State of COVID-19 vaccine development

OptumRx clinical team provides their perspective


COVID-19 vaccine candidates are multiplying rapidly. At least 34 are currently being tested in humans, with another 145 vaccines in pre-clinical (non-human) study around the world.

The OptumRx clinical team has compiled a new report to help our clients, consultants and other key stakeholders stay abreast of this rapidly evolving effort. This report helps explain not only the current state of vaccine development, but also the key manufacturing, distribution and coverage considerations that will affect these vaccines should one or more become available in the coming months. 


Here are some of the highlights covered in the report:

Vaccine technology primer
The report offers a brief overview of four primary technologies being used in vaccine development to trigger immune response to COVID-19, some of which are brand new.

Plans for review and approval 
Better understand the review and approval process and challenges in front of the United States Food and Drug Administration (FDA) relative to COVID-19 vaccines. 

Leading COVID-19 vaccine candidates in the U.S.
Preview a detailed round-up of the six vaccine candidates furthest along in clinical development, including key efficacy, cost and logistical considerations with each. 

Phased market release
The FDA may make a new vaccine available under the emergency use authorization (EUA) pathway. Learn more about the steps FDA has taken to assure the public of its commitment to scientific rigor, integrity and transparency. 

Post-Approval Challenges
Once one or more vaccines are cleared by the FDA, additional hurdles still lie ahead relative to manufacturing capacity, storage, distribution and allocation of product. Some vaccine candidates will require two doses spaced a month apart, and some may require storage at extremely cold temperatures to maintain stability. Gain a better appreciation for these challenges and steps being taken to overcome them.

Coverage options
Adequate coverage of COVID-19 vaccines once available will be essential toward preventing further degrees of significant morbidity and mortality relative to this devastating virus, particularly in vulnerable populations.  Regulators are working aggressively to address access and coverage concerns across both public and private sectors.  We provide an update on the progression of these efforts to date and moving forward. 

The OptumRx perspective

Plan sponsors should expect that one or more COVID-19 vaccines will become available by the end of 2020 or early 2021, however several questions remain as do challenges to be overcome.  Our OptumRx team nonetheless remains vigilant in our efforts to collect, synthesize and discern this information as it evolves and share it with you in a timely fashion.

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