With rising Covid cases across the world, scientists are working hard to develop a vaccine to stop its spread further. Millions of dollars have already been invested in the research and development activity for the vaccine.
When the government bodies are doing their best by giving faster approvals, pharmaceutical companies are trying their best in increasing their research efforts.
Vaccines are biological products that generate acquired immunity to certain infectious diseases. Under normal circumstances, it takes several years for the development of a vaccine, but for Covid-19, there is a lof pressure on pharmaceutical companies to develop it a faster pace.
Although no vaccine has completed clinical trials, there are multiple attempts in progress to develop such a vaccine. In February 2020, the World Health Organization (WHO) said it did not expect a vaccine against severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2), the causative virus, to become available in less than 18 months.
The Coalition for Epidemic Preparedness Innovations (CEPI) – which is organizing a US $2 billion worldwide fund for rapid investment and development of vaccine candidates – indicated in April that a vaccine may be available under emergency use protocols in less than 12 months or by early 2021.
On 4 May 2020, the WHO organized a telethon to raise US$8 billion from forty countries to support rapid development of vaccines to prevent COVID-19 infections, also announcing deployment of an international "Solidarity trial" for simultaneous evaluation of several vaccine candidates reaching Phase II-III clinical trials.
By May, 159 vaccine candidates were in development, with five having been initiated in Phase I–II safety and efficacy studies in human subjects, and seven in Phase I trials.
A vaccine for infectious disease has never before been produced in less than several years, and no previous vaccine exists for preventing a coronavirus infection. As of April, CEPI estimates that as many as six of the 115 vaccine candidates against COVID-19 should be chosen by international coalitions for development through Phase II–III trials, and three should be streamlined through regulatory and quality assurance for eventual licensing at a total cost of at least US $2 billion.
Another analysis estimates 10 candidates will need simultaneous initial development before a select few are chosen for the final path to licensing. The vaccine effort is being prioritized for speed of rigorous clinical evaluation for safety and efficacy, financing, and planning to manufacture billions of doses, and eventual worldwide deployment and equitable access among developed and undeveloped countries.
WHO, CEPI, and the Gates Foundation are investing finances and organizational resources for the prospect that several vaccines will be needed to prevent continuing COVID-19 infection. The vaccines will require custom formulation, special packaging, transportation, and storage in every one of some 200 countries with infected citizens. The WHO estimates a total cost of US$8 billion to develop a suite of three or more vaccines having different technologies and distribution to prevent COVID-19 infections worldwide.