Eight vaccine candidates for the coronavirus disease are in clinical trial with another 110 in various stages of development, as governments around the world scramble to contain the virus, according to World Health Organisation ( WHO ) data. Pharmaceutical companies and health institutes in countries including the United States , China and Germany have led the development to treat Covid-19 patients. US President Donald Trump on Friday announced a national project to accelerate development of a coronavirus vaccine, saying he hopes for results by the “end of the year” or “maybe before”. In Japan , a vaccine for the virus that has killed around 300,000 people worldwide is unlikely to be available before the end of the year, medical experts say. US biotech company Moderna has undertaken clinical trials since March in collaboration with the US National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases. The two entities are working on a vaccine that contains messenger RNA, a synthesised genetic material to cause cells to produce proteins similar to the coronavirus that could trigger the body’s immune response to produce effective antibodies. Oxford vaccine effective in monkeys, heading for mass production in India Inovio Pharmaceuticals, another US company, started clinical trials using DNA molecules in April. In China, four groups are on the WHO list, including Cansino Biological, which is trying to genetically engineer other viruses to produce coronavirus proteins, which could trigger an immune response. The partnership between US pharmaceutical company Pfizer and BioNTech SE, a German immunotherapy company, are also on the move. In Japan, six candidate vaccines remain in preclinical evaluation, with Osaka University, the University of Tokyo, and the National Institute of Infectious Diseases among others working on them. “Even if overseas vaccines have success and received special regulatory approval, the supply in Japan will be limited and it would be difficult for them to be widely available this year,” said Yoshihiro Kawaoka, a virology specialist at the University of Tokyo’s Institute of Medical Science. Developing an effective vaccine takes several steps. First preclinical studies are conducted, typically involving laboratory and animal experiments, to determine the strength, safety and effectiveness of the vaccine, followed by several clinical trials on humans, and finally the vaccine must get governmental approval for public distribution. Meanwhile, the WHO on Saturday said it had still not been proven if people could catch the novel coronavirus by touching surfaces where it lingers, such as handles, doorknobs or keyboards. Nonetheless, it was recommended that people disinfect objects, according to guidelines issued by the UN agency. The guidelines reference a study that showed the virus could survive on the outside a medical face mask for up to seven days. But the WHO also noted that studies about the ability of the coronavirus to survive should be viewed with some scepticism, since such studies are conducted in laboratories with little bearing on real world conditions. US vaccine tsar confident of ‘a few hundred million doses’ by end of year In the mentioned study, the virus survived on stainless steel and plastic for four days, on glass for two and on fabric and wood for one. Another study showed it surviving for four hours on copper, 24 hours on cardboard and 72 hours on plastic and stainless steel. Although there had been no cases to date of people catching the virus from a surface, such transmission could not be ruled out given the behaviour of other known coronaviruses. That was why it was important to disinfect surfaces of objects like sinks, toilets, electronic devices and handholds, the WHO said.