The COVID-19 pandemic has led an unprecedented number of groups to begin developing coronavirus vaccines. To track this response, researchers from the University of Notre Dame’s Center for Research Computing are recording details about the coronavirus vaccine candidates currently in development as well as the progress of those candidates via a new interactive online tool.
Dubbed the Vaccine Mapper, the free tool allows visitors to visualize everything from where the different vaccines are being developed around the world to the pre-clinical or clinical stages of development the vaccine candidates are currently in.
“Never has there been a time when several vaccine candidates have been worked on within months of the emergence of a new disease — let alone more than 100,” said Geoffrey Siwo, assistant research professor of biological sciences, scientific lead of Vaccine Mapper and affiliated member of the Eck Institute for Global Health. “Knowing that successful vaccines typically take more than a decade to develop, the Vaccine Mapper was developed to give a global picture of the various vaccine designs being explored so that developers and funders can seek strategic collaborations, share knowledge and identify redundancies and gaps in the whole field as they all work toward a common goal — find a safe and effective COVID-19 vaccine.”
The Vaccine Mapper provides key scientific information about the different vaccine candidates, which could influence their immunological effects, manufacturing requirements and stability. Through interactive charts, the Vaccine Mapper provides details on the percent of candidates that are using various development platforms or targeted proteins, the vaccine delivery system, and delivery route. Those charts then allow users to filter and visualize different combinations of the three indicators developers are using.
Using the tool, vaccine developers could potentially identify those using similar or differing vaccine development methods as well as see the stage of development competing vaccine candidates are in. Additionally, users can see the number and name of the vaccine developers that fall within the criteria they select as well as where their clinical trial candidate pools may be. This could assist different vaccine developers to see synergies in their approaches and learn from each other.
“Not many vaccine candidates are likely to make it to market, and the vaccine developers know that. This online tool offers a unique knowledge base to show funders and developers where vaccine candidates fail or succeed in the development process, potentially giving them an opportunity to learn from the other candidates and enhance their own process through collaboration,” said Milan Budhathoki, GIS specialist at Notre Dame’s Center for Social Science Research and software lead of Vaccine Mapper.
Vaccine Mapper utilizes public information on coronavirus vaccines pulled from multiple resources, including the World Health Organization, the Milken Institute and the global coronavirus cases map from Johns Hopkins University. To view and interact with the platform, which is being updated daily, visit vaccinemapper.nd.edu.
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