Coronavirus treatment: Vaccines/drugs in the pipeline for Covid-19
By Praveen Duddu@clinicaltrialsarena
mysterious coronavirus outbreak in the Chinese city
Wuhan, now termed as Covid-19, and its fast spread to many other countries,
endangers thousands of lives. The pandemic has catalysed the development of
novel coronavirus vaccines across the biotech industry, both by pharmaceutical
companies and research organisations such as the National Institutes of Health
first Covid-19 vaccine in China is expected to be ready for clinical trials by
the end of April, according to Xu Nanping, China’s vice-minister of science and
technology. Inovio Pharmaceuticals plans to begin clinical trials on a
coronavirus vaccine in April this year.
officials from WHO have noted that Gilead’s remdesivir has demonstrated
efficacy in treating the coronavirus infection.
the first approved coronavirus drug in China
National Medical Products Administration of China has approved the use of
Favilavir, an anti-viral drug, as a treatment for coronavirus. The drug has
reportedly shown efficacy in treating the disease with minimal side effects in
a clinical trial involving 70 patients. The clinical trial is being conducted
in Shenzhen, Guangdong province.
companies involved in developing coronavirus drugs/vaccines
is a list of the major coronavirus drugs that pharmaceutical companies across
the world are developing that have the potential to become major coronavirus
vaccines or antivirals for treating the contagious coronavirus infection.
below are the coronavirus vaccines in various stages of development, across the
is developing drug candidates against COVID-19 after having produced Virus-Like
Particles (VLP) of the coronavirus. The company has formed a collaboration with
the Laval University’s Infectious Disease Research Centre to develop antibodies
company’s research activities are being partly funded by the Canadian
Institutes for Health Research (CIHR).
by Airway Therapeutics
Therapeutics is exploring its novel human recombinant protein named AT-100
(rhSP-D) as a treatment for coronavirus. The company has announced a filing
with the Respiratory Diseases Branch of the National Institutes of Health to
evaluate the drug.
has shown efficacy in preclinical studies in reducing inflammation and
infection in the lungs, while also generating an immune response against
various respiratory diseases.
by Tiziana Life Sciences
Life Sciences is developing its monoclonal antibody named TZLS-501 for the treatment
of COVID-19. TZLS-501 is a human anti-interleukin-6 receptor (IL-6R), which
helps in preventing lung damage and elevated levels of IL-6.
drug works by binding to IL-6R and depleting the amount of IL-6 circulating in
the body thereby reducing chronic lung inflammation.
OYA1 has shown strong antiviral efficacy against coronavirus in laboratory
essays. It was found to be more effective than chlorpromazine HCl in inhibiting
SARS-CoV-2 from replicating in cell culture.
was earlier approved as an investigational new drug for treating cancer but
abandoned due to lack of efficacy. OyaGen plans to conduct further research on
the drug to determine the efficacy in treating coronavirus.
BPI-002 is a small molecule agent indicated for treating various infections
including COVID-19. It has the ability to activate CD4+ helper T cells and CD8+
cytotoxic T cells and generating an immune response in the body.
combined with another COVID-19 vaccine, the drug has the ability to generate
long-term protection against viral infections. BeyondSpring has filed US patent
protection for the drug for treating viral infections.
intranasal coronavirus vaccine
intranasal Covid-19 vaccine is being developed by US-based clinical-stage
biopharmaceutical company, Altimmune.
and synthesis of the single-dose vaccine have been completed, while animal
testing will follow.
coronavirus vaccine is being developed based on a vaccine technology platform
that is similar to NasoVAX, an influenza vaccine developed by Altimmune.
by Inovio Pharmaceuticals and Beijing Advaccine Biotechnology
Pharmaceuticals has collaborated with Beijing Advaccine Biotechnology Company
to advance the development of the former’s vaccine, INO-4800, as a novel
coronavirus vaccine. The company has started pre-clinical testing for clinical
vaccine development is supported by a $9m grant from the Coalition for Epidemic
Preparedness Innovations (CEPI).
