While the race to develop a COVID-19 vaccine is well underway with over 40 hopeful candidates, only three have entered “Phase I” of clinical trials, the first of three stages of human testing before drug approval.Phase I testing is only a test to see if the vaccine is safe. Researchers won’t know if it’s effective until Phase II is studied. Below is a brief overview of these three candidates, plus three promising ones that are still in earlier stages of development.
STARTING IN HUMANS (PHASE 1):
mRNA-1273 – The front-runner in the U.S., which is backed by the NIAID and developed by Moderna Therapeutics, is based upon a specific type of genetic material, mRNA.
Ad5-nCoV: The front-runner across the globe, Ad5-nCoV, was developed by the Beijing Institute of Biotech and CanSino Biologics, a Chinese biopharmaceutical company.
ChAdOx1: The University of Oxford is one of the most recent groups to bring its vaccine candidate into human studies — a major milestone.
STILL IN LABORATORY (PRECLINICAL)
BNT162: Biopharmaceutical giant Pfizer, along with partner company BioNTech, is working on an mRNA-based vaccine that is similar to Moderna’s model.
INO-4800: An entirely different technology is being developed by Inovio Pharmaceuticals, a company that uses a proprietary platform for “activation immunotherapy.”