WHO: 70 coronavirus vaccines are in development globally

WHO: 70 coronavirus vaccines are in development globally
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Seventy potential coronavirus vaccines are currently in development worldwide, three of which are currently in human trials, according to the World Health Organization (WHO).

The furthest-along candidate, an experimental vaccine developed by the Beijing Institute of Biotechnology and the Hong Kong-listed CanSino Biologics, is currently in phase 2 trials, Bloomberg reported.

Two others are also currently being tested in human subjects. Those vaccines are being developed by U.S. drug manufacturers Inovio and Moderna, Bloomberg said, citing a WHO document.

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The urgency of the pandemic has the industry rushing to develop vaccinations, which are projected to be available next year at the earliest, significantly sooner than the 10 to 15 years the process of getting a new vaccine to market typically takes.

Moderna was approved by U.S. regulators in March to skip animal trials and proceed directly to humans, while larger companies such as Pfizer and Sanofi have candidates in earlier preclinical stages.

Other projections have been even more optimistic, with Oxford University vaccinology professor Sarah Gilbert telling the Times of London that in a best-case scenario her team could have a vaccine ready by fall 2020.

“I know quite a lot about the Oxford project, and it is really great to see some hope, especially on the front page of the newspapers,” British Health Secretary Matt Hancock told The Washington Post last week.

The U.S. military, meanwhile, has begun primate trials at Fort Detrick as of early April.

“I think it’s important for everyone to keep in mind that this is a process that is going as quickly as it can,” added Paul Friedrichs, an Air Force brigadier general who serves as Joint Staff surgeon, told reporters. “We’re balancing, again, that risk of how do we make sure any vaccine candidates are safe?”