announced an accelerated timeline for the development of the vaccine on 03
March. Preclinical trials are ongoing and the design for human clinical trials
have been completed. The company has also prepared 3,000 doses for human
clinical trials planned to be conducted across the US, China, and South
Korea. Plans for large-scale manufacturing have also been developed.
clinical trials in 30 healthy volunteers are expected to commence in April 2020
in the US, followed by China, and South Korea. A phase one clinical trial is
planned to be conducted in parallel in China, by Beijing Advaccine. Results
from the clinical trials are expected to be available in September 2020.
aims to produce one million doses of the vaccine by the end of 2020 to perform
additional clinical trials or emergency use.
(Ifenprodil) by Algernon Pharmaceuticals
Pharmaceuticals has announced that it is exploring its NP-120 (Ifenprodil) as a
potential treatment Covid-19. Ifenprodil is an N-methyl-d-aspartate (NDMA)
receptor glutamate receptor antagonist sold under the brand name Cerocal. It
has demonstrated efficacy in improving survivability in mice infected with
by University of British Columbia and APEIRON Biologics
candidate developed by APEIRON Biologics named APN01 is being tested in China
in a phase one pilot trial as a treatment for Covid-19. APN01 is based on
research conducted by a professor at the University of British Columbia for
treating SARS. The research revealed that the ACE2 protein was the main
receptor for the SARS virus.
clinical trial will test the drug’s efficacy in reducing the viral load in
patients. Data from the trial will be used to determine if additional clinical
trials are required to be conducted in larger number of patients.
vaccine by Moderna and Vaccine Research Center
and the Vaccine Research Center, a unit of the National Institute of Allergy
and Infectious Diseases (NIAID), have collaborated to develop a vaccine for
coronavirus. The vaccine targets the Spike (S) protein of the coronavirus.
first vials of the vaccine have been manufactured at Moderna’s Massachusetts
manufacturing plant and shipped to NIAID for phase one clinical trial, which is
scheduled to start in April.
Coronavirus Infectious Bronchitis Virus (IBV) vaccine by MIGAL Research
MIGAL Research Institute in Israel announced that an Infectious Bronchitis
Virus (IBV) vaccine developed to treat avian coronavirus has been modified to
treat Covid-19. The vaccine has demonstrated efficacy in pre-clinical trials
conducted by the Volcani Institute.
IBV vaccine was developed after four years of research and has high genetic
similarity to the human coronavirus. The institute has genetically modified the
vaccine to treat Covid-19 and will be available in the oral form.
institute is currently exploring potential partners for producing the vaccine
in the next eight to ten weeks and obtaining the necessary safety approvals for
by Tonix Pharmaceuticals
Pharmaceuticals has partnered with Southern Research, a non-profit research
organisation, to develop a coronavirus vaccine named TNX-1800. The
vaccine is a modified horsepox virus developed using Tonix’s proprietary
horsepox vaccine platform.
is designed to express a protein derived from the virus that causes the
coronavirus infection. Southern Research will be responsible for evaluating the
efficacy of the vaccine, under the partnership.
by Innovation Pharmaceuticals
Pharmaceuticals announced that it is evaluating Brilacidin, a defensin mimetic
drug candidate, as a potential treatment for coronavirus. Brilacidin has shown
antibacterial, anti-inflammatory and immunomodulatory properties in several
company is planning to explore research collaborations and seek federal grants
to develop the coronavirus drug. It is already investigating the drug for
inflammatory bowel disease and oral mucositis in cancer patients.
has signed two material transfer agreements with a university in the US and 12
biocontainment labs in the US for evaluation of Brilacidin as a treatment for
Covid-19. One of the biocontainment labs is scheduled to commence testing of
the drug in the third week of March.
