- Some vaccines hope to use mRNA to destroy the virus.
- For a vaccine to go to the FDA, it must pass 3 clinical trials.
- Moderna was the first company to create a vaccine.
The world first heard of COVID-19 on December 31, 2019 when China reported about the infection. Now, the race is on for companies to develop vaccines and medicines to fight COVID-19. Some biotech companies, in the hopes of defeating COVID-19, are looking at old antiviral medications, others are using DNA, and others are hoping to inject proteins to create an immune response in an individual. Below are just some of the companies creating medications or vaccines to combat COVID-19.
Moderna hit the ground running with a phase one clinical trial of a vaccine against COVID-19. Moderna discovers medicines for a variety of diseases and illnesses using messenger RNA. Messenger RNA (Mrna) carries genetic information from DNA to where protein synthesis is done in the ribosomes. Moderna is working with the Coalition for Epidemic Preparedness Innovations (CEPI) to create the vaccine. On March 16, 2020, the first dose of Moderna’s vaccine was administered into a human volunteer.
Novavax Inc. has a history of working with coronavirus and severe respiratory illnesses. The company will use its proprietary technology to develop a potential vaccine against COVID-19, and Novavax plans on using genetic sequencing to create this vaccine. Its technology has already been proven in Revsax, a Respiratory Syncytial Virus (RSV) vaccine. Its phase one clinical trial is planned for late Spring 2020.
Johnson & Johnson
Johnson & Johnson has experience working with the Ebola and Zika viruses. The company is working to develop a vaccine that gives patients a deactivated dose of the virus, so the patient doesn’t get symptoms of the infection. The potential vaccine would create an immune response to the virus if the patient becomes infected with a live virus. Human trials of the virus could begin by November. J&J is also working with the Biomedical Advanced Research and Development Authority to develop medications for those already infected and seeing if any of their older developed treatments would work against COVID-19.
BioCryst has an FDA approved antiviral drug for the flu in patients aged two and older. BioCryst has another drug named Galidesivir that has shown great potential to fight many viruses, including the coronavirus. The drug was primarily developed to fight Ebola. It has passed human safety tests and is entering a phase one clinical trial. Galidesivar has shown that it can disrupt a virus’s replication process. The drug is being developed to treat a huge range of viruses. It also has survival benefits against serious illnesses like Ebola, Marburg, Yellow Fever, and Zika. Galidesivar is being developed in partnership with The National Institute of Allergies and Infectious Diseases (NIAID). It has received funding totaling $39.5 million USD. BioCryst Pharmaceuticals is working with Biomedical Advanced Research and Development Authority (BARDA) to use Galidesivar as a treatment for diseases caused by RNA pathogens.
Creating a vaccine is a long and tough process. Each potential vaccine must pass preclinical testing and three phases of human testing before it is submitted to the FDA for approval. the spread of COVID-19 is a public health crisis, but companies are developing a solution to the problem.