Euro technology Here are the 5 coronavirus vaccine programs that the Trump administration is reportedly prioritizing

Euro technology Here are the 5 coronavirus vaccine programs that the Trump administration is reportedly prioritizing

Euro technology

  • The Trump administration has selected five top coronavirus vaccine programs, the New York Times reported Wednesday
  • In the race for an effective vaccine, there are more than 125 research efforts underway. The US has set an ambitious goal to have 300 million doses available by January 2021. 
  • The US has already committed billions to accelerate multiple vaccine programs.
  • These five finalists will gain access to even more government funding, as well as assistance in running clinical trials and scaling up manufacturing, the New York Times reported, citing anonymous senior administration officials.
  • The five vaccine programs are from Moderna, AstraZeneca, Pfizer, Merck, and Johnson & Johnson, the New York Times reported.
  • The Department of Health and Human Services did not confirm or deny the report. “We cannot comment on information that is market-moving,” an HHS spokesperson said.
  • Visit Business Insider’s homepage for more stories.

The Trump administration is whittling down a long list of potential coronavirus vaccines.

The US government has selected five companies as leading contenders to produce an effective vaccine, The New York Times’ Noah Weiland and David Sanger reported Wednesday

There are more than 130 potential coronavirus vaccines in development, with the vast majority yet to start human testing. Business Insider has identified at least 28 experimental vaccines that are expected to start clinical trials in 2020.

While the US government has already committed several billion dollars to accelerate vaccine efforts, this would narrow the focus down to a handful of candidates. The five selected programs are led by Moderna, AstraZeneca, Pfizer, Merck, and Johnson & Johnson, according to the New York Times. 

See also  National Security Council official set to testify in impeachment probe

The Department of Health and Human Services did not confirm or deny the report. “We cannot comment on information that is market-moving,” an HHS spokesperson said in response to questions about which candidates were selected and the rationale behind the decisions.

Read more: There are more than 25 coronavirus vaccines set to be tested in people this year. Here are the 10 leading vaccine candidates, and what to watch for in the rest of 2020.

Euro technology Moderna has outpaced Big Pharma rivals, leading the US race for a coronavirus vaccine

euro technology Moderna biotech lab

The biotech Moderna is developing experimental cancer vaccines.


Moderna’s vaccine was the first to produce early human results after starting an initial clinical trial on March 16. People given Moderna’s vaccine registered levels of antibodies that may suggest protection against the virus, but more testing will be needed.

Moderna has started dosing volunteers in a second trial, randomizing 600 people to receive either the vaccine or a placebo. The biotech is also planning to start in July a 30,000-person late-stage study.

The company is aiming to be ready this fall for potential emergency use of its vaccine. CEO Stephane Bancel said the US government would make distribution decisions, as available supply would likely be limited for 2020 and 2021.

Unlike the rest of the selected companies, Moderna is comparatively a small biotech startup. Founded in 2010, the Cambridge, Massachusetts company specializes in messenger RNA (mRNA), an unproven yet promising technology platform for therapeutics and vaccines. 

Read more: The untold story of Moderna as the biotech’s coronavirus vaccine faces a test that could make it one of the most consequential startups of all time

Euro technology AstraZeneca takes the lead on University of Oxford’s vaccine

The British pharma giant AstraZeneca teamed up on a vaccine candidate developed by the University of Oxford in April.

On May 21, the US Biomedical Advanced Research and Development Authority said it would provide up to $1.2 billion to accelerate the vaccine and ramp up production. The agency is aiming to be ready to start delivering doses in October. The money will help produce at least 300 million doses, BARDA stated.

Additionally, AstraZeneca CEO Pascal Soriot said the company plans to start a 30,000-person efficacy trial in the US in July. Initial human data from trials in the UK is expected within the next few weeks.

Read more: Chasing a virus, glass shortages, and cold storage: 4 top execs leading the coronavirus vaccine race reveal how they’re tackling the greatest challenges standing in their way

Euro technology Pfizer is pursuing an mRNA vaccine with a small German biotech

The $200 billion pharmaceutical company Pfizer is backing four mRNA vaccine candidates developed by a small German biotech called BioNTech.

The duo is testing the four vaccines in clinical trials in the US and Germany, with healthy volunteers now being dosed in both countries.

Mikael Dolsten, Pfizer’s chief scientific officer, told Business Insider in an interview the trial could allow for emergency use or accelerated approval this fall, depending on the situation.

Early study results could help prioritize the more promising vaccine candidates. The ongoing trial already has a placebo group and is designed to expand to include several thousand participants.

Pfizer is producing the vaccine at plants in Massachusetts, Michigan, Missouri, and Belgium. BioNTech is using two plants in Germany. They expect to have millions of doses available by October and as many as 20 million doses by the end of 2020.

Read more: A leading potential coronavirus vaccine just started human trials in the US. The top scientist at Pfizer told us it could be ready for emergency use this fall.

Euro technology Merck 

Merck has one of the largest vaccine business in the World and was able to successfully craft an Ebola vaccine that was approved in the US last December.

On May 26, Merck made public its coronavirus vaccine efforts, aiming to have two experimental vaccines start trials before year’s end. 

Merck is collaborating with the nonprofit IAVI to build off its success in Ebola, using the same platform that worked for the virus. BARDA is also providing funding to advance this vaccine candidate. If successful, Merck and IAVI said they will make it affordable and accessible globally.

Merck has also said it is buying Themis, a private biotech company working on vaccines. The company has specialized in using the measles virus to deliver vaccines. The virus acts as the delivery system to provide human cells with an antigen. Themis first licensed the technology in 2010 from the Pasteur Institute, a leading French nonprofit research group.  

Themis has been working alongside the Pasteur Institute and the University of Pittsburgh to craft a coronavirus vaccine candidate. The group has received funding from the Coalition for Epidemic Preparedness Innovations. 

Read more: Pharma giant Merck just jumped into the coronavirus race with 2 vaccine candidates slated to start human testing this year

Euro technology Johnson & Johnson aims to start human testing in September

The World’s largest healthcare company was also selected as one of the five finalists. 

In March, Johnson & Johnson selected a lead vaccine candidate and laid out the goal of producing 1 billion doses of it by the end of 2021. The company is expecting it could be ready for emergency use in early 2021, if needed. 

The pharma giant has been relatively quiet on its development efforts in the past two months, holding to the plan to start human trials in September. BARDA has committed $421 million to help J&J start building out its manufacturing capacity.

Read more: The top scientist at J&J told us how the $350 billion pharma giant will have a coronavirus vaccine ready at ‘warp speed’, then pump out 1 billion doses

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