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Non-profit launches COVID-19 treatment and vaccine tracker with daily updates

Darrell Etherington

There are a lot of global efforts underway to develop vaccines and treatments for COVID-19, including repurposing of existing drugs approved for use in treating other forms of coronavirus and respiratory diseases. Many of these efforts are just entering into the formal clinical study phase, which will be required before any treatment is certified for widespread use in patients diagnosed with the illness. Vaccines are still likely at least a year out from approvals, though some have already entered into clinical human trials at unprecedented speed owing to the unprecedented nature of the pandemic.

It's definitely a challenge to keep up with all the existing efforts to pursue effective treatments and develop vaccines, but public health non-profit the Milken Institute has a new resource that aims to keep track of at least the efforts from leading research institutions and drug makers. Its COVID-19 treatment and vaccine tracker currently offers a list of nearly 60 treatments, as well as 43 vaccines in development.

This list details the type of treatment or vaccine being studied or developed, as well as their FDA-approved status (for other conditions – none have been approved specifically for treating COVID-19 to date). They also indicate who is doing the drug development or research, and what stage the research project is at (either pre-clinical or clinical). The table lists the source of funding, if available, as well as the anticipated timetable for the phases of the project if known. It provides sourcing for each, as well, including credible media sources, journals and the World Health Organization.

This kind of tracker is a good resource for anyone looking to keep tabs on the ongoing work that people are doing to take on COVID-19, though it's a high-level view that is probably of most interest to other ongoing projects, as well as health and research professionals who might be able to assist in the development of these solutions, or to collaborate with partners. The Milken Institute says that it's going to be updating the tracker daily at noon eastern with any additional fresh info from reliable sources.

As mentioned, even vaccines that are already in development, like the mRNA-based immune therapy that began human trials last week in the U.S., will take many months to come to market, and they still have to demonstrate their effectiveness, too. In the meantime, people should do everything they can to isolate and remain indoors in order to help buy time for the healthcare system to develop treatments that can mitigate the impact of the disease, and eventually, ways to introduce immunity in order to block its transmission.