De Vacunas launched trials on its second COVID-19 vaccine, Soberana 2. In December 2020, it launched a phase 2 trial and reached an agreement with the Pasteur Institute of Iran in January 2021 to test the vaccine in phase 3 trials. In March, a phase 3 trial was registered for Soberana 2.

  • VECTOR INSTITUTE (RUSSIA)

PROTEIN SUBUNIT VACCINE

On 26 August, a Russian biological research centre known as the Vector Institute registered a phase 1/2 trial for a coronavirus vaccine called EpiVacCorona. On 14 October 2020, Vladimir Putin announced that Russia had granted regulatory approval for this vaccine, even though phase 3 trials had not yet begun. This was the second COVID-19 vaccine to be approved in Russia so far. The Vector Institute has since launched a phase 3 trial.

  • THE CENTER FOR GENETIC ENGINEERING AND BIOTECHNOLOGY OF CUBA (CUBA)

PROTEIN SUBUNIT VACCINE

Along with its nasal spray vaccine, the Center for Genetic Engineering and Biotechnology of Cuba also launched a separate phase 1/2 trial in November 2020 for a vaccine called Abdala, which is injected into the muscle. In February 2021, the Center launched phase 2 trials for the Abdala vaccine, and in March a phase 3 trial, with a planned recruitment of more than 40,000 participants.

Back to phase overview

Phase 2/3

  • MEDICAGO (CANADA)

PLANT-BASED 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 2020 Medicago launched phase 1 trials on a plant-based COVID-19 vaccine in combination with adjuvants from GSK and Dynavax. Phase 2/3 trails started in November and the company plans to seek regulatory approvals in 2021.and the company plans to seek regulatory approvals in 2021.

  • OSAKA UNIVERSITY/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 launched a phase 2/3 trial in December 2020.

  • 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. The study will be conducted in 150 healthy adults in Australia. Clover launched phase 1 trials in June 2020, after obtaining US$ 3.5 million from Coalition for Epidemic Preparedness Innovations (CEPI). After announcing that phase 1 trial participants produced a high level of antibodies, Clover began phase 2/3 trials with the GSK adjuvant in December 2020.

  • INOVIO PHARMACEUTICAL (USA)

DNA VACCINE

Inovio put its INO-4800 DNA vaccine into human trials early in April 2020. So far, it is the only company with a phase 2/3 vaccine against the related MERS-CoV coronavirus. The company has begun human clinical trials in the USA, China and South Korea.

  • VAXXINITY (USA)

PROTEIN SUBUNIT VACCINE

COVAXX, a subsidiary of United Biomedical, registered a phase 1 trial on 11 September 2020 in Taiwan for its COVID-19 vaccine candidate, UB-612. It launched a phase 2/3 trial in f February 2021  and announced further plans to begin pre-clinical research on a vaccine specifically against newly emerging COVID-19 variants. In April, the company merged with United Neuroscience, under the newly formed holding company, Vaxxinity, in order to consolidate vaccine development efforts. UB-612 remains the lead vaccine candidate in the pipeline.

  • 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 it launched a phase 1 trial at the end of July 2020, with subsequent results indicating that participants produced antibodies. The company has launched a phase 2/3 trial.

  • SHIFA PHARMED INDUSTRIAL CO (IRAN)

INACTIVATED VACCINE

Iran-based Shifa Pharmed Industrial Co. created a vaccine called COVIran Barekat and launched a phase 2/3 trial with 20,000 volunteers in six cities including Tehran.

Back to Phase overview

Phase 2

  • 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 started trials in partnership with Beijing Wantai Biological Pharmacy. A phase 2 study with 720 participants started in November 2020 in China’s eastern province of Jiangsu.

  • WEST CHINA HOSPITAL OF SICHUAN UNIVERSITY (CHINA)

PROTEIN SUBUNIT VACCINE

Phase 2 trials began in November 2020. 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 then 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.

  • ARCTURUS/DUKE-NUS (USA/SINGAPORE)

RNA VACCINE

Phase 2 trials of this vaccine have just begun in Singapore and the United States. Phase 1/2 participants produced an immune response similar to those who recover from COVID-19.

