Since the first cases of coronavirus were identified at the start of last year, pharmaceutical companies have raced at unprecedented speed to develop a safe and effective vaccine to help stop the spread of Covid-19.

In total there are now more than 230 vaccine candidates, according to the World Health Organization, using an array of different techniques to trigger antibodies and virus-fighting cells to fend off infection.

Several vaccines have already been approved for use or are seeking approval, and vaccinations are being rolled out in many countries.

UPDATED 25 jan, FIGS FROM AG, version 6

Here we keep you updated with the numbers of doses administered and the progress of the leading vaccine candidates.

Live-updating bar chart showing countries’ progress in adminstering vaccines against coronavirus.

BioNTech/Pfizer

GERMANY/US

95% Efficacy according to phase 3 trial data

The jab produced by Germany’s BioNTech and US pharmaceutical company Pfizer uses breakthrough mRNA technology and has been approved for use in the UK, US, Canada and several other countries. It was the first vaccine to win regulatory approval in both Europe and North America.

Vaccine type: mRNA in two doses.

Regulatory status: Approved in the UK, US, the EU, Canada, Bahrain, Saudi Arabia and more than 40 other countries. A separate trial is under way in China in partnership with Fosun Pharma.

Key dates:

  • December 1: Approved in the UK

  • December 12: Approved in US

  • December 22: Approved in the EU

  • December 31: Approved by the WHO

Production: Up to 2bn doses in 2021. Manufacturing will take place in Mainz, Idar-Oberstein and Marburg in Germany, Puurs in Belgium and Kalamazoo, Michigan.

Take-up around the world: Has been distributed to the UK, EU, US, Israel and Japan. Separately, BioNTech will supply 100m doses in China via its partnership with Fosun Pharma.

Storage requirements: Must be transported at minus 75C. Has a lifespan of five days when refrigerated at between 2C and 8C.

A dose of the coronavirus vaccination from BioNTech and Pfizer is administered
A dose of the coronavirus vaccination from BioNTech and Pfizer is administered © BioNTech/Reuters

Moderna

US

94.1% Efficacy according to phase 3 trial data

US company Moderna also uses mRNA technology and was the second company to have its Covid-19 shot approved for use in the US. The Boston-based biotech has promised to deliver 200m doses to the US, twice as many as BioNTech/Pfizer.

Vaccine type: mRNA in two doses.

Regulatory status: In addition to approvals in the UK, US, EU and Israel, a rolling review of trial data is under way by regulators in Canada, Singapore and Switzerland.

Key dates:

  • December 19: Approved for use in the US

  • December 23: Approved for use in Canada

  • January 4: Approved for use in Israel

  • January 6: EU approval expected

  • January 8: Approved for use in UK

Production: Between 600m and 1bn doses in 2021, manufactured in the US, Switzerland and Spain. More then 18m doses have already been supplied to the US.

Take-up around the world: Expected to be available in most developed countries.

Storage requirements: Must be transported at minus 20C. Has a lifespan of 30 days when refrigerated at between 2C and 8C.


AstraZeneca/Oxford university

UK

70% Average efficacy rate according to phase 3 trial data

The Anglo-Swedish drug company and Oxford university have pledged to sell their vaccine at cost to developing nations in perpetuity. That commitment, and the fact doses require refrigeration and not freezing, have raised hopes that the vaccine — approved for emergency use in the UK in December — will be widely used. Some regulators, however, have requested more information after data initially withheld by the partners showed the vaccine was either 62 per cent effective or 90 per cent effective, depending on the dosage.

Vaccine type: Adenovirus in two doses, up to 12 weeks apart.

Regulatory status: Early trial data and phase 3 results have been reviewed by the UK regulator and authorisation was granted in late December. The data is currently under review in the EU and US. A phase 3 trial in the US is ongoing and approval is not expected until later this year.

Key dates:

  • December 27: Approved for use in the UK.

  • January 3: Approved for use in India and Argentina

  • January 17: Approved for use in Brazil

  • Mid-January onwards: EU review and approval expected

  • 2021: US approval expected

Production: 3bn doses in 2021, which will be manufactured in various locations including the UK, India and Brazil.

Take-up around the world: Distribution is expected to be worldwide once approved. It is cheap to produce and requires less refrigeration — an advantage in many developing countries, where AstraZeneca has promised to sell it at cost.

Storage requirements: Needs to be refrigerated between 2C and 8C but does not expire.

A health worker sorts blood samples for Covid-19 vaccination study for pharmaceuticals company Janssen, of Johnson & Johnson, as part of a phase 3 study in Cali, Colombia
A health worker sorts blood samples for Covid-19 vaccination study for pharmaceuticals company Janssen, of Johnson & Johnson, as part of a phase 3 study in Cali, Colombia © Luis Robayo/AFP/Getty

Johnson & Johnson

Us

?? Efficacy rate

The drugmaker’s phase 3 trial is ongoing in the US, with interim data expected in January. Through its Janssen subsidiary, the New Jersey-based drugmaker will administer its experimental vaccine to 6,000 UK volunteers in two doses in a phase 3 trial.

