A potential DNA vaccine for COVID-19 that is backed by the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation is about to enter its first round of human testing this week in the U.S.
The trial vaccine has been developed by Inovio Pharmaceuticals and the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) reportedly accepted the Phase 1 testing of ‘INO-4800’ as part of its Investigational New Drug program.
According to Inovio Pharmaceuticals, 40 healthy human volunteers will be participate in the trial across two separate locations. Pre-clinical studies on animals have reportedly shown “promising immune responses.”
Rapid advancement of INO-4800, including the development of thousands of doses within 10 weeks of funding, has been made possible due to The Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, as well as other organisation and not-for-profits.
“This development is an important step forward in the world’s search for a COVID-19 vaccine. INOVIO’s DNA vaccine platform was one of the first technologies selected by CEPI to develop a vaccine candidate against COVID-19. We are pleased to see the rapid advancement of their vaccine candidate into clinical safety testing,” said Richard Hatchett, CEO of the Coalition for Epidemic Preparedness Innovations in a press release.
“Producing a COVID-19 vaccine within the next 12 to 18 months is not only a scientific challenge; it will also require new levels of collaboration and investment across industry and government.”
The Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation is currently funding the development of seven different coronavirus vaccines in order to try and solve the problem as quickly as possible.
“Our early money can accelerate things. Even though we’ll end up picking at most two of them, we’re going to fund factories for all seven, just so that we don’t waste time in serially saying which vaccine works and then building the factory,” said Gates on The Daily Show with Trevor Noah.
On April 5 the foundation committed up to $US100 million in response to COVID-19. Up to $US60 million will be dedicated to vaccine development, treatments and diagnoastics.
“The foundation will provide up to $100 million to improve detection, isolation and treatment efforts; protect at-risk populations in Africa and South Asia; and accelerate the development of vaccines, drugs and diagnostics,” says the foundations website.
Phase 1 human testing of INO-4800 has now begun.
CSIRO has announced it's working on pre-clinical trials for coronavirus vaccine candidates using an animal they previously worked with during the SARS outbreak in the early 2000s — the humble ferret.Read more