While health leaders remain optimistic that a vaccine may arrive by the end of the year, the nation’s death toll swelled to over 153,000 heading into Saturday. A weekly USA TODAY analysis of Johns Hopkins data through late Friday shows three states set records for new cases per week while seven states had a record number of deaths in a week.
Scientists are in a sprint to find a vaccine that could stamp out the coronavirus pandemic. Dr. Anthony Fauci, the nation’s top infectious diseases expert, said on Friday he’s “cautiously optimistic” that a safe and effective COVID-19 vaccine will be ready for distribution in early 2021.
More than 150 coronavirus vaccines are in development across the world and hopes are high to bring one to market in record time to ease the global crisis. Several efforts are underway to help make that possible, including the U.S. government’s Operation Warp Speed initiative, which has pledged $10 billion and aims to develop and deliver 300 million doses of a safe, effective coronavirus vaccine by January 2021.
Here is a list of the most promising vaccine candidates to date that also trade on public stock exchanges:
Moderna (MRNA) mRNA-1273 = This vaccine candidate relies on injecting snippets of a virus’s genetic material, in this case mRNA, into human cells. They create viral proteins that mimic the coronavirus, training the immune system to recognize its presence. This technology has never been licensed for any disease. If successful, it would be the first mRNA vaccine approved for human use.
Pfizer (PFE) BNT162b2 = An mRNA vaccine based on the German company’s earlier efforts to use the technology in experimental cancer vaccines.
AstraZeneca (AZN) ChAdOx1 nCoV-19 = This vaccine candidate is a viral vector vaccine, essentially a “Trojan horse” presented to the immune system. Oxford’s research team has transferred the SARS-CoV-2 spike protein—which helps the coronavirus invade cells—into a weakened version of an adenovirus, which typically causes the common cold. When this adenovirus is injected into humans, the hope is that the spike protein will trigger an immune response.
Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health Professor and Virologist Andrew Pekosz discusses coronavirus vaccine trials, an increase in Covid-19 mortality rates, and questions surrounding the return to children to school in the fall. He speaks with Bloomberg’s Francine Lacqua on “Bloomberg Surveillance.” The Bloomberg School of Public Health is supported by Michael R. Bloomberg, founder and majority owner of Bloomberg LP, the parent company of Bloomberg News.