subunit vaccine by Clover Biopharmaceuticals
Biopharmaceuticals is developing a recombinant subunit vaccine using its
patented Trimer-Tag© technology. The company is developing the
vaccine based on the trimeric S protein (S-Trimer) of the Covid-19 coronavirus,
which is responsible for binding with the host cell and causing a viral
Trimer-Tag© technology, Clover successfully produced the
subunit vaccine in a mammalian cell-culture based expression system on 10
February. The company also identified antigen-specific antibody in the serum of
fully recovered patients who were previously infected by the virus.
highly purified form of the S-Trimer vaccine is expected to be available in six
to eight weeks for performing pre-clinical studies. The company is equipped
with in-house cGMP biomanufacturing capabilities to scale-up production if the
vaccine is proven to be successful.
is also collaborating with GSK to develop a vaccine using the latter’s pandemic
is developing an oral recombinant vaccine in tablet formulation using its
proprietary oral vaccine platform, VAAST.
plans to develop vaccines based on the published genome of 2019-nCOV to be
tested in pre-clinical models for mucosal and systemic immune responses.
is examining leronlimab (PRO 140), a CCR5 antagonist, as a potential coronavirus
drug is already being investigated in phase two clinical trials as a treatment
for HIV and has been awarded fast-track approval status by the United States
Food and Drug Administration.
DNA Vaccine by Applied DNA Sciences and Takis Biotech
DNA Sciences’ subsidiary LineaRx and Takis Biotech formed a joint venture on 07
February to develop a linear DNA vaccine as a treatment for coronavirus. The JV
will use Polymerase Chain Reaction (PCR)-based DNA manufacturing technology to develop
PCR technology offers several advantages including high purity, increased
production speed, and absence of antibiotics and bacterial contaminants.
Further, the vaccine gene developed through this technology can be effective
without being inserted into the patient’s genome.
design for four DNA vaccine candidates is expected to be produced using the PCR
technology for carrying out animal testing. The design of one of the vaccine
candidates is based on the entire spike gene of the coronavirus, while the
remaining are designed based on the antigenic portions of the protein.
by BIOXYTRAN to treat late-stage acute respiratory distress syndrome (ARDS)
announced that it is exploring partners to develop its lead drug candidate,
BX-25, as a treatment for Acute Respiratory Distress Syndrome (ARDS) in
late-stage patients infected with the coronavirus. The diffusion of oxygen to
the blood is comprised in patients suffering from ARDS leading to fluid
build-up in the lungs.
is designed to be 5,000 times smaller than blood cells and efficiently
transport oxygen through the body for a period of nine hours before being
processed by the liver. The drug can help in supplying oxygen to the vital
organs and enable the patient to recover and survive.
CoV vaccines for coronavirus
MERS coronavirus vaccine candidate
developed a novel Middle East Respiratory Syndrome (MERS) coronavirus vaccine
candidate in 2013, post the identification of the first MERS coronavirus
((MERS-CoV) in Saudi Arabia in 2012. It is a crucial target for coronavirus
vaccine development by the Coalition for Epidemic Preparedness Innovations
(CEPI) and is a priority disease for the World Health Organisation (WHO).
candidate is designed to primarily bind to the major surface S-protein and
developed using the company’s recombinant nanoparticle vaccine technology.
Tested along with the Novavax’s proprietary adjuvant Matrix-M™, it
inhibited infection by inducing immune responses in the laboratory studies.
has received $4m in funding from CEPI to advance the development of the vaccine.
The company has produced several nanoparticle vaccine candidates for
testing in animal models and aims to carry out human trials in 2020.
MERS coronavirus is related to the severe acute respiratory syndrome (SARS)
coronavirus, for which the company had previously developed a recombinant
nanoparticle vaccine candidate.
investigational DNA immunotherapy, INO-4700 (GLS-5300) is being developed by
Inovio in partnership with GeneOne Life Science. It is delivered as vaccine
intramuscularly, using the Cellectra® delivery device.
company has received a $5m grant from the Bill and Mellinda Gates foundation to
accelerate the development of the Cellectra® delivery device.
vaccine was well-tolerated and demonstrated high immune responses against the
MERS-CoV in 94% of patients in the early-stage clinical trial in July 2019.
also generated broad-based T cell responses in 88% of the subjects.
