Global Demand for Coronavirus Vaccine: Comprehensive Research and Development Status
Coronaviruses are a group of viruses that can cause infections or diseases in mammals as well as birds. Coronaviruses belong to the Coronaviridae or Torovirinae subfamily. Human coronaviruses, abbreviated as HCoV, were discovered in the 1960s. The earliest identified were two viruses from nasal cavities of individuals suffering from common cold, and the bronchitis virus in chickens. Symptoms these viruses cause range from common cold to serious infections and severe respiratory complications, pneumonia, and even kidney failure and death. These infections are common among individuals with cardiopulmonary disease, individuals with weak immune system, infants, and elderly people. HCoV was then named HCoV 229E and HCoV OC43. Other infections of this group identified since then include SARS-CoV in 2003, HCoV NL63 in 2004, HKU1 in 2005, MERS-CoV in 2012, and 2019-nCoV in 2019.
The 2019-nCoV or 2019 novel coronavirus, also known as the Wuhan coronavirus, is highly contagious in nature and causes severe respiratory infections. This virus was first identified by healthcare authorities in Wuhan, China in 2019, due to the ongoing 2019 – 2020 coronavirus outbreak in the city. Certain reports stated that Wuhan coronavirus had epidemiological link to seafood and animals, due to which, this virus is thought to possibly have zoonotic origin, though it has not been confirmed yet. 2019-nCoV, when compared to genetic sequences of other existing viruses, has shown some similarities to SARS-CoV of around 79.5% as well as 96% similarities to bat coronaviruses.
In human beings, the virus can cause mild infections such as respiratory tract infection, including common cold; however, it can also cause rarer forms of infections such as Middle East Respiratory Syndrome (MERS) or Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome (SARS), which can be lethal. In pigs and cows, the virus can cause diarrhea; whereas in chickens, the virus can cause an upper respiratory disease. The word ‘coronavirus’ is derived from the Latin word ‘corona’, which means crown, and refers to the crown-like appearance of coronavirus particles. Coronavirus spreads through sneezing, coughing, or sharing cups or bottles of water being used by someone who is infected. Also, there is a slight possibility that this group of viruses can be spread from one person to another through physical contact. Common symptoms include coughing, sore throat, sneezing, respiratory infection, fever, and breathing difficulties.
Currently, there are no drugs or vaccines approved for treating infected individuals; however, there are several vaccines and drugs in pipeline, and are yet to be approved or launched. Research and development of vaccine constructs such as production of right target antigens, testing on animals, as well as other clinical trial procedures could take some time. Also, more outbreaks could occur in the foreseeable future at irregular intervals. Therefore, taking preventive measures is of critical importance.
Some precautions and drugs that can be taken as preventive measures or to minimize the effects of coronavirus infections include protecting the eyes, exercising proper hand hygiene, equipment disinfection, use medical masks, use Personal Protective Equipment(PPE) and gloves, and avoid sharing water or other beverages, etc.
Global Coronavirus Vaccine Market: Drivers and Restraints
The 2019 – 2020 outbreak in Wuhan City, China, and its rapid spread across several countries in Asia Pacific is expected to endanger millions of lives. This has spurred a flurry of activity in a bid to develop a vaccine. In addition, replenishment of stocks of medicine that will be required to treat symptoms caused by the virus is currently in full swing at major companies. Demand for drugs and other related products is rising exponentially as countries around the globe prepare for a potential outbreak. This is a major factor expected to drive market growth to a significant extent. Major players in the biotech industry, including pharmaceutical companies and research organizations such as the National Institutes of Health (NIH), US, are being assisted by governments to develop novel vaccines and drugs to combat this deadly virus. The companies currently engaged in development of novel drugs for treating coronavirus include BioCryst Pharmaceuticals, Inc., AbbVie Inc., Regeneron Pharmaceuticals, Inc., and companies exploring development of vaccines as a preventive measure include Inovio Pharmaceuticals, Inc., and Novavax, Inc.
Technological advancements in the pharmaceutical sector include development of nucleic acid vaccines that are DNA- and RNA-based, and which enable the human body to produce vaccine antigen. Such initiatives and activities is projected to support market growth to a significant extent.
Other primary factors include increasing spending on the healthcare sector, growing concerns regarding outbreaks at regular intervals, and rising need to protect the population from known and unknown viruses. The 2019–2020 coronavirus outbreak could have negative impact on growth of various markets, thereby affecting global GDP. For instance, tourism in the semi-autonomous Chinese territory of Macao has dropped by 73.6% from 2019 to 2020 amid the Wuhan coronavirus outbreak, according to statistics released by the government recently. Governments and healthcare authorities are striving to get aid in the form of drugs for treating infected individuals, as well as to avoid further spread of the virus.
However, high cost involved in research and development of therapeutic drugs and vaccines, and time required for each phase of clinical trials are among some of the major factors that could hamper market growth to some extent.
Regional Market Insights: Global Coronavirus Vaccine
The North America market is expected to account for highest revenue share in the global coronavirus vaccine market, followed by the Europe market with second-highest revenue share. This can be attributable to different coronavirus outbreaks in the recent past, presence of major players in countries in the region, increasing investments in R&D activities, along with strong support from the government. Revenue from the Asia Pacific market is projected to expand at a significantly highest CAGR owing to the ongoing outbreak 2020 in Wuhan. In addition, rising demand and need for novel therapeutics and vaccines for use as preventive measures is another factor expected to drive growth of the market.