Some of the biggest institutional investors of the world have come together, urging the all the global Pharmaceuticals and Biotechnology as well as of the United Kingdom to come together and develop a vaccine that could treat Covid-19.
This news comes as the Covid-19 pandemic still holds the world under its firm grip, with more than 2.8 million cases and approximately 197,703 deaths being reported at the time of writing. United Kingdom’s official stats, at the time of writing, were 143,464 number of cases, while 19,506 had reportedly lost their lives to the disease.
As these numbers are constantly rising, the UK government has stepped up its efforts to develop a vaccine. In a recent statement, Health Minister Matt Hancock had said they would conduct clinical trials of a new coronavirus vaccine in the UK; however, there are some questions that need to be addressed. Scientists at the University of Oxford have created the first coronavirus vaccine. The UK Health Minister has pledged £20 million of public money for the creation of dedicated vaccine programs. Imperial College London is yet another college which is making efforts to develop a Covid-19 vaccine. The University of Oxford team is working day and night to prepare at least one million doses by September even before the trial is complete. Moreover, the UK health ministry has also said it is investing in mass vaccine development. If the trials are good, then they can be briskly made available to the citizens. The primary reason behind the intensity of the search is that the planet needs a solution for suppressing the lethal virus. Lockdowns and social distancing are not feasible options, and governments are now facing public uproar in different parts of the world.
The Science behind the vaccine
Since the number of globally confirmed coronavirus cases has reached more than two million, the world is in desperate need of a cure. The idea of the newly formulated vaccine operates on the Antibody Detection principle, which aims to improve the body's immunity to combat the deadly virus. Through this plan, the United Kingdom will join the United States and China in carrying out human trails which are already in it. The researchers have observed the action of drugs that are already used to treat malaria, Ebola and HIV to see if they are successful in treating Covid-19. Several scientists have attempted to inject bioengineered antibodies or Y-shaped proteins by taking samples from patients, animals, and past viruses already healed, to see if the antibodies will combat the virus. Those clinical trials that will be provided with blood samples from recovered patients have been ordered by the Health officials in anticipation that transfusions will help save lives of people suffering from Covid-19. Such new vaccines will mirror the infection structure present in the body and cause the body's immune system to create antibodies to combat the virus.
Once the vaccine has cleared all phases of the clinical trials, it is expected that it will be commercially available as well. In the UK, volunteers are being offered £625 to engage in a pioneering study, with a goal of 500 to be enrolled by mid of next month. The time it will take to decide if the vaccine is successful and would be "heavily dependent" on how much virus transmission is initially concentrated on Oxford and Southampton trial areas in the population. If there is a very low transmission of the virus among the vaccinated volunteers, they will have to wait for a long time to get the accurate result. Therefore, among the focus groups, there would be the health care staff in hospitals, who are most likely to have been exposed to COVID-19.
Having a vaccine that works against COVID-19 is a battle against the clock because it is the only safe choice for governments to ease the extreme lockdown measures in place across the world to curb the pandemic's rapid spread.
Pharma companies urged to scale up efforts and collaborate
Amid this global crisis, various institutional Investors such as Blackrock, Fidelity Investments, Aviva etc. have been raising that voices that they want the biggest pharmaceutical companies to come together in terms of their research and development processes as well as in pooling their assets and resources to fast track the entire process of developing a vaccine and at the same time putting it under trial so that the world could get rid of this pandemic at the earliest. As per some media reports, separately another set of over four dozen investors are likely to mount their pressure on major pharmaceutical firms for their collaborative measures to fight the deadly virus.
Several pharmaceutical giants by themselves have already announced plans to join efforts, including Sanofi and GlaxoSmithKline who are now working together on a vaccine. Previously, the industry leaders had joined forces to create therapies, including on certain cancer medications, because they were unable to do so on their own.
UK’s testing efforts have been scaled up
The UK has done a commendable job in record time, building a network of medical laboratories. As per different reports. It is expected to be the biggest research facilities network in the aftermath of the novel coronavirus, which had been completed in record five weeks' time. Three new sites (Lighthouse Labs) were soon developed in Alderley Park (Cheshire), Glasgow and Milton Keynes to expand the number of testing facilities in the country, with each facility being able to test tens of thousands of patient samples daily. Every site began testing, and it took only 3 weeks to complete. Such modern test centres and they are staffed with highly trained staff, volunteers from around the world. Individuals work tirelessly to speed up the Covid-19 research cycle to benefit the National Health Service (NHS), government institutions, and healthcare industry.