There is optimism that another vaccine may soon join the fight against Covid-19.
In preliminary trials, Sanofi and GlaxoSmithKline’s potential Covid-19 vaccine triggered strong immune responses in all adult age groups, reports the AP.
After two doses of the vaccine, participants showed neutralising antibodies in line with those found in people who had recovered from the disease, according to results of the Phase Two trial.
The drugmakers said they plan to begin late-stage trials and production in the coming weeks and hope to win regulatory approval for the vaccine before the end of 2021.
The results, released on Monday, involved 722 volunteers aged 18 to 95 who were recruited in the US and Honduras.
The vaccine showed even stronger antibody results in people who had already recovered from the virus. Sanofi said that makes it a potentially strong candidate as a booster shot in the future for those who have already been vaccinated with rival products.
The late-stage trial will involve about 37,000 participants from countries around the world, the companies said. They plan to study its efficacy against the virus variant first identified in South Africa, and potentially others as well.
Researchers had to reformulate the vaccine developed by the partnership after early testing produced an inadequate immune response in older people.
After the initial setback, Sanofi struck agreements to help produce rival vaccines designed by Pfizer, Moderna and Johnson & Johnson. The progress in the Sanofi-GSK vaccine will not disrupt those production plans, Thomas Triomphe, head of Sanofi’s vaccines unit said.
GlaxoSmithKline is a British pharmaceutical company headquartered in London. In 2014 it announced development of the world’s first malaria vaccine, which it has committed to making available in developing countries at low cost.
Sanofi SA is a French multinational pharmaceutical company headquartered in Paris, France. As such, the Sanofi-GSK vaccine was an important part of the European Union’s vaccination strategy and was championed by French President Emmanuel Macron’s government.
The Sanofi-GSK candidate joins about a dozen vaccines now undergoing late-stage trials. The partners have already signed agreements to supply the US, Canada, and developing countries, too.
Experts say more Covid-19 vaccines are needed as public health authorities around the world race to vaccinate their populations amid a pandemic that has already killed more than 3.3 million people and caused economic havoc.
“We know multiple vaccines will be needed, especially as variants continue to emerge. And there will be a huge need for effective booster shots which can be stored at normal temperatures,” said Triomphe.
The companies claim to be able to produce one billion doses per year, subject to successful trials and regulatory approval.