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Week 8: What’s happening in the world of the vaccine?

The top 5 most promising candidates—and what we know about access to them

A recent review by the Cornell Alliance for Science has identified the five most promising vaccine candidates for COVID-19. Here they are, ranked by the Alliance from most to least promising, with our added commentary on affordability:

  1. CanSino’s adenovirus vaccine, particularly significant because President Xi Jinping has announced that any vaccine developed in China will be a “global public good,” meaning it is likely to be available widely and cheaply. (We say this tentatively, because China has not made encouraging statements regarding intellectual property.)
  2. Oxford University’s adenovirus vaccine. While Oxford initially stated that its “baseline policy will be to offer non-exclusive, royalty-free licences to support free, at-cost or limited margin supply,” it has since partnered with AstraZeneca to manufacture the vaccine, and the details of their intellectual property arrangement have not been made public. And at a press briefing on May 28th, AstraZeneca CEO Pascal Soriot condemned the WHO’s patent pooling initiative alongside leaders from GlaxoSmithKline, Pfizer, and Johnson & Johnson. Soriot argued that “IP is a fundamental part of our industry and if you don’t protect IP, then essentially there is no incentive for anybody to innovate.” His comments are concerning for access, and we’ll keep you updated as we learn more.
  3. Moderna’s mRNA technology. The company has not made any assurances regarding access and affordability.
  4. Sinovac’s inactivated virus vaccine. Because Sinovac is a Chinese company, our commentary is the same as for #1.
  5. Inovio’s DNA vaccine. The company has not made any assurances regarding access and affordability.

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