  • SHENZHEN KANGTAI BIOLOGICAL PRODUCTS/ BEIJING MINHAI BIOTECHNOLOGY CO., LTD. (CHINA)

INACTIVATED VACCINE

The Chinese manufacturing partner of AstraZeneca, Shenzhen Kangtai Biological Products has its own vaccines in trial for which it originally planned an annual production capacity of at least 100 million doses by the end of 2020.

  • MEDIGEN (TAIWAN)

PROTEIN SUBUNIT VACCINE

Taiwan-based vaccine maker Medigen made a two-dose vaccine made of a combination of spike proteins and an adjuvant from Dynavax. The company began phase 2 trials in late January 2021 and expects to enroll 3,700 participants aged 20 years and over.

  • PEOPLE'S LIBERATION ARMY (PLA) ACADEMY OF MILITARY SCIENCES/ SUZHOU ABOGEN BIOSCIENCES/WALVAX BIOTECHNOLOGY (CHINA)

RNA VACCINE

Researchers at the Academy of Military Medical Sciences, Suzhou Abogen Biosciences and Walvax Biotechnology have launched a phase 2 trial for their mRNA-based vaccine, called ARCoV, with participants aged 18-59 years.

  • ERCIYES UNIVERSITY (TURKEY)

INACTIVATED VACCINE

Turkey-based Erciyes University completed a phase 1 trial for its vaccine candidate, called ERUCOV-VAC, in December 2020. A phase 2 trial is now underway.

Back to phase overview

Phase 1/2

  • 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 1/2 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.

  • 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 in 2020, it registered a phase 1/2 trial for its coronavirus vaccine in July and launched the trial in December.

  • BIOLOGICAL E LTD (INDIA)

PROTEIN SUBUNIT VACCINE

The company launched phase 1/2 trials in India in November and expects results in February 2021.

  • ISRAEL INSTITUTE FOR BIOLOGICAL RESEARCH (ISRAEL)

VIRAL VECTOR VACCINE

Phase 2 trials of this vaccine have just begun with 1,000 participants. Phase 1 participants showed no side effects. It expects to finalise phase 3 trials in the summer of 2021.

  • 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, run by the Serum Institute of India. Human papillomavirus (HPV) vaccines and some hepatitis B vaccines are also based on the VLP-platform.

  • VACCINE AND INFECTIOUS DISEASE ORGANISATION (VIDO), UNIVERSITY OF SASKATCHEWAN/ SEPPIC AND THE VACCINE FORMULATION INSTITUTE (VFI)(CANADA)

PROTEIN SUBUNIT VACCINE

VIDO’s vaccines have just entered phase 1/2 trials. It expects at least one of its candidates to be ready by late 2021.

  • GENEONE LIFE SCIENCE (SOUTH KOREA)

DNA VACCINE

This South Korean biotech company developed a DNA-based vaccine and launched a phase 1/2 trial with 345 participants in December 2020.

  • VALNEVA, NATIONAL INSTITUTE FOR HEALTH RESEARCH (FRANCE/UK)

INACTIVATED VACCINE

Valneva launched a phase 1/2 trial in the UK in December 2020. The company hopes to get authorisation in the second quarter of 2021.

  • SHIONOGI (JAPAN)

PROTEIN SUBUNIT VACCINE

The company registered a phase 1/2 trial with around 200 Japanese adult participants in December 2020.

  • NANOGEN PHARMACEUTICAL BIOTECHNOLOGY (VIETNAM)

PROTEIN SUBUNIT VACCINE

Vietnam-based Nanogen launched its phase 1/2 trial with 620 participants in December 2020 and expects its vaccine to become available in mid-2021.

  • CELLID CO., LTD (SOUTH KOREA)

VIRAL VECTOR (REPLICATING)

In April 2020, Cellid began to develop a vaccine for COVID-19. After the vaccine was tested out on monkeys, Cellid partnered with South Korean chemical manufacturer, LG Chem, to manufacture the vaccines. In December 2020, they registered a phase 1/2 trial with over 100 participants.

