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Coronavirus pandemic | IFPMA says its members developing vaccines

"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.

March 27, 2020 / 05:43 PM IST
FILE -- Dr. Paul Casey makes a video call at Rush University Medical Center in Chicago on March 6, 2020. Amid the uncertainty swirling around the coronavirus pandemic some experts recommend that older adults at risk cancel nonessential doctor’s appointments, including wellness visits, instead to consider using Telemedicine sessions, if available, as a reasonable substitute. (Danielle Scruggs/The New York Times)

FILE -- Dr. Paul Casey makes a video call at Rush University Medical Center in Chicago on March 6, 2020. Amid the uncertainty swirling around the coronavirus pandemic some experts recommend that older adults at risk cancel nonessential doctor’s appointments, including wellness visits, instead to consider using Telemedicine sessions, if available, as a reasonable substitute. (Danielle Scruggs/The New York Times)

The International Federation of Pharmaceutical Manufacturers and Associations (IFPMA) has said more than 80 clinical trials are underway to test new and existing medicines.

Track this blog for latest updates on coronavirus outbreak

"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.

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The Geneva-based IFPMA represents large global biopharmaceutical companies.

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COVID-19 Vaccine

Frequently Asked Questions

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How does a vaccine work?

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.

How many types of vaccines are there?

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.

What does it take to develop a vaccine of this kind?

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.

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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.

"Numerous collaborative research programmes have been agreed in order to fast-track the development of therapeutics and vaccines with institutions such as Biomedical Advanced Research and Development Authority (BARDA), Coalition for Epidemic Preparedness  Innovations (CEPI), Innovative Medicines Initiative (IMI) and others," IFPMA said.
Viswanath Pilla is a business journalist with 14 years of reporting experience. Based in Mumbai, Pilla covers pharma, healthcare and infrastructure sectors for Moneycontrol.
first published: Mar 27, 2020 05:43 pm

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