“Research organisations such as the National Institutes of
Health (NIH), US are also developing a vaccine for the coronavirus.”
novel coronavirus drugs in various stages of development globally are listed
(GS-5734) by Gilead Sciences
ebola drug developed by Gilead Sciences that was found to be ineffective is now
being tested in two phase III randomised clinical trials in Asian countries.
trials are being performed on 761 patients in a randomised, placebo-controlled,
double-blind study at multiple hospitals in Wuhan, the epicentre of the novel coronavirus
outbreak. The results from the trials are expected to be available over the
next few weeks.
to a report by The New England Journal of Medicine (NEJM), remdesivir, when
administered to a coronavirus patient in the US, appeared to have improved the
University of Nebraska Medical Center is also carrying out clinical trials to
test the safety and efficacy of the drug. The first patient to be administered
the drug is an evacuee from the Diamond Princess cruise ship.
by Roche to treat coronavirus-related complications
approved the use of Roche’s Actemra for the treatment of severe complications
related to coronavirus. Drugs like Actemra have the ability to
prevent cytokine storms or overreaction of the immune system, which is
considered as the main reason behind organ failure leading to death in some
is also being evaluated in a clinical trial in China, which is expected to
enroll 188 coronavirus patients. The clinical trial is expected to be conducted
until May 10.
Pharma’s Galidesivir, a potential antiviral for coronavirus treatment
antiviral drug Galidesivir (BCX4430) has shown broad-spectrum activity against
a wide range of pathogens including coronavirus. It is a nucleoside RNA
polymerase inhibitor that disrupts the process of viral replication.
drug has already shown survival benefits in patients against deadly viruses
such as Ebola, Zika, Marburg, and Yellow fever.
is currently in advanced development stage under the Animal Rule to combat
multiple potential viral threats including coronaviruses, flaviviruses
filoviruses, paramyxoviruses, togaviruses, bunyaviruses, and arenaviruses.
REGN3048-3051 and Kevzara
by Regeneron, the combination of neutralising monoclonal antibodies REGN3048
and REGN3051 is being studied against coronavirus infection in a first-in-human
clinical trial sponsored by the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious
Diseases (NIAID). The safety and tolerability of the drug will be studied in 48
the antibodies bind to S-protein of MERS coronavirus. The intravenous
administration of the drug in the mouse model of MERS resulted in the
high-level neutralisation of the MERS coronavirus in circulating blood with
reduced viral loads in the lungs.
has partnered with Sanofi to evaluated Kevzara, a fully-human monoclonal
antibody, in a phase two/three clinical trial in patients with severe COVID-19 infection.
Kevzara is approved for the treatment of rheumatoid arthritis and is known to
block the interleukin-6 (IL-6) pathway, which causes an overactive inflammatory
response in the lungs of Covid-19 patients.
companies developing coronavirus vaccines/drugs
such as Inovio Pharmaceuticals, Moderna, and Novavax have been reported to be
developing coronavirus vaccines. A total of 30 therapies are planned to be
tested, including few traditional medicines for coronavirus
treatment by Chinese scientists. Chloroquine phosphate has shown efficacy in
treating symptoms of the disease, among the 30 therapies. Patients administered
with the drug achieved a better drop in fever and shorter recovery time in
clinical trials being conducted in hospitals in the Guangdong province and
Oncology has launched an AI Platform for the discovery and development of
vaccines against coronavirus. The company has signed an agreement with
InventaBioTech to acquire Soluble Therapeutics, which provides it with access
to the HSCTM Technology.
will use the HSCTM Technology along with its predictive
modeling platform to deploy an AI discovery platform that can screen the ideal
combination of additives and excipients for protein formulations.
BioSolutions is developing two plasma-derived product candidates or
hyperimmunes using its hyperimmune platforms for the treatment of coronavirus.