  • AIVITA BIOMEDICAL, INC./NATIONAL INSTITUTE FOR HEALTH RESEARCH AND DEVELOPMENT, MINISTRY OF HEALTH (INDONESIA)

VIRAL VECTOR VACCINE

Aivita in partnership with the National Institute for Health Research and Development is preparing to launch a phase 1/2 trial in February 2021.

  • THE CENTER FOR GENETIC ENGINEERING AND BIOTECHNOLOGY OF CUBA (CUBA)

PROTEIN SUBUNIT VACCINE

The Center for Genetic Engineering and Biotechnology of Cuba launched its phase 1/2 clinical trials in November 2020. Its nasal spray COVID-19 vaccine is called Mambisa and contains a piece of the coronavirus spike protein as well as a protein from the hepatitis B virus, which stimulates the immune system.

  • UNIVERSITY MEDICAL CENTER GRONINGEN/AKSTON BIOSCIENCES INC (THE NETHERLANDS)

PROTEIN SUBUNIT VACCINE

This vaccine is due to go into phase 1/2 trials with 130 adult participants in January 2021.

  • SHENZHEN GENO-IMMUNE MEDICAL INSTITUTE (CHINA)

VIRAL VECTOR VACCINE

In addition to a phase 1 trial for its COVID-19 aAPC vaccine, the Shenzhen Geno-Immune Medical Institute has launched a separate phase 1/2 trial for its vaccine called LV-SMENP-DC vaccine, with 100 participants.

  • SK BIOSCIENCE CO., LTD (SOUTH KOREA)

PROTEIN SUBUNIT VACCINE

In February 2021, SK Bioscience launched a phase 1/2 trial, involving more than 200 healthy adults, for its COVID-19 vaccine candidate. The vaccine, called GBP510, is administered in two doses.

  • TAKIS AND ROTTAPHARM BIOTECH (ITALY)

DNA VACCINE

Takis and Rottapharm Biotech jointly developed a vaccine known as COVID-eVax. The vaccine is administered by an intramuscular injection, followed by electrical pulses to the skin in a procedure known as Electro-Gene-Transfer (EGT) which assists with delivery of the vaccine into the cells. The companies launched a phase 1/2 trial in February 2021.

  • INSTITUTO FINLAY DE VACUNAS (CUBA)

PROTEIN SUBUNIT VACCINE

The Finlay Vaccine Institute in Havana is currently conducting a phase 1/2 clinical trial on a COVID-19 vaccine called Soberana 1, which contains a part of the spike protein, called RBD, along with adjuvants to boost an immune response to COVID-19.

  • MAHIDOL UNIVERSITY (THAILAND)

VIRAL VECTOR VACCINE

In close collaboration with the Thai Government Pharmaceutical Organization, Mahidol University launched a phase 1/2 trial for a COVID-19 vaccine called NDV-HXP-S, which was developed by Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai in New York. NDV-HXP-S is based on the Newcastle Disease Virus (NDV), which can be grown in large quantities in chicken eggs, in a similar way to the well-established influenza vaccines that have been produced since the 1950s.

  • VBI VACCINES INC (USA)

VIRAL VECTOR VACCINE

Massachusetts-based VBI Vaccines Inc launched a phase 1/2 trial for its vaccine candidate, VBI-2902a, with over 700 participants in Canada. The trial will compare the effects of using one or two doses of VBI-2902a, which is designed to induce neutralising antibody and cell-mediated immune responses against the SARS-CoV-2 spike protein.

  • EUBIOLOGICS LTD., CO (SOUTH KOREA)

PROTEIN SUBUNIT VACCINE

EuBiologics launched a Phase 1/2 trial of for its recombinant protein-based vaccine, known as EuCorVac-19, with over 200 participants.

  • SANOFI PASTEUR AND TRANSLATE BIO (FRANCE)

RNA VACCINE

Sanofi developed an mRNA vaccine in partnership with Translate Bio. After preclinical trials found that the vaccine produces a strong antibody response in mice and monkeys, the companies launched a phase 1/2 trial in March 2021 with over 400 participants. The two-dose vaccine is the second candidate from Sanofi that is now in clinical trials, with the first being a protein-based vaccine developed with GSK.

