On Aug 6, Executive Director of WHO Health Emergencies Program Dr. Michael Ryan said that there are now 165 vaccine candidates in trials, with 26 in clinical trials. Three of the six candidates that have entered phase-three trials are from China. It is encouraging to see such huge progress in vaccine development within a very short period of time.
Dr. Ryan stressed that phase three does not mean "nearly there". It only means that a vaccine is put into otherwise healthy individuals to see if it will protect them against infection. Studies so far have been mainly around safety and immunogenicity, and more needs to be done in phase-three trials. Various types of vaccines are now being developed through different pathways, which is good news for vaccine development.
WHO has noted on many occasions the unprecedented speed of COVID-19 vaccine development and expressed hope that 2 billion doses can be produced by the end of next year. However, uncertainties in vaccine development point to the need to apply available response toolkit and basic public health measures to cut off transmission.
According to a paper published in the British medical journal The Lancet on 20 July, a Chinese research team conducted phase-two clinical trials of a COVID-19 candidate vaccine, which is found to be safe and able to generate an immune response. Hundreds of teams globally are now accelerating COVID-19 vaccine development along different technological pathways. An effective candidate is expected to appear before the end of this year.