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UK Government secures 60 million doses of Sanofi and GSK's COVID-19 vaccine

Published on 29/07/20 at 11:28am

The UK Government has sealed another deal to procure an effective COVID-19 vaccine for its citizens, partnering up with Sanofi and GlaxoSmithKline to reserve 60 million doses of their potential prophylactic candidate currently in development.

The latest deal marks the fourth signed by the UK Government to secure a potential COVID-19 vaccine, with agreements previously signed with companies including BioNTech and AstraZeneca, earmarking 250 million doses for British patients in total.

“Our scientists and researchers are racing to find a safe and effective vaccine at a speed and scale never seen before. While this progress is truly remarkable, the fact remains that there are no guarantees,” commented UK Business Secretary Alok Sharma. “In the meantime, 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.” 

The agreement is for 60 million doses of GSK and Sanofi’s recombinant protein-based vaccine candidate. The two pharma giants originally announced they would be teaming up back in April as part of an “unprecedented collaboration” to work together on a vaccine for COVID-19.

“Through this agreement with GSK and Sanofi, the Vaccine Taskforce can add another type of vaccine to the three different types of vaccine we have already secured,” explained Kate Bingham, Chair of the UK Government’s Vaccines Taskforce. “This diversity of vaccine types is important because we do not yet know which, if any, of the different types of vaccine will prove to generate a safe and protective response to COVID-19. Whilst this agreement is very good news, we mustn’t be complacent or over optimistic.

“The fact remains we may never get a vaccine and if we do get one, we have to be prepared that it may not be a vaccine which prevents getting the virus, but rather one that reduces symptoms,” she added. 

Sanofi said it hopes to move the vaccine candidate into Phase 1/2 trials by September with a Phase 3 study planned before the end of the year and possible regulatory approval by the first half of 2021 in the event everything goes to plan. In the meantime, both companies are ramping up their manufacturing capacity to ensure delivery of a possible one billion doses per year.  

Matt Fellows

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