  • DAIICHI SANKYO CO.

RNA VACCINE

In collaboration with the University of Tokyo, Daiichi Sankyo Co. launched a phase 1/2 trial for its mRNA vaccine candidate, known as DS-5670a, in March 2021.

  • INSTITUTE OF VACCINES AND MEDICAL BIOLOGICALS (VIETNAM)

VIRAL VECTOR VACCINE

The Institute of Vaccines and Medical Biologicals launched a phase 1/2 trial with more than 400 participants for its COVID-19 vaccine candidate known as COVIVAC.

Back to phase overview

Phase 1

  • PROVIDENCE HEALTH & SERVICES (USA)

DNA VACCINE

Phase 1 trials started recruiting participants in December 2020, enrolling 36 volunteers in the initial phase.

  • CODAGENIX/SERUM INSTITUTE OF INDIA (INDIA) – LIVE ATTENUATED VACCINE

Phase 1 trials of this intranasal vaccine started in the first week of January. As with the other nasal vaccines being trialled, it doesn’t require an injection, nor does it need ultra-cold storage like some RNA vaccines.

  • IMMUNITYBIO AND NANTKWEST (USA)

VIRAL VECTOR VACCINE

The company launched a phase 1 trial in California in December 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. In 2020, it was chosen to be part of Operation Warp Speed to rapidly develop vaccines in the USA.

  • 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, it 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, involving 30 healthy participants aged between 18 and 55 years.

  • CITY OF HOPE (USA)

VIRAL VECTOR VACCINE

Phase 1 trials of this vaccine based on a weakened form of a virus called Modified Vaccinia Ankara, or MVA for short, began on 24 November, with hopes to start phase 2 in the second quarter of 2021.

  • VAXINE (AUSTRALIA)

PROTEIN SUBUNIT VACCINE

Vaxine launched a phase 1 trial in July 2020. Its vaccine combines viral proteins with an adjuvant that stimulates immune cells. Phase 2 trials are expected to start this year.

  • UNIVERSITY HOSPITAL TÜBINGEN (GERMANY)

PROTEIN SUBUNIT VACCINE

Earlier this year, researchers at the University of Tübingen in Germany created a vaccine made of viral proteins as well as an immune-stimulating adjuvant. In September 2020, it launched a phase 1 trial. 

  • IMPERIAL COLLEGE (UK)

RNA VACCINE

This vaccine candidate which uses self-amplifying RNA technology (saRNA) has been developed by researchers at Imperial College 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 2020. However, in January Imperial College announced that it will not be proceeding with further efficacy trials in the UK, beyond those currently underway, especially given the number of vaccines already approved and in use in the country. Rather, it will now focus its efforts on making its existing candidates work as powerful booster vaccines against emerging and longer-term coronavirus threats, including mutations and variants.

  • SYMVIVO (AUSTRALIA)

DNA VACCINE

Phase 1 testing began in November for its oral DNA vaccine candidate.

  • ALTIMMUNE, INC (MARYLAND, USA)

VIRAL VECTOR VACCINE (NON-REPLICATING)

This Maryland-based biopharmaceutical company has developed a nasal spray vaccine for COVID-19, which delivers the Ad5 adenovirus to human airways. It registered a phase 1 clinical trial for adults in December 2020.

  • CHULALONGKORN UNIVERSITY (THAILAND)

RNA VACCINE

The Chula Vaccine Research Center has registered a phase 1 human trial to test its vaccine, ChulaCOv19.

  • ENTOS PHARMACEUTICALS INC (CANADA)

DNA VACCINE

Unlike most DNA-based vaccines that carry the gene for the spike protein on the surface of the virus, Covigenix VAX-001 from Canada-based Entos carries the gene of the protein that sits inside the virus membrane. It is hoping that this can offer immunity that lasts longer. The company launched a phase 1 trial in Canada in October 2020.

  • ADIMMUNE CORPORATION (TAIWAN)

PROTEIN SUBUNIT VACCINE

Adimmune launched a phase 1 trial in August 2020 with 70 adult participants.