Vaccine type: Adenovirus in one dose, although J&J is also testing a two-doses regimen.

Regulatory status: In the UK and EU early trial results are under rolling review but phase 3 results have not been submitted anywhere. Expected to release critical results from Phase 3 trials this month and seek US FDA approval first, in February, if the data are positive.

Production: 1bn doses in 2021, manufactured in the US, Europe, Asia and Africa.

Take-up around the world: Distribution is expected to be worldwide once approved.

Storage requirements: Can be transported and stored at between 2C and 8C for three months. Will last for two years if kept at minus 20C.

Members of the Red Cross and Germany’s emergency response group THW assist in setting up a centre for vaccinations against Covid-19 in a converted gymnasium in Eschwege, Germany
Members of the Red Cross and Germany’s emergency response group THW assist in setting up a centre for vaccinations against Covid-19 in a converted gymnasium in Eschwege, Germany © Thomas Lohnes/Getty

Novavax

US

?? Efficacy rate

New York-listed biotech Novavax launched phase 3 trials of its vaccine in the UK in September. Results are expected in early 2021. A larger trial in the US, which has provided $1.6bn of government funding to the company, is expected to start this month. Chief executive Stanley Erck has described results from early tests on baboons as very positive.

Vaccine type: Recombinant spike protein in two doses

Production: 1bn to 2bn doses in 2021, manufactured in the US, Czech Republic, Spain, Sweden, Denmark and South Korea.

Regulatory status: Two phase 3 trials are ongoing in the US and Mexico, and in the UK. Interim data expected in the first three months of 2021.

Take-up around the world: Worldwide.

Storage requirements: Transported and stored at 2C to 8C. Expected to last at least six months at those temperatures, although work on this area is ongoing.

Stacked bar chart showing vaccine pre-orders to December 1 in doses per capita

Medicago/GSK

CANADA/UK

?? Efficacy rate

Medicago, a Canadian developer part-owned by cigarette make Philip Morris, is working on a vaccine that uses virus-like particles which are not infectious and are grown in plants. The company is partnering with GSK to use its adjuvant to boost the immune system’s response.

Vaccine type: Recombinant spike protein in two doses.

Regulatory status: Phase 2/3 trial started in mid-November, interim results expected in the first quarter of 2021. The phase 2 trial has started in Canada and will later enrol participants in the US. The phase 3 trial will start before the end of the year.

Production: Up to 80m doses a year from 2021 at plants in the US and Canada, rising to more than 1bn a year from 2023 at a new factory in Quebec.

Take-up around the world: Has an agreement with Canada and is talking to other governments.

Storage requirements: Stored at 2C to 8C. Expected shelf life of about 12 months.

A medical worker fills a syringe with the Sputnik V (Gamaleya) vaccine before administering an injection in Moscow, Russia
A medical worker fills a syringe with the Sputnik V (Gamaleya) vaccine before administering an injection in Moscow, Russia © Maxim Shemetov/Reuters

CureVac

GERMANY/US

?? Efficacy rate

The oldest of the three companies leading the race to develop mRNA vaccines, CureVac has lagged behind BioNTech and Moderna in proceeding to large-scale trials. But its shot does have some advantages: it is stable at normal refrigeration temperatures for three months, and its dosage size is smaller than that of its two rivals, meaning more people can be immunised per shipment.

Vaccine type: mRNA in two doses. 

Regulatory status: Launched phase 3 trials in mid-December

Production: Up to 300m doses in 2021, and a further 600m doses in 2022. In early January, the company announced it had an agreement with German pharmaceutical group Bayer to support the vaccine’s development.

Take-up around the world: Expected to be distributed primarily in the EU. CureVac has ruled out applying for US authorisation, citing market saturation.

Storage requirements: Will survive at 5C for three months and at room temperature for 24 hours.


Gamaleya

Russia

95% Efficacy rate according to interim analysis of trial results although some doubt the data

Russia surprised the world in August when it approved a vaccine developed by the state-controlled Gamaleya Research Institute for limited use before phase 3 trials had started. It then announced expanded trials and released interim results in November.

Vaccine type: Adenovirus in two doses.

Regulatory status: Approved for early use in Russia, although critics said the rushed process was risky. It also received an emergency use approval in Belarus and Argentina in December, as well as Algeria, Bolivia and Serbia in January. Phase 3 trials are ongoing but Russian president Vladimir Putin has ordered officials to begin vaccinating doctors and teachers.

Production: Russia said there have been preliminary orders of 1.2bn doses worldwide, and anticipated demand of at least 2.4bn doses. It is seeking to expand capacity.

Take-up around the world: Distribution expected in Russia and former Soviet states, India, UAE, Hungary, Saudi Arabia and several countries in Latin America.

Storage requirements: In its dehydrated form the vaccine needs to be stored at 2C to 8C. In liquid form it must be frozen at minus 20C. It can be stored for six months at those temperatures.


CanSino

china

?? Efficacy rate

CanSino is carrying out trials on its vaccine candidate in Mexico, Pakistan and Russia. The Hong Kong-listed group’s total market capitalisation rose more than 480 per cent between January and November last year to almost $10bn.

Vaccine type: Adenovirus in one dose.

Regulatory status: Approved for limited use in China in June, with phase 3 trials ongoing in Mexico, Russia and Pakistan.

Production: 300m doses in 2021, manufactured in China.

Take-up around the world: Likely to be distributed largely in China and Mexico.

Storage requirements: Refrigerated at 2C to 8C, lifespan unknown.


Sinopharm I

china

?? Efficacy rate

State-owned China National Biotec Group, or Sinopharm, is developing two vaccines, the first in partnership with the Wuhan Institute of Biological Products. Both vaccines have already been widely distributed in China under limited-use provisions, even though trials are ongoing. It has also received limited use approval in the UAE. In November, Sinopharm said that almost 1m people had received one of the two shots.

Vaccine type: Inactivated virus in two doses.

Regulatory status: China granted authorisation for limited use last year and full approval is expected imminently. Phase 3 trials are ongoing in countries including the UAE, Peru, Morocco, Argentina, Bahrain, Egypt and Jordan.

Production: More than 1bn doses in 2021 across the two vaccines, all made in China.

Take-up around the world: Likely to be distributed in China, south-east Asia, the Gulf, Africa and Latin America.

Storage requirements: Refrigerated at 2C to 8C. Lifespan unknown.

An advertisement for China’s SinoVac on the side of a truck
An advertisement for China’s SinoVac on the side of a truck

Sinopharm II

china

79% Efficacy rate according to interim results of a phase 3 trial in UAE

Sinopharm is also testing a second vaccine developed with the Beijing Institute of Biological Products, with similar characteristics to the Wuhan vaccine. The shot was approved for use in December in UAE, which said it had showed 79 per cent efficacy in interim results from a phase 3 trial.

Vaccine type: Inactivated virus in two doses.

Regulatory status: Submitted phase 3 data for approval in China in November and was approved for use on December 30. Also approved for use in UAE, Egypt, Jordan and Bahrain. Phase 3 trials are ongoing in countries including Peru, Morocco and Argentina.

Key dates:

  • December 9: Approved for use in UAE

  • December 14: Approved for use in Bahrain

  • December 30: Approved for use in China

Production: More than 1bn doses in 2021 across the two vaccines, all made in China.

Take-up around the world: Distribution likely in China, south-east Asia, the Gulf, Africa and Latin America.

Storage requirements: Refrigerated at 2C to 8C. Lifespan unknown.


SinoVac

china

?? Efficacy rate

Chinese biotech SinoVac has launched phase 3 trials for its vaccine candidate in China and internationally. As with other Chinese shots, it has already been approved for limited use in China.

Vaccine type: Inactivated virus in two doses.

Regulatory status: Approved for limited use in China, Turkey, Indonesia and Brazil. Phase 3 trials ongoing in Brazil, Indonesia and Turkey. Conflicting data has emerged on the efficacy of the vaccine, ranging from 91 per cent in a trial in Turkey, based on a trial involving less than 2,000 people. Brazil subsequently announced the vaccine was 50 per cent effective.

Likely to get full Chinese approval in early 2021.

Production: 300m doses in 2020 and 600m in 2021, made in China.

Take-up around the world: Distribution likely in China, Brazil, south-east Asia, Africa and Latin America.

Storage requirements: Refrigerated at 2C to 8C. Lifespan unknown.


ZFSW

china

?? Efficacy rate

Anhui Zhifei Longcom and the Chinese Academy of Medical Sciences launched phase 2 trials in July and phase 3 trials in December.

Vaccine type: Recombinant spike protein, dosage unclear.

Regulatory status: Phase 3 trials running in China. Discussions are under way to begin further phase 3 trials in Uzbekistan, Indonesia, Pakistan and Ecuador. Expected approval dates not yet clear.

Take-up around the world: China.

Production: 300m doses per year, made in China.

Storage requirements: Unknown.

Brazilian officials at São Paulo airport next to a container carrying vaccines from China
Brazilian officials at São Paulo airport next to a container carrying vaccines from China © Nelson Almeida/AFP/Getty

Bharat Biotech

INDIA

?? Efficacy rate

Bharat Biotech’s vaccine has been developed with the Indian Council of Medical Research and the National Institute of Virology. It was the first Indian shot to enter clinical trials last year and the first to be approved for emergency use in early January, although some health experts said the approval process had not been sufficiently transparent.

Vaccine type: Inactivated virus in two doses.

Regulatory status: Approved for emergency use in India on January 3

Production: 300m doses in 2021, with the potential to increase to 500m doses. All manufacturing planned to take place in India.

Storage requirements: Refrigerated at 2C to 8C. Lifespan unknown.

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