The hyperimmune platforms have been used previously for the development of
several approved products including vaccines for smallpox, botulism, and
hyperimmunes are polyclonal antibodies derived from plasma, which are capable
of generating an immune response and protecting against infection. Product
candidate derived from human plasma is named COVID-HIG, while COVID-EIG is
derived from equine plasma. Both will be explored for the treatment of patients
with a severe case of infection.
Molecular has launched a vaccine programme using its two technology platforms
including Shotgun Mutagenesis Epitope Mapping and the Membrane
Proteome Array. The technologies will help in understanding the human immune
response to the coronavirus and isolate the cellular receptors that enable the
virus to spread quickly.
Shotgun technology helps in identifying more than 1,000 binding sites for
antibodies, while the Membrane Proteome Array technology is capable of
identifying the receptors through which viruses infect cells.
is developing immunotherapy against Covid-19 using its proprietary LEAPS
peptide technology, which utilises conserved areas of the coronavirus proteins
to generate T-cell responses and reduce viral load. The technology can also be
used to develop immunotherapeutic peptides with both antiviral and
peptides developed using this technology can help in reducing tissue damage
from inflammation caused due to lung infection, which is a major cause of
mortality in elderly patients.
Vaccines has launched the development of a vaccine against Covid-19. The
company will use the latest technology to develop antigens that can mimic the
native structures of the virus. The vaccine will be capable of inducing a
strong immune response in the body thereby protecting against the infection.
Pharmaceutical Company has announced plans to develop a plasma-derived therapy
against coronavirus. The anti-SARS-CoV-2 polyclonal hyperimmune globulin (H-IG)
therapy will be designed to treat high-risk patients. The H-IG therapy includes
concentrated pathogen-specific antibodies derived from plasma of recovered
patients. These antibodies have the potential to generate an immune response
when injected into a new patient.
Biologics has announced plans to develop a vaccine to treat or prevent
coronavirus infection using its proprietary gp96 vaccine platform. The
technology is capable of reprogramming live cells to produce antigens that can
bind to the gp96 protein and generate an immune response against those
announced that it has identified certain under development antiviral compounds
that may be effective in treating coronavirus. The company is planning to
partner with a third party to screen and identify potential compounds by the
end of March and begin testing in April.
Therapeutics has launched an antiviral response programme to develop
coronavirus treatments using its therapeutic and artificial intelligence (AI)
platforms. It has also established a division, which will adopt a multi-modal
approach to developing Covid-19 treatments as well as other future zootonic
Kong University of Science and Technology
Hong Kong University of Science and Technology has identified several vaccine
targets, which can be developed as a treatment for coronavirus. Researchers at
the university have identified B-cell and T-cell epitopes, which are capable of
generating an immune response against the SARS virus and a similar response
against the coronavirus.
of the epitopes identified may be capable of generating an immune response
specifically against Covid-19.
has announced that it is developing a COVID-19 vaccine following a contract from
a Chinese consortium comprising of China Technology Exchange, Beijing Zhonghua
Investment Fund Management, Biology Institute of Shandong Academy of Sciences
and Sinotek-Advocates International Industry Development.
company will utilise its Ii-Key immune system activation technology to produce
a Covid-19 peptide for human clinical trials.
will receive an upfront payment of $1m to commence the groundwork for the
vaccine development and $5m licensing fee for its Ii-Key technology. It is also
eligible to receive a 20% royalty on every dose of vaccine produced under the
drugs by Columbia University
at Columbia University have been awarded a $2.1m grant by the Jack Ma
Foundation to develop a coronavirus cure. Four different teams at the
university will adopt various approaches towards the development of a vaccine
by Tulane University
University has launched a research programme to identify a potential medicine
for coronavirus in the form of a vaccine. The university will utilise a grant
from the Brown Foundation to carry out the research activities.
vaccine by ImmunoPrecise Antibodies
Antibodies has launched a vaccine and therapeutic antibody programme to develop
a vaccine as well as antibodies against Covid-19. The company will use its B
Cell Select™ and DeepDisplay™ discovery platforms to therapeutic compounds
against the coronavirus.
company has updated its research efforts and noted that it will be using the
PolyTope mAb TherapyTM and EVQLV’s artificial intelligence
platforms develop a COVID-19 therapy.
