Latest Vaccine News

Discussion in 'Politics' started by gwb-trading, Apr 24, 2020.

  1. gwb-trading


    A thread to outline the latest news on the vaccine front.

    'Our moon shot': Vaccine makers go ahead with unproven candidates to meet 2021 goal – that experts say may be unrealistic

    In a series of breathtaking multibillion-dollar bets by vaccine makers, possible candidates to fight the new coronavirus are being prepared for production across the globe, before it’s even known whether any of them will work.

    It's one of the most dramatic examples of short cuts and streamlining aimed at meeting what many experts consider unrealistic U.S. target dates for a vaccine.

    Director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases Anthony Fauci, front and center at White House news conferences, has repeatedly told a pandemic-weary nation a vaccine against the virus may be ready in 12 to 18 months.

    That timeline would shatter all precedents for developing a new vaccine, which typically takes many years. The fastest it has ever been done was for mumps, which took four years.

    “I think the goal of 18 months is one that will be very, very difficult to achieve," said Michael Osterholm, director of the Center for Infectious Disease Research and Policy at the University of Minnesota. “But it just may be our moon shot.”

    Manufacturing tens of millions of unproven vaccine doses on spec is unheard of in vaccine production. It underscores the urgent need to have solutions ready as quickly as possible to stop a scourge that has killed almost 200,000 people worldwide and decimated the global economy.

    There is no certainty any of the experimental vaccines will work. If one does prove effective, getting it into the arms of people around the world will require another bold move: the Food and Drug Administration would have to speed up its normal approval process, fast-tracking clinical trials and coordinating regulatory processes.

    As testing data becomes available, work on vaccines that fail or have unacceptable side effects will be stopped, and stockpiles of that vaccine will be destroyed.

    “This is indeed a brave new world,” said L.J. Tan chief strategy officer at the Immunization Action Coalition, which distribute information about vaccines and the diseases they prevent in partnership with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

    'Absolutely unprecedented'
    Pharmaceutical giant Johnson & Johnson is one of several major vaccine developers taking the leap.

    The company already has begun work to meet its promise of producing a billion doses of its vaccine, even with human trials months away, said Macaya Douoguih, the company’s head of clinical development of vaccines.

    The move is risky financially, but could shave a year or more off of the process.

    U.S.-based Pfizer has four coronavirus vaccine candidates it expects to enter clinical trials, possibly within the next week.

    The company has started ramping its production capacity to produce millions of vaccine doses by the end of the year – long before it knows which, if any, will pan out, the company told USA TODAY.

    “It’s absolutely unprecedented, and it shows the strong commitment by our industry to eradicate COVID-19 and get any future vaccine to patients as quickly as possible, despite the incredible risks involved,” said Phyllis Arthur, vice president of Infectious Diseases & Diagnostics Policy at the biotechnology industry group BIO.

    An international public-private partnership is making the biggest bet. The vaccine effort backed by the Coalition of Epidemic Preparedness Innovation (CEPI), based in Oslo, Norway, is funded by 14 governments as well as the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation and the U.K.'s Wellcome Trust.

    With $2 billion in financial support, it is helping 10 leading candidates manufacture vaccines “at risk,” said James Robinson, a consultant managing the manufacturing strategy for CEPI.

    “At risk” means CEPI is taking on all the financial costs, all the legal liability and the clinical trial costs, with no guarantee of a market.

    “Production has started for many programs at limited scale; full-scale production should be underway by summer,” Robinson said.

    The goal is, as testing progresses, scientists will be able to identify the most promising candidates and have substantial quantities of doses read to be deployed.

    The chance of failing is high but CEPI has confidence some of the 10 vaccine candidates will be successful. "It's the bet we need to take to be sure we have one to three that will work," said Robinson.

    The financial risk to the companies is also unprecedented.

    “You’ve potentially just spent a million dollars to learn something interesting” but have nothing to show for it, said Gregory Poland, a professor of medicine at the Mayo Clinic in Rochester, Minnesota, and editor-in-chief of the journal Vaccine.

