With the announcement this week by Moderna, a biopharmaceutical company, to launch a Phase 3 efficacy trial, the U.S. now has two COVID-19 vaccines in Phase 2 of development and several more in Phase 1. While the vaccines go through Phase 3 to ensure safety and efficacy, the U.S. will also begin the manufacturing process to have a vaccine available for high-risk patients this year.
In addition, Kansas State University recently announced its partnership with Tonix Pharmaceutical Holding Corporation to begin a preclinical research and option agreement to develop a COVID-19 vaccine. The agreement is one of the 100-plus vaccine development projects currently part of Operation Warp Speed, a joint effort between the Department of Health and Human Services and the Department of Defense, which aims to deliver 300 million doses of a vaccine for COVID-19 by January 2021.
"The American health care system allows for innovation and immediate and rapid responses to new health care challenges," said U.S. Congressman Roger Marshall, M.D. "Public-private partnerships are the backbone of our nation's research and development pipeline and I'm encouraged to see Kansas State University apply its expertise in animal health to hasten development of a human vaccine for COVID-19. President Trump has prioritized vaccine development for this virus and it is mission critical that we leverage every area of research possible to find an effective immunization."
The vaccine being developed by Tonix and K-State, uses Tonix's novel live virus vaccine vector platform and K-State's CD40-ligand to stimulate T-cell immunity, which are designed to potentially stimulate immunity against the SARS-CoV-2 spike protein.