The boundaries of vaccine technology are being pushed by the few drug makers currently dominating the global coronavirus vaccine race.
However, a more conventional and proven designs is likely to be adopted by the next crop of vaccines that are under development.
Considering thee sheer size of the need of a Cvoid-19 vaccine globally, the variations in effects on different populations, and the possible limits of effectiveness in the first set of vaccine to be marketed, it is certain that a number of different vaccines will be needed by the world as a whole to fight the Covid-19 pandemic.
New and mostly unproven technology platforms designed to produce vaccines at speed forms the basis of most of the leading vaccine candidates that are now in their final stages of testing.
They include messenger RNA (mRNA) technology used by Moderna Inc MRNA.O and Pfizer Inc with partner BioNTech SE, and inactivated cold virus platforms used by Oxford University/AstraZeneca Plc, Johnson & Johnson and CanSino Biologics, whose vaccine has been approved for military use in China.
Tests using a weakened measles virus that delivers genes from the new coronavirus into the body to stimulate an immune response to the coronavirus is being used by Merck & Co wh started testing its vaccine candidate in September.
Of these, only the technology offered by J&J and CanSino that use cold viruses as vectors to deliver coronavirus genetic material have ever produced a licensed vaccine – for Ebola.
Experts say that the next set of vaccine candidates that would be delivering their late-stage trial results in the first half of 2021 use approaches of vaccine development that have resulted in successful vaccines being crated previously.
Using a killed or inactivated version of the pathogen that causes a disease to provoke an immune response is one of the Conventional methods. This method as used to make vaccines for flu, polio and rabies vaccines.
Protein-based vaccines that use purified pieces of the virus to trigger an immune response is also a common method of vaccine development. This approach was adopted for making vaccines against whooping cough, or pertussis, and shingles.
A protein-based Covid-19 vaccine employing the same approach it uses for its Flublok seasonal flu vaccine is being used by the French drug maker Sanofi. The company expects to begin its final phase of trials in early December and expects to get approval in the first half of 2021.
A similar purified protein technology is being used for its Cvoid-19 vaccine by Novavax Inc even though the drug maker has not yet produced a licensed vaccine. It expects late stage trials for its vaccine in the US will begin in late November and will involve 30,000 volunteers.
“Those are more traditional approaches, so we can feel more comfortable that we have a lot of experience with them,” said Dr. Paul Offit, director of the Vaccine Education Center at Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia.
(Adapted from Reuters.com)