The unstoppable coronavirus Covid-19 is now officially a global pandemic. And we still haven’t found a cure or vaccine for it. The good news, though, is that a number of biotechnology and pharmaceutical companies, some with the support of government funding, are working around the clock to develop vaccines and treatment.
Here are five promising preventive and antiviral therapies in the works that may survive clinical trials and reach the market.
GlaxoSmithKline (GSK): Vaccines
British pharmaceutical giant GSK is working with two outside organizations for preclinical studies on Covid-19 vaccines using its pandemic vaccine adjuvant platform, a technology used to develop HPV and flu vaccines in the past.
GSK has provided the technology to University of Queensland program funded by the Coalition for Epidemic Preparedness Innovations (CEPI), an international organization based in Oslo, Clover Biopharmaceuticals, a Chinese biotech company that’s making a vaccine called Covid-19 S-Trimer.
Johnson & Johnson: Vaccines and Treatment
In collaboration with the Biomedical Advanced Research and Development Authority (BARDA), a division under the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS), Johnson & Johnson is exploring candidates for both vaccines and antiviral drugs.
Similar to GSK, the American pharma giant is using its vaccine platform technology, which was used for the developing an experimental Ebola vaccine in 2009.
“We are also in discussions with other partners, that if we have a vaccine candidate with potential, we aim to make it accessible to China and other parts of the world,” Paul Stoffels, Johnson & Johnson’s chief scientific officer, said in a statement last month.
The company aims to start a Phase 1 clinical trial by the end of 2020, Stoffel said last week.
Inovio Pharmaceuticals: Vaccine INO-4800
Inovio recently completed the preclinical testing of a DNA-based vaccine called INO-4800. And clinical trials are expected to begin in April with patients in the U.S., as well as China and South Korea.
The company expects to have first trial results in the fall and have one million vaccines doses ready by the end of the year.
Moderna: Vaccine mRNA-1273
Biotech startup Moderna is developing an RNA-based vaccine candidate called mRNA-1273 through a program funded by CEPI. Last month, the company shipped a batch of the vaccine to the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases (NIAID), a division under the National Institutes of Health. Clinical trials are expected to start next week and conclude on June 1 next year.
Gilead Sciences: Remdesivir
A frontrunner among existing Covid-19 therapy projects, Gilead’s antiviral drug, Remdesivir, is currently used in a phase 3 trial on over 1,000 patients around the world.
The experimental drug was first tested on Covid-19 patients in Wuhan, China, the epicenter of the coronavirus outbreak. Last month, the NIAID allowed the company to expand phase 3 trials to other countries hit by the virus.
Trial results from China can be expected as soon as April.