  • SHENZHEN GENO-IMMUNE MEDICAL INSTITUTE (CHINA)

VIRAL VECTOR VACCINE

The Shenzhen Geno-Immune has launched a phase 1 trial for its COVID-19 aAPC vaccine.

  • RAZI VACCINE AND SERUM RESEARCH INSTITUTE (IRAN)

PROTEIN SUBUNIT VACCINE

The Razi Vaccine and Serum Research Institute launched a phase 1 trial for their COVID-19 vaccine candidate. The vaccine, known as Razi Cov-Pars, contains coronavirus-like spike proteins and is delivered in three doses via two injections and one nasal spray. According to the company, the vaccine is the first injectable-inhaled COVID-19 vaccine of recombinant protein.

  • UNIVERSITY OF QUEENSLAND (AUSTRALIA)

PROTEIN SUBUNIT VACCINE

After abandoning its v451 COVID-19 vaccine candidate with CSL Limited, the University of Queensland, in collaboration with Syneos Health and the Coalition for Epidemic Preparedness Innovations (CEPI), continued with a phase 1 trial to investigate immune response to its MF59 adjuvanted COVID-19 clamp vaccine. The vaccine is administered as an injection directly into the muscle of the upper arm of healthy participants.

  • UNIVERSTIY OF SYDNEY (AUSTRALIA)

DNA VACCINE

In February 2021, the University of Sydney launched a phase 1 trial to evaluate the safety and tolerability of a new two-dose COVID-19 vaccine called COVIGEN, which was developed by a company called BioNet-Asia.

  • PROVIDENCE THERAPEUTICS (CANADA)

RNA VACCINE

Canada-based Providence Therapeutics developed an mRNA COVID-19 vaccine called PTX-COVID19-B. The company has just launched phase 1 trials for the vaccine with 60 adult participants.

  • BHARAT BIOTECH INTERNATIONAL LIMITED (INDIA)

VIRAL VECTOR VACCINE

Bharat Biotech has launched phase 1 trials for its second COVID-19 vaccine called BBV154 with 175 participants. Unlike the company’s first COVID-19 vaccine, which is an inactivated virus vaccine, BBV154 is an adenoviral vector vaccine delivered as a nasal spray.

  • GLAXOSMITHKLINE (UK)

RNA VACCINE

In February, GlaxoSmithKline launched a phase 1 trial for their vaccine candidate, CoV-2 SAM (LNP) Vaccine, which will be administered intramuscularly to 40 adult participants.

  • SK BIOSCIENCE CO., LTD (SOUTH KOREA)

PROTEIN SUBUNIT VACCINE

SK Bioscience launched a phase 1 trial with 50 participants for its vaccine called NBP2001, which contains fragments of spike protein.

  • GRITSTONE ONCOLOGY (US)

VIRAL VECTOR VACCINE

Gritstone Oncology launched a phase 1 trial to test how its two COVID-19 vaccines work together, with the chimpanzee adenovirus (ChAd) serving as the first dose and the self-amplifying RNA as the second dose.

  • MODERNA/NATIONAL INSTITUTE OF ALLERGIES AND INFECTIOUS DISEASES (US)

RNA VACCINE

In collaboration with the National Institute of Allergies and Infectious Diseases (NIAID), US-based Moderna launched a phase 1 trial to test their second COVID-19 vaccine, mRNA-1273.351. The vaccine specifically targets the SARS-CoV-2 B.1.351 variant, which was first identified in the Republic of South Africa. The mRNA-1273.351 vaccine candidate will be given to trial participants in vaccination schedules alone, sequentially, or co-administered with Moderna’s first candidate, mRNA-1273, which has already been approved and rolled out in the US.

  • WALTER REED ARMY INSTITUTE OF RESEARCH (US)

PROTEIN SUBUNIT VACCINE

Walter Reed, the largest biomedical research laboratory of the US Department of Defence, launched a phase 1 trial for its vaccine candidate, Spike Ferritin Nanoparticle (SpFN). SpFN is a nanoparticle vaccine against COVID-19 that deploys spike proteins with a liposomal formulation (ALFQ) adjuvant.