Institute of India
Institute of India (SII) is collaborating with Codagenix, a US-based
biopharmaceutical company, to develop a coronavirus cure using a vaccine strain
similar to the original virus. The vaccine is currently in the pre-clinical
testing phase, while human trials are expected to commence in the next six
months. SII is expected to launch the vaccine in the market by early 2022.
Research Institute is using its virtual screening called Rhodium to identify
potential drug candidates for treating coronavirus from more than two million
drug compounds. The most promising compounds will be identified for further
Cadila announced the launch of an accelerated research programme to develop a
vaccine for Covid-19 using two novel approaches. The first approach includes
the development of a DNA vaccine against the viral membrane protein of the
virus, while a live attenuated recombinant measles virus (rMV) vectored vaccine
will be developed in the second approach. The rMV-based vaccine works by
inducing specific neutralising antibodies, which will provide protection from
the coronavirus infection.
a clinical-stage company, is working on developing a treatment for nCoV-2019
using its nanoviricide® technology. The company’s technology is
used to develop ligands that can bind to the virus in the same way as a cognate
receptor and attack various points of the virus.
Biotechnology, a clinical-stage immunology company, announced on 12 February
that it has identified two monoclonal antibodies that can bind to the virus
that causes Covid-19. The antibodies target the spike (S) protein of the virus
by entering through the cellular receptor ACE2.
company has formed a partnership with WuXi Biologics on 25 February to
commercialise the antibodies identified to treat coronavirus. If approved, Wuxi
will have the rights to market the therapies in China, while Vir will retain
the marketing rights in other countries.
has also partnered with Alnylam Pharmaceuticals to identify siRNA candidates
targeting SARS-CoV-2. It has formed another partnership with Biogen for cell
line and process development and manufacturing of the antibodies.
drugs for coronavirus treatment
HIV protease inhibitor, lopinavir is being studied along with ritonavir for the
treatment of MERS and SARS coronaviruses. The repurposed drug is already
approved for the treatment of HIV infection under the trade name Kaletra®.
combination is listed in the WHO list of essential medicines. Lopinavir is
believed to act on the intracellular processes of coronavirus replication and
demonstrated reduced mortality in the non-human primates (NHP) model of the
in combination with ribavirin showed reduced fatality rate and milder disease
course during an open clinical trial in patients in the 2003 SARS outbreak.
is also reportedly planning to repurpose its HIV drug LOPIMUNE, which is a
combination of protease inhibitors Lopinavir and Ritonavir, for the treatment
licensed generic of Kaletra®, LOPIMUNE is currently available in
packs of 60 tablets each, containing 200mg of Lopinavir and 50mg of Ritonavir.
Pharmaceutical Companies, a subsidiary of Johnson & Johnson, donated its
PREZCOBIX® HIV medication (darunavir/cobicistat) for use in
research activities aimed at finding a treatment for Covid-19.
is a protease inhibitor marketed by Janssen. Anecdotal reports suggest
darunavir as potentially having antiviral activity against Covid-19. It is,
however, currently approved only for use with a boosting agent, and in
combination with other antiretrovirals, for the treatment of HIV-1.
has no in vitro or clinical data to support the use of darunavir as a treatment
for Covid-19. The drug is in the process of being evaluated in vitro for
any potential activity against the coronavirus.
Janssen has partnered with the Biomedical Advanced Research and Development
Authority (BARDA) to expedite the development of a Covid-19 treatment.
contagious coronavirus outbreak at the end of 2019, which the WHO named as
Covid-19 (formerly 2019-nCoV), led to a medical emergency across the world.
infections are caused by human alpha and beta coronaviruses such as 229E, NL63,
OC43 and HKU1.