The International Federation of Pharmaceutical Manufacturers and Associations (IFPMA) has said more than 80 clinical trials are underway to test new and existing medicines.
"At least nine IFPMA member companies are researching and developing new diagnostic tests, vaccines or treatments and testing existing medicines to treat those infected with the virus. Other companies are involved in fast-tracking diagnostic technology to help detect cases more rapidly," IFPMA said.
The Geneva-based IFPMA represents large global biopharmaceutical companies.
Frequently Asked Questions
A vaccine works by mimicking a natural infection. A vaccine not only induces immune response to protect people from any future COVID-19 infection, but also helps quickly build herd immunity to put an end to the pandemic. Herd immunity occurs when a sufficient percentage of a population becomes immune to a disease, making the spread of disease from person to person unlikely. The good news is that SARS-CoV-2 virus has been fairly stable, which increases the viability of a vaccine.
There are broadly four types of vaccine — one, a vaccine based on the whole virus (this could be either inactivated, or an attenuated [weakened] virus vaccine); two, a non-replicating viral vector vaccine that uses a benign virus as vector that carries the antigen of SARS-CoV; three, nucleic-acid vaccines that have genetic material like DNA and RNA of antigens like spike protein given to a person, helping human cells decode genetic material and produce the vaccine; and four, protein subunit vaccine wherein the recombinant proteins of SARS-COV-2 along with an adjuvant (booster) is given as a vaccine.
Vaccine development is a long, complex process. Unlike drugs that are given to people with a diseased, vaccines are given to healthy people and also vulnerable sections such as children, pregnant women and the elderly. So rigorous tests are compulsory. History says that the fastest time it took to develop a vaccine is five years, but it usually takes double or sometimes triple that time.
IFPMA said they have made commitment to share scientific expertise, technical skills and manufacturing capabilities with governments and public health agencies like WHO to bring forward therapies and vaccines to protect humankind from COVID-19.
"We are sending a clear signal of how seriously industry is taking the pandemic and the need to act as one team," said David Ricks, Chairman and CEO of Eli Lilly and IFPMA President.
IFPMA said it will share tools and insights to test potential therapies and vaccines as well as developing and scaling up capacity of diagnostics for testing for COVID-19 patients as much as possible.