COVID-19 Vaccine Landscape (Bullseye)
April 6, 2021
The COVID-19 pandemic has generated intense interest in efforts by the global pharmaceutical community to develop COVID-19 vaccines. The BizInt Smart Charts team has applied tools in the BizInt Smart Charts product family, including VantagePoint – Smart Charts Edition (VP-SCE), to create a concise visualization of the leading COVID-19 vaccines in development.
You can see other visualizations in this family on our COVID-19 Vaccine Dashboard.
What's New In This Bullseye?
Two new vaccine programs appear on the US/UK/EU bullseye this month. The Gritstone product appears in Phase I after starting trials. The Clover/GSK vaccine demonstrates how these two bullseyes are related. This product has been in trials in the rest of the world, but now has phase 3 trials in our region, so it appears as added.
Important Changes To The COVID-19 Vaccines Bullseye
After seven months of building bullseyes from clinicaltrials.gov, we started fresh with a new approach in February 2021. Rather than building the bullseye from trial registry data, we are using commercial drug pipeline databases.
We use the tools in the BizInt Smart Charts family to combine results from several sources, resolve conflicts between sources, extract data elements of interest, and build the visualizations.
At the AVM 2021 conference this month, Diane Webb presented lessons learned from this project. You can find the slides on our presentations page.
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About the COVID-19 Vaccine Bullseye
The COVID-19 Bullseye provides an ‘at-a-glance’ review of the vaccine landscape – showing highest trial phase, vaccine technology, and lead organization for each vaccine.
Trial phases are shown in the concentric rings, with programs closer to the center further along in the development process (from Phase 1 in the outer ring to Launched at the center).
The National Institutes of Health describe clinical trial status as follows:
- Phase 1:
Studies that are usually conducted with healthy volunteers and that emphasize safety. The goal is to find out what the drug's most frequent and serious adverse events are and, often, how the drug is metabolized and excreted.
- Phase 2: Studies that gather preliminary data on effectiveness (does the vaccine invoke an immune response). Safety continues to be evaluated, and short-term adverse events are studied.
- Phase 3: Studies that gather more information about safety and effectiveness by studying different populations and different dosages and by using the drug in combination with other drugs.
In addition to the clinical trial phases above, we have added two rings representing further steps in the approval process:
- In Review: When companies file an application for consideration before the relevant authorities, we mark the vaccine as In Review. Clinical trials are still in progress, but sufficient data has been collected to argue for authorization.
- Authorized: Vaccines will be considered to be approved once they have received either full approval from the US FDA or EMA or have been granted FDA Emergency Use Authorization (EUA) or EMA Conditional Marketing Authorisation (CMA).
The bullseye is divided into sectors representing vaccine technologies, which are described in the sidebar at right.
Each vaccine is labeled by a commonly used name and by the organizations leading the development of the vaccine.
Do You Find This Bullseye Interesting?
The COVID-19 Bullseye is an example of a BizDash project. BizDash (BizInt Smart Strategy Dashboards) is a service offered by the BizInt team. We use BizInt Smart Charts tools with supported drug pipeline, clinical trial and biomedical literature databases to create data-centric reports and visualizations targeted to your analytic needs.
Contact us if you would like to learn more.
How We Built This
Prior to the February 9, 2021 update, we were building these landscapes from trial data on ClinicalTrials.gov. You can visit one of the earlier versions via the links in the COVID-19 Visualization Archive, below.
Starting with the update of February 9, 2021, we are building the landscape from commercial drug pipeline databases, which are more suited to tracking development in a field like this. We look forward to sharing our experiences, and the challenges we face, going forward.
When we started this project last summer, the field was still new and the best sources of information were the clinical trial registries, particularly clinicaltrials.gov. Now that several vaccines have been approved around the world, and many others have failed, we are faced with the limitations of trial registry data for this type of project.
