Vaccine tracker: The top contenders to stop the novel coronavirus

Lab work (Flickr)

We've heard it time and time again: Nobody will be fully protected against COVID-19 until a vaccine is proven to work and available to the entire world.

Although some heads of major pharmaceutical companies have said a vaccine could be ready before the end of the year, other experts have cautioned that even 2021 may be an unrealistic timetable.

That uncertainty is an inherent part of the scientific process, but there are reasons for optimism. Hundreds of potential vaccines are in development, and some of the leading contenders have either already started human trials or will do so soon.

To be approved for use, any potential vaccine must move through a well-established testing process that involves three phases of human trials. The first and second phases focus on monitoring whether the drug produces the desired response from the human immune system. The third phase involves far more test subjects and aims to determine whether the vaccine candidate is actually able to stop the virus from infecting a body. has compiled a guide to some of the vaccine candidates that have shown the most promise in early testing, have been touted by globally-renowned companies, or are under development right here in Canada.

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