These past few weeks, more and more companies are stepping up and using their resources to create the much-needed vaccine to help fight COVID-19. Even cosmetic companies are making hand sanitizers and fashion designers are making protective masks for front liners.
But the companies that the public is waiting to hear from are those from the pharmaceutical industry who have brilliant minds who can work on ways to stop the spread of the coronavirus. Just recently, Johnson & Johnson has announced that they are starting to research and develop a possible vaccine.
Johnson & Johnson coronavirus vaccine
On March 30, Johnson & Johnson did a press release and they stated that they are working with the Biomedical Advanced Research and Development Authority or BARDA to create a vaccine for COVID-19 since the virus sequence became available. They also stated that they will begin to test the lead vaccine candidate on people in clinical studies by September and if the data shows that it is safe and efficient by the end of 2020, it could become available to the public in less than a year.
The statement from Johnson & Johnson reads, "The company expects to initiate human clinical studies of its lead vaccine candidate at the latest by September 2020 and anticipates the first batches of a COVID-19 vaccine could be available for emergency use authorization in early 2021, a substantially accelerated timeframe in comparison to the typical vaccine development process."
According to their statement, the development process of the vaccine can last five to seven years before it can be considered for approval. The company is also currently working on making sure that the vaccine will be available worldwide. They are expanding their manufacturing capacity in the U.S and other countries.
The statement reads: "The additional capacity will assist in the rapid production of a vaccine and will enable the supply of more than one billion doses of a safe and effective vaccine globally." The company plans to begin production at risk imminently and is committed to bringing an affordable vaccine to the public on a not-for-profit basis for emergency pandemic use.
Aside from the vaccine, the company also shared that they will be committing another $50 million for immediate coronavirus response for the health care workers. This is following their announcement in January that they committed to $250 million to support the front liners.
Other companies working on coronavirus vaccine
On March 17, Pfizer Inc. announced that they are going to develop and distribute BioNTech SE's coronavirus vaccine candidate, but the deal excludes China. BioNTech plans to put their vaccine candidate into clinical trials in April. The clinical trials will be done in the U.S and Germany. They are testing the vaccine and they are collaborating with the Shanghai Fosun Pharmaceutical Group Co. Ltd. in China. This is not the first time that BioNTech and Pfizer have partnered up, they also teamed up in developing mRNA-based influenza vaccines.
Another company that pledged to develop a vaccine for COVID-19 is Heat Biologics. They have announced that they are creating a vaccine with the University of Miami Miller School of Medicine. On March 17, they disclosed in a financial filing that their coronavirus vaccine candidate has been forwarded to the World Health Organization's list of 41 candidate vaccines. Heat Biologics also joined the Alliance for Biosecurity, and the partnership could help them secure government funding to support the development, production, and distribution of the vaccine.