Vaccine development stage and clinical trials against coronavirus - COVID19

With more than 180 vaccines are currently being developed against COVID19 virus, it important than ever to understand the approaches for developing vaccines and how they will be distributed across the world.

COVID19’s genetic material- RNA- is made up of 30,000 letters which codes for 29 proteins. These proteins help the virus to attach to the cells in the respiratory tract, hijack the cellular machinary and use it to survive, thrive and multiply in the patient’s body.

The critical protein, called spike protein, helps the virus to attach to the proteins on lung cells and from there, spread throughout the body.

To protect people from the virus, it is essential to develop immunity against it. Vaccines are the “gold standard” approach to develop immunity against a virus before a person is infected with it.

Immunological data shows development of antibody response (IgG and IgA antibodies) against these spike proteins in patients who have recovered from COVID19, thereby making spike protein, an ideal candidate against which to develop a vaccine.

Indeed, all vaccine technologies have focussed on generating an immune response against these spike proteins. However, these technologies differ and have their respective pros and cons.

With more than 10 vaccines entering phase III clinical trials, it is crucial to understand differences between these technologies, how they are manufactures, their efficacy and safety profiles, transport and storage capabilities, worldwide distribution capabilities and much more.

Figure showing different technologies for vaccine development. Figure taken from Krammer F. Nature. 2020.

Figure showing current stage of vaccine development. Figure taken from The New York Times.

Our Head of Advanced Genomic Technologies Division- Dr. Harsh Sheth, gave a live interview with the anchor Ms. Surbhi Sharma and Mr. Nirnay Kapoor on India TV, explaining different strategies of vaccine development and its distribution. You can watch the entire interview here in Hindi.

Our Chairman- Dr. Jayesh Sheth and Dr. Raman Gangakhedekar, gave a live interview with the anchor Mr. Utsav Parmar (IIS) on Doordarshan Girnar, explaining epidemiology of COVID19 and stages of indigenous vaccine development in India. You can watch the entire interview here in Gujarati.