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Coronavirus vaccine: 70 in development, two in Spain

The World Health Organization says 70 vaccines against the coronavirus are currently in the works, with three now being tested on humans.

Un grupo de científicos italianos trabajando en un laboratorio.
Franco OrigliaGetty Images

The race against the clock to come up with a vaccine against the coronavirus continues across the globe, with the World Health Organization (WHO) revealing that, at present, there are 70 in development.

Three coronavirus vaccines being trialled on humans

Three of these are at a more advanced stage and have begun trials on humans. The project at Hong Kong-based CanSino Biologics Inc and the Beijing Institute of Biotechnology is the furthest along, as it is the only potential vaccine that is now in phase two out of three of the clinical development process.

The other two vaccines, which are being created by the United States companies Inovio Pharmaceuticals and Moderna, the latter in conjunction with the country's National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, are both in phase one.

Two vaccines being developed in Spain

Among the 67 WHO-recognised projects that remain at the pre-clinical evaluation stage, there are two in Spain, both at its National Centre for Biotechnology.

One is being led by the scientists Isabel Sola and Luis Enjuanes, who are using a process of reverse genetics to create a replica of SARS-Cov-2, allowing them to manipulate its genome and remove the virulent aspects that cause the disease.

The other, conducted by Mariano Esteban, is attempting to create a variant on the vaccine used to eradicate smallpox.

In total, vaccine studies are underway in 20 countries worldwide:

  • Sweden
  • Denmark
  • Italy
  • United Kingdom
  • Belgium
  • Romania
  • Germany
  • France
  • Russia
  • Netherlands
  • Switzerland
  • Spain
  • United States (with 18 projects, it is the most active country)
  • China
  • Japan
  • India
  • Canada
  • Australia
  • Thailand
  • Israel

12 to 18 months to complete development phases

Despite the widespread, urgent efforts being made to find a coronavirus vaccine, however, it is a process that will require patience. It is estimated that it will take between 12 and 18 months to complete each of the required phases of development, albeit many developers are working hard to reduce this timeframe.

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