The race to develop a COVID-19 vaccine: 4 updates

There are eight vaccine candidates being tested in clinical trials and 94 in preclinical trials as of April 30, according to the World Health Organization

Four updates on the efforts to create a COVID-19 vaccine: 

  1. AstraZeneca signed an agreement April 30 with Oxford University to help develop and distribute the vaccine the university is developing, CNBC reported. AstraZeneca would be responsible for the worldwide manufacturing and supply of the vaccine, which entered phase 1 clinical trials last week. The Cambridge, U.K.-based drugmaker said the U.K. will know by July whether the vaccine is effective in humans. Oxford University's vaccine is the front-running candidate in the race to create a COVID-19 vaccine, as it has already shown to be effective in monkeys.

  2. Anthony Fauci, MD, said April 30 that the US may have hundreds of millions of doses of a COVID-19 vaccine ready by January, The Hill reported. Dr. Fauci said a major step in meeting that goal is to start manufacturing a potential vaccine before trial results are completed, so meeting the January timeline relies on trials showing at least one vaccine candidate is effective.

  3. The Trump administration is creating what it calls "Operation Warp Speed," a program to drastically cut the time needed to develop a COVID-19 vaccine, Bloomberg reported. The goal is to have enough doses of the vaccine for most Americans to receive one by the end of the year. The program will involve private pharmaceutical companies, government agencies and the military working together, with the government organizing large clinical trials to test several vaccines at once and advancing the most promising candidates. The program will cost billions but will be funded with money already available to the government and won't require new authority from Congress, according to Bloomberg.

  4. Pfizer said its vaccine could be ready for emergency use by this fall, The Wall Street Journal reported. The New York City-based drugmaker said it will begin testing its experimental vaccine in humans in the U.S. as early as next week and results could come by next month. Pfizer is using messenger RNA to create the vaccine, which causes cells to produce proteins that could lead to immunity. 

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