Drugmakers Look for New Ways to Test Covid-19 Vaccines

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Written by SciTechNerds

February 11, 2021

As more Covid-19 vaccines become accessible within the U.S., it’s getting harder to run large medical trials to test a new vaccine’s ability to prevent disease because people are less willing to take a placebo—forcing drug makers and researchers to search for workarounds as they vet the next generation of shots and test new uses for authorized ones.

One potential workaround can be to find out what degree of immune response a vaccine has to trigger to guard individuals from the coronavirus, as measured in blood samples, and to make use of that info to create smaller, quicker and less-expensive clinical trials.

As an alternative of requiring tens of 1000’s of volunteers and costing several hundred million {dollars}, such trials could involve only hundreds of individuals at a fraction of the price. They could possibly be used to speed the availability of latest vaccines targeting emerging variants.

Moderna Inc., Pfizer and its associate BioNTech SE , and a federally funded network of researchers are conducting analyses to study what immune response is necessary for protection with current vaccines, known as an immune correlate of protection. They are saying it might come in handy for brand new research of already-authorized vaccines—such as testing the shots in youngsters or whether or not lowered doses are efficient—in addition to for trials of the subsequent generation of shots, together with these focusing on new coronavirus strains. Over time, such information might additionally help decide how long protection from the vaccines lasts.

One other workaround is to run future large efficacy trials outside the U.S., in locations where viral transmission is high and vaccine availability is more limited. Arcturus Therapeutics Holdings Inc. , whose Covid-19 vaccine is in mid-stage testing, might run a large Phase three trial of its experimental shot outside the U.S. due to the diminishing feasibility of working it within the U.S., Chief Government Joseph Payne mentioned in an interview. The corporate hasn’t disclosed which nation or international locations.

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