UK Government announce purchase of 60 million doses of an experimental vaccine for Covid-19

By - World Healthcare Journal

The UK Government has announced a fourth Covid-19 Vaccine deal, securing up to 60 million doses of an experimental treatment being developed by pharmaceutical giants GSK and Sanofi.

UK Business Secretary Alok Sharma emphasised to the BBC that "It is important that we secure early access to a diverse range of promising vaccine candidates, like GSK and Sanofi, to increase our chances of finding one that works, so we can protect the public and save lives. ” 

However, the public and the Government have been reminded by Kate Bingham, who chairs the UK Government's Vaccines Taskforce that "whilst this agreement is very good news, we mustn't be complacent or over-optimistic. ” 

Sanofi and GSK have announced that they have signed a letter of intent to enter into a collaboration to develop an adjuvanted vaccine for Covid-19, using innovative technology from both companies.

“This collaboration brings two of the world’s largest vaccines companies together. By combining our science and our technologies, we believe we can help accelerate the global effort to develop a vaccine to protect as many people as possible from Covid-19. ” Says Emma Walmsley, CEO of GSK.

The pharmaceutical companies plan to use the well-established combination of a protein-based antigen together with an adjuvant. An adjuvant is added to some vaccines to enhance the immune response and is linked to being able to create stronger and longer-lasting immunity against infections than vaccines alone. The combination can also improve the likelihood of delivering an effective vaccine that can be manufactured at scale.

Sanofi, which is leading the clinical development, said they plan to initiate phase one clinical trials in the second half of 2020 and, if trials were to be successful, regulatory approval could be achieved by the first half of 2021. In the meantime, Sanofi and GSK plan on scaling up manufacturing to produce up to one billion doses a year.

GSK, a leading producer of vaccines around the world, is heading the production of the Covid-19 Vaccine. There are current reports that such a Vaccine for Covid-19 could have side effects so long as experts argue they are transient and not severe, these would not be sources of alarm. Experts go further to argue that such a sign could be the immune system ‘lurching into gear’. Kathryn Edwards, a scientific director of the Vanderbilt Vaccine Research Program in Nashville, comments that the GSK’s shingles vaccine, Shingrix, which reportedly makes people feel pretty miserable for a short period after injection, is a perfect example of such vaccine side effects. Despite the possibility of discomfort, from the moment the vaccine was brought to market, the company could not keep up with the crush of demand for it.

The vaccine has already been at the centre of an international political storm, after Sanofi Chief Executive, Paul Hudson, said in May that the US government had "the right to the largest pre-order because it's invested in taking the risk. ” 

However, in their latest announcement, the BBC found that GSK and Sanofi emphasised that they were "committed to making the vaccine available globally. ”  The global availability of this trial vaccine would benefit the UK Government in its search for credible vaccines for mass production.

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