A COVID-19 vaccine developed by German biotech firm BioNTech and U.S. pharmaceutical giant Pfizer has shown potential and was found to be well tolerated in early-stage human trials, the companies said on Wednesday.
The drug is one of 17 being tested on humans in a frantic global race to find a vaccine the world is counting on to end a pandemic that has infected 10.5 million people and killed more than half a million so far.The potential treatment is the fourth early-stage COVID-19 drug to show promise in human testing, along with projects involving Moderna, CanSino Biologics and Inovio Pharmaceuticals.
Synthetic Antibody Could Prevent and Treat COVID-19
In an effort to trick the virus, the researchers behind the study designed a “decoy” ACE2, which the virus recognizes in the same way it does the real thing. However, it is not attached to cells in the body.
This decoy protein intercepts to neutralize the virus before it can attach to ACE2 on cells and cause infection.Although scientists have used ACE2 in a soluble form before and it is safe in humans, it generally does not stay in the body for long and cannot reach the lining of the lungs — which is crucial for treating a respiratory virus.
More Than Two-Thirds of Trials Hit By COVID-19 Enrollment Halts
Nearly 200 companies have stopped or delayed their trials over the pandemic, and life science analytics firm GlobalData has dug into the data and found the main culprit has been suspended enrollment. Drilling down into the numbers of the causes stopping these tests, it found 67.3% of clinical trials disrupted by COVID-19 are due to patients not being allowed into studies, while the delayed start of planned trials follows at 18.4%; finally, 14.4% of trials are currently being impacted due to slow enrollment.
Within the 14.4% of trials affected by slow enrollment, 20.7% of these are specifically due to the availability of sites and investigators, it found. Brooke Wilson, associate director, trials intelligence at GlobalData, said: “Non-COVID-19 trials are being delayed or deprioritized, and clinical trials for respiratory indications may be further impacted. Many hospitals that serve as trial sites are being inundated with COVID-19 patients and are no longer available.