The VP-SCE Bullseye for COVID-19 vaccines uses data from R&D Insight (Springer Adis), PharmaProjects (Informa), and Cortellis (Clarivate), combined with expert analysis, and the powerful data analysis and visualization software tools in the BizInt Smart Charts product family, to create a bullseye-styled graphic, following leading contenders from Phase 1 clinical trials to approval.
- We searched commercial drug pipeline databases for COVID-19 vaccines. Because each database indexes both the indication (COVID-19) and the technology (vaccines) differently, we have developed search strategies for each platform. We will share the strategies in a future update. From each platform we exported the results using the BizInt export format, and created a report in BizInt Smart Charts Drug Development Suite. We linked records on vaccine programs across databases, and used BizInt Smart Charts Reference Rows to blend data from the various sources into a single "row" for each vaccine program, based on a series of rules. This blended data was exported to VantagePoint - Smart Charts Edition (VP-SCE) for further analysis and to generate the visualization.
- We refined data to assign vaccine technology, trial phase, and lead organization to each vaccine. VP-SCE was used to assign a vaccine technology category based on the record content combined with review of additional publicly available sources such as the WHO list of vaccines in development. Since there may be multiple trials for the same vaccine, placement on the bullseye is determined by the phase of the most advanced trial. Cleanup tools in VP-SCE enabled easy review of drug and sponsor information to select a single drug name and a key sponsor or sponsors for each vaccine. We used a standard recipe in VP-SCE to identify the highest phase of development for each vaccine in the various regions for this project.
- We generated the bullseye visualization. We then used VP-SCE to automatically build the bullseye visualization, placing each drug according to the most advanced clinical trial phase and type of vaccine. The flexibility of the software allows the easy generation of multiple bullseyes using the same dataset.
- We are updating the bullseye on a regular basis. To generate a new bullseye we use the Update tool in BizInt Smart Charts to automatically identify new trial records as well as records that have changed. This streamlines the process of generating a new bullseye since only a fraction of the trial records need to be reviewed.
- The bullseye is updated every two weeks.
COVID-19 Visualization Archive
- April 6, 2021 — We have updated the US/UK/Europe bullseye and the corresponding piano chart. Two new vaccines appear, one starting trials, and one newly listing trials in the regions we are watching.
- March 23, 2021 — We have updated both the US/UK/Europe bullseye and the Rest Of World version, as well as adding a piano chart to show some of the detail on the US/UK/Europe data. Quite a bit of updates... click through to read more.
- March 9, 2021 — This update looks at the US/UK/Europe vaccine development, and reflects the emergency authorization of the Janssen (J&J) vaccine.
- February 23, 2021 — The first update of our COVID-19 landscape using commercial data sources. We have split the data set into programs in the US/UK/Europe and a second set for the remaining vaccines, which is easy with these databases.
- February 9, 2021 — A reset in our COVID-19 landscape, we have rebuilt the bullseye using data from commercial drug pipeline databases rather than clinicaltrials.gov. We are still working through the implications, but this is a good first look at the new direction.
- January 26, 2021 — A bullseye showing the current state of COVID-19 vaccine development, with very little movement from the previous report.
- January 12, 2021 — A bullseye showing the current state of COVID-19 vaccine development, featuring an EUA request for the AZ/Oxford vaccine.
- December 29, 2020 — A bullseye showing the current state of COVID-19 vaccine development, featuring the authorization of a second vaccine, this time from Moderna.
- December 15, 2020 — A bullseye showing the current state of COVID-19 vaccine development, featuring the authorization of the Pfizer/BioNTech vaccine in the US.
- December 1, 2020 — A bullseye showing the current state of COVID-19 vaccine development, showing several phase changes and two new vaccines.
- November 17, 2020 — A bullseye showing the current state of COVID-19 vaccine development, with two new vaccines in Phase 1.
- November 3, 2020 — A bullseye showing the current state of COVID-19 vaccine development, with a new vaccine from IIBR.
- October 20, 2020 — A bullseye showing the current state of COVID-19 vaccine development, with the Novavax project moving into Phase 3 and two new vaccines appearing.
