Booster shots, inoculations for children and even intranasal delivery are among the trending topics to do with second-generation coronavirus vaccines. Data shows that the COVID-19 vaccine pipeline is indeed filling up again. More than 60 vaccines are currently listed for stage 1 or stage 1/2 trials, while a whopping 184 candidates in pre-clinical trials are registered with the WHO.
Another development in the sector is that more countries are in the process of developing their own coronavirus vaccines. As of May 25, there were companies and joint ventures from 8 different countries that have not yet developed a coronavirus vaccine listed as being in stage 1 trials. Five – Japan, Australia, Canada, Iran and Turkey – had even made it to phase 2, while Kazakhstan and Cuba already entered phase 3 of clinical trials with their vaccine candidates.
But the process is tedious, as the example of South Korea shows. After Europe, the U.S., China and India, the country has the most vaccine candidates in the pipeline. Yet, none have made it past the phase 1/2 stage of clinical trials yet. That is despite the fact that the country is desperately looking for more vaccine doses to speed up its lagging vaccination drive. According to Nikkei, money was a big factor for developers wanting to make it on to the critical stage 3 trials. The funds could come through partnerships with big global partner but also from respective governments, according to the report.
18 vaccines were currently listed by the WHO as being in stage 3 trials, among them shots already in use, like the Johnson & Johnson vaccine, both Sinopharm varieties, the Russian Sputnik and the Indian Bharat Biotech vaccine. Also in the group were upcoming vaccines by U.S. company Novavax and German developer CureVac. Only five vaccines – the ones by AstraZeneca, Pfizer and Moderna as well as the Chinese products Sinovac and CanSino – have progressed to phase 4.
For the purpose of the chart, the country of the developer(s) was counted, while the country of clinical trial partners and biotechnology licensing partners was excluded. The EU und UK remain as one category. Despite Brexit, many collaborations in the biotechnology sectors persist between the trading bloc and its former member.