A potential vaccine for COVID-19 funded by Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation is ready for testing this week

A potential COVID-19 vaccine developed by Inovio Pharmaceuticals has received a go signal for testing this week.

Inovio starts clinical testing

Inovio Pharmaceuticals, a small biotech company in Pennsylvania, was set to start the first phase of their clinical trial yesterday, April 6, 2020, after receiving regulatory clearance from the U.S. Food and Drug Administration.

Inovio receives support from Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation and CEPI

40 healthy adult volunteers in Philadelphia and Kansas City, Missouri will be participating in the said test which received funding from the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation and the Coalition for Epidemic Preparedness Innovations (CEPI).

The Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation has pledged to support the development of seven promising vaccines by scaling up their production while scientists are working on the trials. According to Bill Gates, this will help save time as the pandemic keeps spreading throughout the world.

“It’ll be a few billion dollars we’ll waste on manufacturing for the constructs that don’t get picked because something else is better. But a few billion in this situation we’re in, where there’s trillions of dollars…being lost economically, it is worth it,” Gates said in his interview at The Daily Show.

How will the test work?

Each of the 40 participants will be given two doses of the vaccine, four weeks apart. From there, Inovio is expecting to get results of their initial immune response and safety data by late summer.

Hoping to get positive results from Phase 1, Inovio is planning to advance the test INO-4800 capacity to fight the virus.

Inovio’s INO-4800, second potential COVID-19 vaccine in U.S.

INO-4800 is the second potential vaccine that is now on the process of clinical trials in the United States following that of Moderna’s.

CEPI CEO Richard Hatchett said, “This development is an important step forward in the world’s search for a COVID-19 vaccine.”

“Producing a COVID-19 vaccine within the next 12 to 18 months is not only a scientific challenge; it will also require new levels of collaboration and investment across industry and government. There is still a long road ahead before we have a safe, effective, and globally accessible vaccine ready for broader use, but today we have reached an important milestone on that journey,” Hatchett added.

Provided that they’ll receive clearance and funding, the pharmaceutical company is looking at producing one million doses of INO-4800 by the end of this year that can be used for additional trials and emergencies.

Do what we must while waiting for a cure or vaccine against COVID-19

We all know that the whole process of developing a safe and effective vaccine will take at least 12 to 18 months. This was even reiterated by US National Institue of Allergy and Infectious Disease (NIAID) Director Anthony Fauci.

Since scientists around the world constantly working together to develop a cure or a vaccine for COVID-19, hopefully, we continue to do our part to help our frontliners win this fight. Let’s stay at home, be vigilant and strictly follow other guidelines set for everyone’s safety.

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