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Coronavirus outbreak: Vaccines/drugs in the pipeline for Covid-19

The Covid-19 outbreak emerging in Wuhan, China has claimed the lives of more than 1,300 people across the world and is fast emerging as a global epidemic. An effective cure in the form of a vaccine or drug is the need of the hour to stop the coronavirus from infecting more number of people.

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Pharmaceutical Technology lists the companies and government agencies that have partnered to develop coronavirus treatments.

GeoVax and BravoVax Covid-19 vaccine

GeoVax, a US-based pharmaceutical company, and BravoVax, a China-based pharmaceutical company, have announced plans to develop a coronavirus cure in the form of vaccine based on the former’s MVA-VLP vaccine platform.

BravoVax will be responsible for testing and manufacturing the vaccine as well as co-ordinating with the public health and regulatory authorities in China.

GeoVax’s Modified Vaccinia Ankara platform enables enhanced expression and stable transgenes during the manufacturing process. Combined with immunogenicity of Virus Like Particles (VLPs), the technology enables the production of vaccines that provide full protection in a single dose.

iBio and CC-Pharming

iBio and CC-Pharming have formed a partnership to develop a plant-derived coronavirus vaccine based on the former’s FastPharming System, which has been previously used for producing antibody candidates for Ebola and Dengue fever viruses.

FastPharming System was developed using funding from the US Department of Defense’s DARPA.

Takis and Evvivax partnership for coronavirus cure

Rome-based biotech companies, Takis and Evvivax have announced their plans to develop a vaccine against Covid-19. The companies will use genetic vaccination technologies that are capable of generating several antibodies to neutralise viruses and stronger immune response.

Coalition for Epidemic Preparedness Innovations (CEPI) and GSK

The Coalition for Epidemic Preparedness Innovations (CEPI) and GSK announced a collaboration on the development of a new vaccine for Covid-19 treatment. GSK will use its pandemic vaccine adjuvant platform technology to develop the vaccine.

The technology enables the rapid development of a vaccine by adding an adjuvant to existing vaccines to boost the immune response. Use of adjuvants also reduces the amount of antigen required per dose while providing better immunity against infections.

CEPI and University of Queensland

CEPI has requested the University of Queensland to fast track the development of a vaccine using its rapid response technology called Molecular Clamp. The new technology provides stability to the viral protein responsible for generating immune defence. It can deliver a vaccine in less than six months and has shown promising results against influenza, Ebola, Nipah and MERS coronavirus.

CEPI, Moderna and National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases

Moderna is developing an mRNA vaccine as a treatment for 2019-nCoV, under a programme funded by CEPI. The Vaccine Research Center (VRC), a part of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases (NIAID), will collaborate with the development of the vaccine. The NIAID will be responsible for carrying out IND-enabling studies as well as a phase one clinical study in the US.

CEPI and CureVac

CureVac has received an initial funding of $8.3m from CEPI to accelerate the development of a vaccine against nCoV-2019. The company will leverage its technology and mRNA platform to develop the new vaccine and begin testing within the next few months.

Regeneron Pharmaceuticals and U.S. Department of Health and Human Services

Regeneron Pharmaceuticals signed an agreement with the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) to develop new coronavirus drugs. The company will utilise its VelociSuite® technologies comprising of the VelocImmune® platform that uses a genetically-engineered mouse with a humanised immune system. The platform can be used to quickly identify, validate, and development antibody candidates.