According to many companies and researchers involved in the development of effective COVID-19 vaccines the extent and scale of the collaborative efforts and the speed of activity is breath-taking and without precedent.
“There are currently over 80 well defined vaccine candidates being developed, many in a highly collaborative manner. Already 7 of these candidates are in early stage human clinical trials after just 2-3 months of research” says Dr Graeme Jarvis, CEO of Medicines New Zealand.
Vaccine and medicines development is a slow, risky and expensive undertaking. On average, it normally takes 10-12 years to get the research and clinical testing completed for a single successful medicine or vaccine and over $3 billion dollars in costs. Some estimates also show that only 6% of early stage vaccine candidates being developed ever reach use in immunisation programmes globally.
However, given the scale and number of COVID-19 vaccine candidates being developed and the degree of collaboration being seen, most vaccine experts estimate that the development of some vaccines within the next 12 to 18 months is achievable. The challenge will then be to manufacture the best vaccine or vaccines on a large enough scale to be available for the world.
“Increasing manufacturing capacity is something that the biopharmaceutical industry is already preparing for internationally, with many companies already planning and scaling up facilities in preparation for larger batches of COVID-19 vaccine production” said Dr Jarvis.
“Considering the numbers of vaccines needed to protect the global population, and speed of development, the likelihood is that there will need to be more than one vaccine and manufacturer. There have been a number of unprecedented announcements from the biopharmaceutical industry around working collaboratively with governments and each other to get vaccines with proven safety and effectiveness to the world’s population” said Dr Jarvis.
Medicines New Zealand is the industry group representing pharmaceutical companies operating in New Zealand. We advocate for the benefits of modern medicines as part of a high-quality public health system. Our objective is to ensure that New Zealanders have access to the right medicines at the right time.
Kristen Edwards, Communications Advisor, Medicines New Zealand.
Ph: 027 534 6461