Five vaccines – three Western and two Chinese – are in phase 3 efficacy trials involving thousands of people.
In a surprise announcement, Russian President Vladimir Putin said on Tuesday that a vaccine dubbed “Sputnik V” – after the Soviet satellite – confers “lasting immunity” against the new coronavirus.
As research labs around the world rush to develop a vaccine, manufacturers have received funding to help them prepare to have millions of doses ready for administration in 2021 or even before the end of the year.
The University of Oxford, in collaboration with the Swedish-British pharmaceutical group AstraZeneca, hopes to have results by September while the American biotechnology company Moderna, in partnership with the National Institutes of Health (NIH) of the United States , aims for the end of the year, possibly in November.
United States: 700 MILLION DOSES
President Donald Trump has launched “Operation Warp Speed” with the goal of developing, manufacturing and distributing a COVID-19 vaccine to all Americans by January 2021.
Hundreds of millions of dollars have been allocated to vaccine developers, including nearly $ 500 million to Johnson & Johnson at the end of March.
The United States has allocated funds to more companies than other countries in the hope that one of them will come up with the vaccine to counter the highly contagious virus.
So far, Washington has distributed at least $ 9.4 billion to seven vaccine developers and signed manufacturing contracts with five of them to deliver 700 million doses.
The companies involved are: Johnson & Johnson, Moderna, Oxford / AztraZeneca, Novavax, Pfizer / BioNTech, Sanofi / GSK, Merck Sharp and Dohme.
EUROPE: 700 MILLION DOSES
Two vaccine developers – Oxford / AztraZeneca and Sanofi / GSK – have signed or are in advanced negotiations with the European Commission to deliver a total of 700 million doses of vaccine.
GREAT BRITAIN, JAPAN, BRAZIL
Britain, because of Brexit, is negotiating a separate pre-order of 250 million doses from four developers.
Japan has 490 million doses from three suppliers, including 250 million Novavax in the United States.
Japanese pharmaceutical giant Takeda bought the rights to a Novavax vaccine for Japan, which funded the research. It would be produced locally.
Brazil has chosen a similar model, ordering 100 million doses from AstraZeneca and partnering with Chinese Sinovac to produce 120 million “CoronaVac”, which is already being tested with the Brazilians.
Clinical trials of two Chinese vaccine candidates – Sinovac and Sinopharm – are well advanced but only a few international partnerships have been announced, the one with Brazil and a possible one with Indonesia.
Russia said 20 countries have pre-ordered one billion doses of Sputnik V and that with foreign partners it would be able to produce 500 million doses per year in five countries.
The Coalition for Epidemic Preparedness Innovations (CEPI), launched in 2017 by Norway, India, the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation and the Wellcome Trust, aims to ensure “equitable access” to future vaccines.
It has pre-ordered 300 million doses of AstraZeneca for dozens of developing countries through a partnership with The Vaccine Alliance (Gavi).
Billions of doses are said to be produced for Asia and elsewhere by the giant Serum Institute of India (SII), the world’s largest vaccine producer.
Novavax and AstraZeneca have separately signed agreements with SII to produce one billion doses each for India and low- and middle-income countries provided, of course, that they are proven effective in clinical trials.