  • ORGANIZATION OF DEFENSIVE INNOVATION AND RESEARCH (IRAN)

INACTIVATED VACCINE

In March 2021, the Organization of Defensive Innovation and Research, a subsidiary of Iran’s Ministry of Defense, launched a phase 1 trial for the country’s third locally developed vaccine, FAKHRAVAC (MIVAC). FAKHRAVAC, which will be tested at two different dose strengths, each injected as part of a two dose schedule two and three weeks apart. It is named after Mohsen Fakhrizadeh, one of Iran’s top nuclear scientists who was killed in late November 2020.

  • MEISSA VACCINES, INC. (USA)

WHOLE VIRUS VACCINE

In March 2021, California-based Meissa Vaccines launched a phase 1 trial for its COVID-19 vaccine candidate, MV-014-212. This live attenuated vaccine is formulated to be delivered as an intranasal, adjuvant-free and needle-free single dose vaccine. MV-014-212 was generated using the company’s AttenuBlock synthetic biology platform, which was being used to develop live attenuated respiratory syncytial virus (RSV) vaccine candidates designed to increase antigen expression and decrease or eliminate the expression genes that counteract the immune response. To apply this platform to work against COVID-19, the RSV surface proteins were replaced with the SARS-CoV-2 spike protein.

  • THE SCIENTIFIC AND TECHNOLOGICAL RESEARCH COUNCIL OF TURKEY (TURKEY)

VIRAL VECTOR VACCINE

In March 2021, the Scientific and Technological Research Council of Turkey launched a phase 1 trial for its virus-like particle (VLP) COVID-19 vaccine. Each of the virus-like particles in the two-dose vaccine carries four of the coronavirus proteins.

  • JIANGSU REC-BIOTECHNOLOGY (CHINA)

PROTEIN SUBUNIT VACCINE

Taizhou-based Jiangsu Rec-Biotechnology launched a phase 1 trial for its vaccine, known as ReCOV. The vaccine candidate is a recombinant two-component COVID-19 vaccine (CHO cell), which adopts an advanced neutralising antibody-guided and structure-based vaccine design concept. Compared with whole virus inactivated vaccine or S full-length protein vaccine, it is expected to make the immune resources more focused and reduce the ADE risk caused by non-neutralising antibodies.

  • KOCAK FARMA (TURKEY)

INACTIVATED VACCINE

In April 2021, Koçak Farma launched a phase 1 trial for its COVID-19 vaccine candidate called Koçak-19 Inaktif Adjuvanlı, which contains inactivated coronavirus.

ABANDONED TRIALS

  • UNIVERSITY OF QUEENSLAND & CSL LIMITED (AUSTRALIA)

PROTEIN SUBUNIT VACCINE

This was the first COVID-19 vaccine candidate to be abandoned. Researchers at the University of Queensland, in Brisbane, were using a patented vaccine-development technique called a ‘molecular clamp' that the researchers designed to stop the coronavirus’s spike protein from denaturing. As this clamp is similar to a protein on HIV, it triggered some participants to produce antibodies to HIV even though they were perfectly healthy. 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, a contract that has now been cancelled.

  • MERCK/DOHME/IAVI (USA)

VIRAL VECTOR VACCINE

Merck joined forces with non-profit organisation IAVI to produce a vaccine candidate that used 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 older people as it did in young, healthy adults. On 25 January, Merck announced it was abandoning its vaccine trials because the vaccine failed to trigger a comparable immune response to what happens in a natural COVID-19 infection.

  • MERCK/INSTITUTE PASTEUR (USA)

VIRAL VECTOR VACCINE

Merck acquired the Austrian firm Themis Bioscience in June and was also working on an alternative vaccine originally developed at the Institut Pasteur. The vaccine used the weakened measles virus to carry genetic material into cells. A phase 1 trial launched in August 2020 but was abandoned this month, because the vaccine provoked a response that was weaker than when naturally infected with COVID-19.

Back to phase overview

Subscribe to our newsletter