More than 70 vaccines from around the world are being developed to fight the coronavirus outbreak, with three promising vaccines already in the clinical trial stage.

According to the World Health Organisation’s (WHO) recently published list of vaccines, released on April 11, a number of companies across the world are trying their best to develop a vaccine that will put an end to the coronavirus.

Vaccine development is a costly process that requires millions of Rands and years of testing to determine if a newly developed vaccine is safe and effective. Coronavirus is the third outbreak of the 21st century, behind SARS and MERS which still don’t have approved vaccines.

The scale of the coronavirus infection is reaching new heights. Over 1.9-million people are infected and more than 110 000 have died across the globe.

Current research efforts involve everyone from large pharmaceutical companies to small biotech companies and academic centres.

A Chinese biotech company, by the name of CanSino, has already reached the second phase of human trials for its vaccine. Hot on their heels, US-based biotech startups Inovio Pharmaceuticals and Moderna have both started human testing as well. Other companies like Johnson & Johnson are also trying to develop a vaccine.

Industry experts are saying it could take as long as a year and a half before a vaccine is readily available and this time frame is already pushing it.

Vaccine testing phases usually involve lab tests, followed by animal tests, then small groups of human tests followed by larger groups. If any of these steps are skipped along the way the results could be devastating, even leading to a vaccine weakening the immune system of infected patients.

With companies across the world hurrying to have a vaccine ready, experts are concerned that corners may be cut, leading to unfavourable outcomes.

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