Pharmaceutical giants like Pfizer and AstraZeneca are threatening Moderna’s lead in the race to develop a coronavirus vaccine. The American biotech company was the first to begin human trials of a coronavirus vaccine in March but it has slowly fallen into the shadows of big companies that are also scrambling to develop a vaccine against the disease.

Back in March, Moderna announced moving on to phase 2 of its clinical trials after presenting encouraging data from phase 1. The company has already begun phase 2 trials for its vaccine candidate mRNA-1273 in collaboration with drug maker Catalent Inc., which will help manufacture 100 million doses of the vaccine in the third quarter of 2020.

Moderna also delighted investors when it announced that phase 3 of its clinical trials would start soon. The final-stage trials will begin this July, with tests slated to be conducted on 30,000 people from different parts of the world.

While the company is still a frontrunner in the race to develop a coronavirus vaccine, other big companies such as AstraZeneca and Pfizer are threatening to outdo Moderna. On Wednesday, Pfizer announced its vaccine had shown huge potential in the early-stage human trials. German biotech BioNTech, Pfizer’s partner in developing a coronavirus vaccine, also +-revealed that testing of two dosages of its BNT162b1 drug on 24 healthy volunteers had been successful as the participants were able to develop higher levels of COVID-19 antibodies after getting the vaccine.

Meanwhile, AstraZeneca, Oxford University’s partner, has also emerged as a frontrunner in the race to find an effective vaccine against the virus. The British drug maker has started conducting phase 3 human trials of its AZD1222 vaccine and just recently, the company inked a deal to manufacture 10 crore doses of its vaccine candidate. Brazil also announced on Saturday that it had greenlighted a $127 million deal to produce the Oxford-AstraZeneca vaccine, suggesting that the quiet participant in the COVID-19 vaccine race is now neck and neck with Moderna in the race to develop a coronavirus vaccine.

Coronavirus COVID-19 Laboratory Test, Cure, Vaccine Andressa Parreiras, Biomedic, and Larissa Vuitika, biologist, work in a laboratory during the extraction of the virus genetic material on March 24, 2020 in Belo Horizonte, Brazil. The Ministry of Health convened The Technological Vaccine Center of the Federal University of Minas Gerais laboratory to conduct research on the coronavirus (COVID-19) in order to diagnose, test and develop a vaccine. According to the Ministry of Health, as of Tuesday, March 24, Brazil has 1.891 confirmed cases of the coronavirus (COVID-19) and at least 34 recorded deceases. Pedro Vilela/Getty Images