    Vaccine manufacturing and production even in normal times is dicey. The rates of return are low and outbreaks can wane, pulling public attention and money away. That makes the decision to produce multiple vaccines before they’re tested all the more remarkable.

    “Companies don’t want to risk making all those doses until they know a vaccine is going to be licensed and can be sold,” said Kathleen Neuzil, director of the Center for Vaccine Development at the University of Maryland School of Medicine.

    But in today’s environment, the choices are stark.

    “Maybe you say, ‘This is a pandemic. It’s important enough that we’ll try,’” Neuzil said. “It’s absolutely a gamble. There’s no doubt about it.”

    A COVID-19 vaccine may be impossible
    It's possible there will be no vaccine. Vaccines for respiratory ailments have a history of setbacks. In 1966, two toddlers died from a vaccine for Respiratory Syncytial Virus, or RSV. It wasn't until late last year that any vaccine for that respiratory virus was approved.

    Vaccine developers also have to contend with antibody-dependent enhancement, where a possible vaccine ends up making it easier not harder for the virus to infect a cell.

    Then there’s the history of problems in making a vaccine against coronaviruses, of which SARS-CoV-2 that causes the disease COVID-19 is one.

    No one has ever developed a vaccine for the common cold, which is often caused by different strains of the coronavirus. Attempts at a vaccine for Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome led to animals getting sick. The SARS virus is closely related to the COVID-19 virus.

    The urgency to stop the pandemic has brought together unprecedented resources and expertise to find a solution, yet it remains extremely difficult to develop a vaccine. It's one reason there is still nothing for HIV or the common cold, said Esther Krofah, executive director of FasterCures, a Washington, D.C.-based think tank focused on accelerating medical research.

    “It’s not an absolute guarantee, even though we have all these efforts underway,” she said.

    Osterholm, who wrote the bestseller, "Deadliest Enemy" about public health crises, believes we must presume one won't be found. That puts the burden on treatments and social distancing until the disease has run its course. He recently estimated 800,000 Americans will die of COVID-19.

    “I think our planning for responding to the pandemic has to be as if there is no vaccine,” said Osterholm, who has been involved as a public health expert in numerous epidemics over 35 years.

    “With a disease of this infectiousness, you probably are talking 60% to 70% of the population would have to be infected and develop immunity for us to see substantial reduction in transmission,” he said.

    Currently there are more than 70 vaccine candidates for SARS-CoV-2, according to the World Health Organization. The hope is that many will succeed.

    To protect the world’s 7.8 billion people will require multiple vaccines produced at dozens of facilities. No single vaccine maker can make enough doses for the entire population.

    A vaccine might be possible in late 2021 or early 2022 but it’s hard to say, said Jon Andrus, a professor of global vaccinology and vaccine policy at the Milken Institute of Public Health at George Washington University.

    “We’re building this plane as we fly it,” he said. “With science, you expect the unexpected. You can’t wave a magic wand and say this is going to happen.”
    TreeFrogTrader and jem like this.
  2. gwb-trading


    COVID-19 vaccine tests in China protect monkeys from virus, researchers say

    Chinese researchers say they have successfully protected monkeys with a coronavirus vaccine — the first instance of a trial working on an animal.

    Scientists at Sinovac Biotech, a private Beijing based company, dosed out two versions of its vaccine to eight rhesus macaque monkeys. Three weeks later when the monkeys were exposed to the deadly pathogen, none developed a full-blown infection, according to the study published recently in the preprint server bioRxiv.

    In contrast, four control animals developed high levels of SARS-CoV-2, the virus that causes COVID-19, in several body parts, and severe pneumonia.

    Even though the trial was limited to only a few monkeys, Meng Weining, Sinovac’s senior director for overseas regulatory affairs, told Science Magazine that the results “give us a lot of confidence” that the vaccine will work in humans.

    Florian Krammer, a virologist at the Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai, also told the academic journal that the “old-school” nature of the vaccine — a formula of a chemically inactive version of the virus — means it could break down barriers to access.

