Sanofi-GSK vaccine candidate shows promising results
Sanofi and GlaxoSmithKline's potential COVID-19 vaccine triggered strong immune responses in all adults in preliminary trials, boosting optimism the shot may join the fight against COVID-19 this year. After two doses of the vaccine candidate, participants showed neutralizing antibodies in line with those found in people who had recovered from the disease, according to results of the Phase II trial released on Monday.
Companies hope to win regulatory approval before end of year
The drugmakers said they plan to begin late-stage trials and production in the coming weeks and hope to win regulatory approval before the end of 2021. Regulators have already authorized a number of COVID-19 vaccines, though experts say more are needed as public health authorities around the world race to vaccinate their residents amid a pandemic that has claimed over 3.3 million lives.
French President Emmanuel Macron has been backing the vaccine
The Sanofi-GSK vaccine was an important part of the European Union's vaccination strategy and had notably been championed by French President Emmanuel Macron's government. But researchers had to reformulate it after early testing produced an inadequate immune response in older people.
Several vaccines will be needed to end COVID-19: Health experts
The Sanofi-GSK candidate joins about a dozen vaccines now undergoing late-stage trials. The companies plan to produce up to one billion doses annually, and they have signed agreements with the US, Canada, and developing countries. Public health experts say several vaccines will be needed to end COVID-19, because of the challenges in rapidly producing and distributing enough doses to vaccinate billions of people.
Multiple vaccines needed as variants continue to emerge
"Our Phase II data confirm the potential of this vaccine to play a role in addressing this ongoing global public health crisis," Thomas Triomphe, Head of Sanofi's vaccines unit said. "We know multiple vaccines will be needed, especially as variants continue to emerge and the need for effective and booster vaccines, which can be stored at normal temperatures increases," he said.
Late-stage trial will include 37,000 participants
The results released were from a Phase II trial involving 722 volunteers aged 18-95 who were recruited in the US and Honduras. "The late-stage trial will involve 37,000 participants from countries around the world," the companies said. The firms are combining a Sanofi-developed antigen, which stimulates the production of germ-killing antibodies, with GSK's adjuvant technology, that bolsters the immune response triggered by a vaccine.