The Herman Trend Alert
June 24, 2020
The Truth about Vaccines: Part 2
This Herman Trend Alert is Part 2 of The Truth About Vaccines. To read Part 1, visit here.
Throughout the world, researchers are working night and day to find a vaccine against COVID-19, the virus causing the Coronavirus pandemic. As the previous Herman Trend Alert detailed, most vaccine development takes four years. However, recently researchers have estimated that even a fast-tracked vaccine development process will require at least 12-18 months, and that's if the process goes efficiently from concept to market availability. Sadly, with vaccines, in practice, things seldom happen that smoothly. Our reason for optimism stems from the number of vaccines in development at the same time.
As I write this Herman Trend Alert, there are 32 different vaccines in development. Most are described as "Preclinical;" a handful are in Phase 1 or 1 and 2; and only two are in Phase 2 and 3. This pandemic has created unprecedented public/private partnerships. One of those partnerships is Operation Warp Speed (OWS), a collaboration of several US federal government departments including Health and Human Services and its subagencies, Agriculture, Energy, Veterans Affairs, and the private sector. Within OWS, the US National Institutes of Health (NIH) has partnered with more than 18 biopharmaceutical companies to accelerate development of drug and vaccine candidates for COVID-19. As a side note, Dr. Anthony Fauci has stated that he does not like the OWS name because he believes it establishes unrealistic expectations and he fears that the vaccine might be produced "before [we] even know that it works."
Phases 2 and 3 of the University of Oxford Vaccine Trial
The one we have all heard most about and the one I highlighted in last weekÕs Alert is the vaccine being developed at Oxford University in the United Kingdom. This vaccine trial is currently in Phases 2 and 3. The Oxford scientists' goal is to produce a million doses of their vaccine by September.
Another Trial Showing Promise: Moderna
As we go to press, Moderna, a Biotech company, has completed the Phase 1 of its COVID-19 vaccine trial. Their Phase 2 trial will follow 600 participants for 12 months. Their very positive results from interim Phase 1 include the fact that the vaccine led to the creation of antibodies in eight human test subjects and it kept the COVID-19 virus from replicating in the lungs of mice. In addition, if/when the Moderna vaccine works, it has a 10-year manufacturing deal with the Swiss company Lonza Group. That deal will enable up to 1 billion doses of the vaccine a year. Lonza plans to set up manufacturing facilities in Switzerland and their first batch of the vaccine could be produced by July. The vaccine could be ready for market as early as the beginning of trial 2021.
A Third Advanced Vaccine Effort
After its impressive efforts to flatten their curve, it is not surprising to see this vaccine effort from Australia. With a USD $10 Million grant from the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, the Murdoch Children's Research Institute's (MCRI) clinical trial of the BCG vaccine against COVID-19 will offer vaccines to 10,000 healthcare workers across Australia, Spain and The Netherlands.
Built on a Proven Winner
Originally developed against tuberculosis, BCG was, and is still given to over 130 million babies worldwide each year for that purpose. This trial builds on previous research which showed that BCG provides some protection against respiratory viral infections; plus, there was a study in which BCG reduced virus levels and enhanced immunity to a virus with a structure similar to COVID-19.
Numerous Other Vaccines in Development
There are numerous other vaccine efforts including vaccine candidates from Novavax, Sinopharm/Wuhan Institute of Biological Products, Sinovac, and CureVac. With so many vaccines under development, there is reason to be "cautiously optimistic." Dr. Fauci said he is "confident" that a COVID-19 vaccine is achievable; he has previously noted could take "at least" 12 to 18 months to develop. For the sanity of all of mankind (including me), I can only hope that the safety and efficacy can be proven sooner rather than later.
Next Week: The Anti-Vaxxer Movement
There is so very much to write about vaccines that once again, I have run out of space. Tune in next week to read about probably our greatest obstacle to defeating the virus.
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