Update on COVID-19 Vaccine Development and Production

Introduction

Achieving broad immunity to COVID-19 is central to a return to normal life, and most experts maintain that this hinges on a widely available, safe and effective vaccine. A global race to develop and manufacture promising vaccine candidates is well underway. Several national and global collaborations, including multiple public-private partnerships initiated by the Trump Administration, are harnessing government, industry and academic assets to spur development. Efforts are aiming to a) accelerate research on the safety and efficacy of multiple candidate vaccines, b) smooth regulatory pathways toward licensure and distribution, and c) prepare for mass production. These efforts and others are supported by substantial financial investments from governments, philanthropists, and industry. In the United States, Congress has directed almost $10 billion to research and countermeasure development through supplemental funding. Federal agencies have also leveraged ongoing research and shifted existing investments and resources to support COVID-19 countermeasures development and production efforts. Both known and novel approaches to vaccine development are being investigated. As of May 20, 140 vaccines are in the global development pipeline and at least eight are in active clinical trials, according to the Milken Institute COVID-19 Treatment and Vaccine Tracker, which is one of several trackers following candidates (all with slightly different numbers depending on methodology). Other trackers include: ClinicalTrials.gov, World Health Organization, BIO, Bioworld, Aris Ventures, Oxford.

While the timeframe for broad availability of a safe and effective vaccine is not clear, some suggest a COVID19 vaccine could be available for emergency use for certain populations (such as health care workers) before the end of 2020, and collaborators are signaling mass production capacity by early 2021. This memo offers a high-level summary of major collaborations working on vaccine development and manufacturing, an explanation of the accelerated development processes, and the latest on clinical trials in humans.

All NGA coronavirus memos can be found here, or visit Coronavirus: What You Need To Know for current information on actions States/Territories are taking to address the COVID-19 pandemic; as well as advocacy, policy, and guidance documents for protecting public health and the economy.