The World Health Organisation says 70 vaccines for COVID-19 are being developed while three are undergoing clinical evaluation.
As the outbreak of the novel virus became a pandemic — with more than 115,000 dead, drug makers and virologists initiated research in a race to find vaccines and drugs for its treatment.
In a document released on its website, WHO gave an exhaustive list of vaccines that are underway as well as the pharmaceutical companies and countries spearheading the projects.
It said a total of 67 candidate vaccines on the listicle are in preclinical evaluation. One of the remaining three was said to be an experimental vaccine under clinical trial (phase two), having been developed by the Hong Kong-listed CanSino Biologics Inc and the Beijing Institute of Biotechnology.
Two others, both of which are currently being tested in humans, were said to have been created separately by two US drug makers Moderna Inc. and Inovio Pharmaceuticals Inc.
Bloomberg reports that CanSino had, in March, received Chinese regulatory approval to start human trials for its vaccine.
Moderna, a Massachusetts-based biotechnology company, similarly received approval to proceed with trying the drugs, skipping years of animal trials, which would have otherwise been next.
Among the companies that also joined the race to develop a vaccine are Pfizer Inc. and Sanofi, both of which have their candidates in pre-clinical stages.
In February, Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, WHO’s director-general, said the first vaccine for COVID-19 could be ready in 18 months.