- October 6, 2020 — A bullseye showing the current state of COVID-19 vaccine development, with trials for four new vaccines appearing.
- September 22, 2020 — A bullseye showing the current state of COVID-19 vaccine development, with trials for two new vaccines appearing.
- September 10, 2020 — A first timeline showing trials for the Phase 3 candidates.
- September 8, 2020 — A bullseye showing the current state of COVID-19 vaccine development. Several new projects listed, and several projects move to higher phase.
- August 25, 2020 — A bullseye showing the current state of COVID-19 vaccine development. Grouping all Viral Vector projects together now. Trials for one new Sinopharm vaccine added in Phase 3.
- August 11, 2020 — A bullseye showing the current state of COVID-19 vaccine development. J&J vaccine now appears in clinicaltrials.gov searches, three other new vaccine projects, and one new technology detected.
- July 29, 2020 — A bullseye showing the current state of COVID-19 vaccine development. BioNTech/Pfizer trials move to Phase 3.
- July 28, 2020 — A bullseye showing the state of COVID-19 vaccine development.
- July 14, 2020 — A bullseye showing the state of COVID-19 vaccine development. Moderna/NIH trials move to Phase 3.
- July 7, 2020 — The first bullseye showing the state of COVID-19 vaccine development.
See: BizInt Solutions and Search Technology Publish COVID-19 Bullseye Graphic to Aid Understanding of Vaccine Progress
These vaccines contain no part of the virus. DNA vaccines use gene technology to introduce RNA into the body. DNA contains the genetic instructions to make proteins. The body uses the DNA from the vaccine to make virus proteins which then cause the immune response. Several vaccines are in development using DNA technology, but none are approved.
- Immune cell
With this vaccine, live immune cells from healthy donors are used to induce a immune response. This is a novel technology.
Inactivated vaccines contain a killed version of the virus. This is the same technology used for the annual flu shot. Because the whole virus is present, there could be more side effects with this technology, but fewer than with a live vaccine.
These vaccines contain a weakened form of the live virus. This results in a strong, long lasting response with less need for multiple dose or annual vaccination. Because the whle virus is used there can be more side effects. The MMR vaccination is an example of this type of vaccine.
- Modified Antigen-Presenting Cells
Antigen-presenting cells have the part of the virus that induces the immune response on the surface. Rather than using COVID-19 or its components, this technology uses a different vector that has been modified to have the key COVID-19 proteins on the cell surface. In the case of COVID-19, these vaccines target the spike protein visible on the outside of the COVID-19 virus.
- Non-replicating viral vector
This technology uses a different virus instead of COVID-19 to induce the immune response. A non-replicating vector does not multiply in the body. Additionally, the vector may be a weakened version of a virus or the body may already be immune to the selected vector virus. This vector virus has been modified to produce virus proteins that induce the immune response. The U.S. Strategic National Stockpile includes a smallpox vaccine using this technology.
- Protein subunit
Rather than the whole virus like inactivated vaccines, these vaccines contain only the part that stimulates an immune response. Because it is only part of the virus, there may be fewer side effects. Some pertussis vaccines use this technology.
- Replicating viral vector
These vaccines use a different virus instead of COVID-19 to induce the immune response. This vector virus has been modified to produce COVID-19 virus proteins. A replicating vector can multiply in the body, but is weakened so that it does not cause disease and generally cannot replicate as rapidly. But because it is able to replicate, this increases the body's exposure. That could mean a stronger or longer lasting immune response.
These vaccines contain no part of the virus. RNA vaccines use gene technology to introduce RNA into the body. RNA transfers the genetic information from DNA to make proteins. The body uses the RNA from the vaccine to make virus proteins which then cause the immune response. Several vaccines are in development using RNA technology, but none are approved.
- Virus-like particle
VLP vaccines use gene technology to produce particles that resemble the shape of the virus. The particles can cause an immune response, but are non-infectious. This is the technology behind the HPV vaccines.