It has been six months since the COVID-19 pandemic began in the United States and ten months since it began in China. Extensive collaboration and worldwide efforts to curb the spread of COVID-19 and save lives have scientists, pharmaceutical companies and governments deeply invested in developing a safe and effective Coronavirus vaccine. According to The New York Times, there are 51 vaccines in various stages of testing and development. Nine vaccines are in Phase 3 clinical trials, the final step before regulatory approval and distribution. Approximately 85% of infectious disease vaccines that reach Phase 3 testing will achieve a final FDA approval, according to the American Council of Science and Health. As vaccines progress through Phase 3, regulators will decide whether to approve the vaccine and whether it should be fast-tracked for emergency use authorization in the case of a pandemic.
Coronavirus Vaccine Tracker from The New York Times as of September 18, 2020:
Phase 3: Moderna, AstraZeneca and Pfizer/BioTech have coronavirus vaccines in the final stages of testing. Last week, the AstraZeneca vaccine trial was postponed to investigate a serious side effect of a vaccine trial participant, but testing has since resumed. On Sept. 13, Pfizer CEO Albert Bourla said, “we will have a good chance to know if the product works by the end of October” and has expanded trial enrollment to cover a more diverse population. The companies with vaccines in Phase 3 clinical trials are optimistic that they will complete testing by the end of this year, and pending regulatory approval will be able to begin distributing vaccines shortly thereafter.
Limited Use: Three vaccines have been approved for limited use: CanSinoBio, has been approved for one year of use for the Chinese military. Sputnik V was approved for use within Russia before Phase 3 clinical trials. Russia has agreements to supply the vaccine to Brazil and Mexico. Sinovac, the third vaccine approved for limited use, is being distributed in Indonesia.
Looking Ahead: While nothing is for certain, Dr. Anthony Fauci, director of National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Disease, continues to believe there will be an effective, safe vaccine later this year or early next year, but that it will take time to mobilize and distribute the vaccine. He currently predicts the U.S. will not be back to “normal” until later next year.Sources: