Coronavirus Drug

Vaccine and Drug: Rally to approval for novel COVID-19

The outbreak of coronavirus disease or COVID-19 that was first reported from Wuhan, China, on 31 December 2019. Total cases reported for infection is at 142823 (includes death, confirmed case and suspected case) from China and countries outside China is at 2918 as of 26 February 2020 as WHO situation report.

nextstrain_ncov mapping
Trevor Bedford of Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center provides genomic epidemiology of novel coronavirus

At get the vaccine for coronavirus, it will at least take next 18 months to be available for the public. But there seem it few developments, biotech firm Moderna working on potential vaccine and trial is on the way from April. In a statement, Moderna said that the first batch of its novel coronavirus vaccine, called mRNA-1273, has been sent to the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases (NIAID). The vaccine works on the mRNA technology platform of Moderna.

Other firms like Gilead Sciences (GILD), Johnson & Johnson (JNJ), Sanofi, Regeneron, Novavax (NVAX) and GlaxoSmithKline (GLAXF) are also working on coronavirus vaccines.

Migal a research organization in Israel says in a few weeks, they will have the vaccine. The breakthrough came into notice while identifying vaccine against IBV (Infectious Bronchitis Virus), a disease affecting poultry. A sequential genetic adjustment in the vaccine can help to counter the COVID-19.

On the company press release, Dr Chen Katz, MIGAL’s Biotechnology Group Leader, commented, “The scientific framework for the vaccine is based on a new protein expression vector, which forms and secretes a chimeric soluble protein that delivers the viral antigen into mucosal tissues by self-activated endocytosis (a cellular process in which substances are brought into a cell by surrounding the material with cell membrane, forming a vesicle containing the ingested material), causing the body to form antibodies against the virus. In pre-clinical (IN-VIVO) trials, MIGAL’s researchers have demonstrated that the oral vaccination induces high levels of specific anti-IBV antibodies.”

Gilead Sciences is expanding the clinical trial of antiviral drug remdesivir. It is already being tested in Wuhan and results are soon expected. Preclinical on mice and monkeys are showing some promising results with few side effects. The drug is in the experimental stage, not yet approved.

Dr David Ho, director of the Aaron Diamond AIDS Research Center and professor of medicine at Columbia University is using his experience with HIV to treat and contain COVID-19. Meaning Coronavirus is like HIV has an RNA virus, made up of RNA. Therefore, change in polymerase and protease inhibitors or changing drug structure with different formula might be helpful.

Favilavir is the first approved by the National Medical Products Administration of China coronavirus drug in China. The trial is ongoing in Shenzhen, Guangdong province involving 70 patients.

Also, a combination of two HIV medications: lopinavir and ritonavir, brand-named Kaletra is under study to be used. Drug on ebola is another option to explore.

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