    “I like it,” Krammer said. “This is old school but it might work. What I like most is that many vaccine producers, also in lower–middle-income countries, could make such a vaccine.”

    The monkeys given the largest amount of the vaccine in the trial recorded the best response, with researchers unable to detect the virus in any of their pharynxes or lungs. Monkeys that received a lower dose developed a minor infection which they appear to have been able to control.

    When administered to the monkeys, the vaccine “neutralized” the strains of the virus isolated from coronavirus patients in China, Italy, Switzerland, Spain and the United Kingdom, the researchers wrote.

    The researchers acknowledged that monkeys with the coronavirus don’t develop the most severe symptoms experienced in humans but reasoned “it’s still too early to define the best animal model for studying SARS-CoV-2.”

    However, the monkeys used for the study “mimic COVID-19-like symptoms” when subjected to the virus, they wrote in the study.

    Sinovac is well-versed in developing vaccines, according to Science Magazine, having marketed vaccines for hand, foot, and mouth disease; hepatitis A and B; and the bird flu.

    So far, more than 2.6 million people around the world have been infected with the coronavirus, and more than 188,000 people have died, according to Johns Hopkins University.

    Sinovac has discussed joining international vaccine trials being organized by the World Health Organization (WHO), Science Magazine reports.
    TreeFrogTrader likes this.
  3. gwb-trading


    Britain launches COVID-19 vaccine study, latest in race

    Testing of an experimental COVID-19 vaccine began in healthy volunteers in Britain Thursday, the latest in a cluster of early-stage studies in search of protection against the coronavirus.

    University of Oxford researchers gave injections to volunteers in a study that eventually aims to include hundreds in hopes of telling not only if the vaccine is safe but if it works.

    Researchers created the new vaccine by inserting genes for a spikey protein that studs the outer surface of the new coronavirus into another, harmless virus.

    The idea: The immune system will spot the foreign protein and make antibodies to fight it, primed to react quickly if the person eventually is exposed to COVID-19.

    These kinds of studies often give volunteers either the real vaccine or a dummy shot. But this experimental vaccine may briefly cause soreness and maybe a low fever — meaning if a dummy shot was the comparison, the participants might figure out who got the real thing, said Dr. Andrew Pollard, one of the Oxford chief researchers.

    “That might influence people’s behavior, perhaps make them more likely to be exposed to the virus,” which in turn would make it harder to prove if the vaccine worked, Pollard told The Associated Press.

    So the Oxford team decided half the volunteers will be given an old vaccine against another disease that offers no COVID-19 protection but has similar shot side effects.

    “It seems like the right thing to do — to ensure that we can combat this disease and get over it a lot faster," volunteer Edward O’Neill told the BBC afterward.

    Dozens of vaccine candidates are in various stages of development around the world. Experts have cautioned that even if early studies go well, it will be at least a year before any are available for widespread use.

    Among those making the fastest progress: China’s CanSino Biologics has begun the second phase of testing its vaccine candidate, made with an approach similar to Oxford’s.

    Two U.S. companies are testing vaccines made from copies of a piece of the virus's genetic code. Two other Chinese candidates are being pursued that use older technology.
    TreeFrogTrader likes this.
  4. jem


    good thread...
  5. Tony Stark

    Tony Stark

    Im not taking it when it first comes out.Ill wait a year or 2
    Amun Ra likes this.
  6. Wallet


    Not if Bill Gates has a say.
  7. Amun Ra

    Amun Ra

    What? You don't want to take a vaccine that was rushed out in a panic?

    aRe U sOmE kInD oF sCiEnCe DeNiEr???
    Tony Stark likes this.
  8. Cuddles


    How are the Clorox & Lysol trials going? How about the UV light bulb suppository?
  9. UsualName


    Why? Generally it takes about two years to develop the flu vaccine because influenza strains change. The vaccine developed will most likely be the most bare bones possible. I would be surprised if it was above 50% effective in the first vaccine because it’s going to be so new.
  10. gwb-trading


    I will be first in line when it is widely available.
    #10     Apr 24, 2020