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Hunt for a Vaccine : Too many candidates on the highway

When will Covid-19 vaccine be ready for distribution?

Currently, there are 137 Covid-19 vaccines under various stages of development. While 49 are in clinical trials on humans, 88 are in pre-clinical stage under test on animals. According to various reports, 35 vaccines in Phase-I are tested for ascertaining safety and dosage, 14 are at Phase-II and 11 are at Phase-III undergoing efficacy tests.

The World Health Organization (WHO) said that it did not yet know exactly when a safe and effective COVID-19 vaccine would be ready for distribution, nonetheless WHO estimated that it could be ready by early or mid-2021. Before COVID-19 vaccines could be delivered, several important challenges are to be met. The vaccines must be proven safe and effective in large (Phase III) clinical trials. WHO expects some of the large clinical trials to report results in the late 2020 or early 2021.

COVID-19 Vaccine

It requires a series of independent reviews of the efficacy and safety evidence, including regulatory review and approval in the country where the vaccine is manufactured, before WHO considers a product for prequalification. Part of this process also involves the Global Advisory Committee on Vaccine Safety. An external panel of experts convened by WHO, called SAGE, will analyze the results from clinical trials and along with evidence on the disease, age groups affected risk factors for disease and other information, they will recommend whether and how the vaccines should be used. Officials in individual countries will decide whether to approve the vaccines for national use and develop policies for how to use the vaccines in their country based on the WHO recommendations.

The vaccines must be manufactured in large quantities, which will be a major and unprecedented challenge–all the while continuing to produce all the other important life-saving vaccines already in use. As a final step, vaccines will be distributed through a complex logistical process, with rigorous stock management and temperature control, WHO has stated.



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