GlaxoSmithKline and Sanofi, both of which are among the biggest pharma companies in the world, have announced that they will be teaming up in order to develop a vaccine to control COVID-19. The clinical trials set to do so are expected to make the vaccine available in the market by the second half of 2021.
According to the sources, the clinical trials will combine GSK’s adjuvant technology which is a substance that improves the immune system and response, especially when used alongside a vaccine with Sanofi’s developed antigen which boosts the production of antibodies to kill pathogens and infectious germs.
The combination of both the antigen and adjuvant is likely to be effective and help in making the vaccine development faster as adjuvant lowers the protein required per dose, hence increasing the production rate of vaccines.
Paul Hudson, who is the chief executive officer of Sanofi, states that “The companies plan to initiate phase I clinical trials in the second half of 2020 and, if successful, subject to regulatory considerations, aim to complete the development required for availability by the second half of 2021,”
He adds that “As the world faces this unprecedented global health crisis, it is clear that no one company can go it alone,”
That companies also mentioned in a joint statement that developing a vaccine to protect against COVID-19 was a priority and need of the time as the death toll and cases of the infections are increasing day by day.
Statistically, COVID-19 has affected nearly all countries in the world with over one million confirmed cases and an increasing death toll. Currently, Italy and the United States have reported the highest recorded number of deaths.
The collaboration between GSK and Sanofi is not only dedicated to creating an effective vaccine but also making it available, cost-effective, and affordable to the common people in all countries.
The economic costs of COVID-19 are already straining the healthcare system of most of the countries. The development of a vaccine that is not sold and used at affordable pricing is not likely to help control the pandemic.
Furthermore, the national lockdowns announced in most of the countries which have also severely affected businesses to a significant extent has also been noted to increase the likelihood of an economic crisis in the coming months.
Therefore, it is important to keep the costs of the vaccine low so that the majority may be able to get it and protect themself from coronavirus infection during the pandemic as well as in the future.
The Biomedical Advanced Research and Development Authority (BARDA) of the US Department of Health and Human Services is primarily funding the initiative by GSK and Sanofi.
In addition, the costs and funding of the joint venture are to be discussed by both Sanofi and GSK with other institutions, health authorities, and governments around the globe.
The director of the Biomedical Advanced Research and Development Authority, Rick Bright, if the joint venture of the two pharma companies is able to develop a vaccine it has the ability to “to end this pandemic, and help the world become better prepared or even prevent future coronavirus outbreaks.”
Till an appropriate vaccine for controlling COVID-19 is available in the market, health experts suggest following the ‘prevention is better than treatment’ methodology.
Secondly, only instructions from official health authorities including the Centre for Disease Control and Prevention or the World Health Organization should be followed which include maintaining social distance, personal hygiene, and limiting time spent outdoors.
For additional security, the updated guidelines also suggest wearing fabric masks and gloves, especially when having a job that required a lot of interaction with the public.