The COVID Vaccine Race

Competitors, current progress and the EU’s position

It has now been several months since the COVID-19 pandemic took the entire globe by storm. One after the other, the world’s countries saw themselves compelled to shut down, freezing their economic activity and locking their people at home, with seemingly no other protection against the uncontrollable spread of the new virus than to curl up in defence like a hedgehog and wait for a vaccine to come. And today, after months of wait, fear and hope, it finally seems that a COVID-19 vaccine could be coming soon. Indeed, in the past weeks a number of big pharmaceutical companies have stepped up and declared they now are in an advanced phase of the development of a vaccine: from one day to the next, we were flooded with news on clinical trials, Phase 1, 2, 3, and continuous relaunches of higher efficiency percentages from all sides – in what now is a full-blown “vaccine race”.

Let’s try to shed some light on this seemingly chaotic race, by illustrating who are the different competitors, which development phase their respective vaccines are now at, what are the future projections for a vaccine to be available globally, and, last but not least, where the European Union stands in all of this.

The Main Competitors

Oxford University / AstraZeneca PLC: The world-famous university and the British-Swedish multinational biopharmaceutical company headquartered in Cambridge first announced their collaboration for the development of a COVID-19 vaccine in April 2020.

The research phase, developmental studies and trials are being carried out by a team of experts from both parties at the Jenner Institute and the Oxford Vaccine Group, while AstraZeneca will be responsible for the worldwide manufacturing and distribution of the chosen formula.