Research Roundup: COVAX reaches 100 countries, at-home antibody test authorized, and a next-generation vaccine starts phase 1 trial
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The global vaccine initiative COVAX has delivered 38.4 million COVID-19 vaccine doses to 102 countries and economies, six weeks after it began its rollout around the world, according to a World Health Organization statement released Thursday. Among the countries reached so far, 61 received doses through the COVAX Advance Market Commitment, a donor-financed mechanism to ensure vaccine access for low- and middle-income countries. Amid this progress, reduced supply has caused delays in delivery, and the Serum Institute of India–produced AstraZeneca vaccine is no longer being shipped out of India amid COVID-19 surges in the country. COVAX plans to reach all participating countries within the first half of 2021 and intends to deliver at least 2 billion doses by the end of the year.
The US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) granted emergency use authorization last week to a COVID-19 antibody test that can be taken at home and mailed to a lab for results. The COVID-19 Self-Collected Antibody Test System, developed by Symbiotica, Inc., is the first antibody test to receive FDA authorization for use at home, adding to the more than 75 antibody tests approved for use at point-of-care settings. The test can be used by individuals ages 5 and over and requires a fingerstick blood sample completed at home and sent to a Symbiotica lab to process for evidence of COVID-19 antibodies, the presence of which would indicate past infection.
The Walter Reed Army Institute of Research (WRAIR) has begun a phase 1 clinical trial evaluating a new COVID-19 vaccine candidate following positive preclinical results against SARS-CoV-2, its variants, and SARS-CoV-1. The candidate, a nanoparticle vaccine based on a ferritin platform, has a multi-faced sphere design, which allows it a flexible approach to combating variants and coronaviruses and an ordered introduction of the coronavirus spike protein to the immune system. The phase 1 study will enroll 72 adult volunteers between the ages of 18 and 55, divided into vaccine and placebo groups, and will be conducted at the WRAIR Clinical Trials Center.