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Good News: Drug Companies Are Rushing To Develop COVID-19 Vaccine

As the coronavirus pandemic spirals up at exponential rates invading the respiratory mechanisms of people, companies are accelerating efforts for creating vaccines. More than two dozen companies have announced ‘promising’ vaccine programmes that are speeding through the early stages of testing unlike ever before. The trials have started in many cases to assess the efficacy of the treatment drugs and vaccine for COVID-19.

According to the New York Times, untill now, there is no approved treatment for Covid-19, however, researchers and doctors are testing different therapies to save the lives of people. 

In normal circumstances, development of new vaccines and treatments takes years. But the pharmaceutical industry is racing up its efforts with the support of government agencies and regulatory authorities and nonprofit organizations.

Yes, there might just be a silver lining. 

Good news on the treatment/vaccine

Thousands of patients are recovering from COVID-19. Mesoblast is taking a more standard approach, testing the cell therapy in 240 patients at more than 20 medical centers around the country. Patients will be randomly divided into groups that will receive the therapy, and those that will get a placebo.

Researchers are anticipating that the trials could yield initial results within months.

Nine coronavirus patients at Mount Sinai Hospital in New York have received the Mesoblast’ treatment on an emergency basis, and doctors there said the initial response was promising. Six patients were removed from ventilators and others were being weaned off or had remained stable. This is a welcome development when most patients who need ventilator support do not survive.

Still, a vaccine would be the best way to stop further spread of the coronavirus because it enhances the immune system’s natural defenses. More than one million people around the world have already been sickened by the coronavirus. For public health experts and those on the front lines, a vaccine can’t come soon enough.

Novavax, a bio-tech company, is developing a vaccine and testing it on healthy adults in Australia. The results are expected to be available around July.

A vaccine made by the biotech company Moderna is already in a clinical trial, which started on March 15. Another one, developed by Inovio Pharmaceuticals, was injected into the first adult volunteers on Monday, reported The New York Times.

All these companies are employing out-of-the box solutions to accelerate the process of vaccine development. Co-director of the Texas Children’s Hospital Center for Vaccine Development, Dr. Hotez’s team and Johnson & Johnson, are relying on technology that was used successfully to create other vaccines in the past, including the one for Ebola, which was also used in the recent epidemic in the Democratic Republic of Congo.

Some countries already have the manufacturing capabilities that will be needed to scale up vaccine production, and that will keep costs low if everything goes well. For now, the first stage of clinical trials for each potential coronavirus vaccine must focus on how safe or toxic the vaccine may be at different dose levels.

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Naya Daur