Dec 28, 2020
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Two manufacturers drop out of global race for COVID-10 vaccine

Sanofi and GSK said more research is needed on their vaccine as it elicited too weak immune responses in elderly volunteers in clinical trials. Interim results from phase 1/2 of trials on people 18-49 years old confirmed an immune response comparable to that produced after suffering COVID-19, but in older people it was too low, the Financial Times quoted a statement from pharmaceutical companies. To continue vaccine development, antigen concentrations need to be refined to ensure a strong immune response in all age groups.

There were high hopes for the drug Sanofi and GSK, as both pharmaceutical companies have vast experience in developing vaccines. Manufacturers expected to receive approval for the drug in the first half of next year. The European Union has signed contracts with companies for the supply of 300 million doses, the UK – for 60 million doses. It was also assumed that Sanofi and GSK would provide vaccines to third world countries. In a statement, the companies mentioned that after data clarification and the resumption of clinical trials, the drug will not be available until the fourth quarter of next year.

Clinical trials of the Australian COVID-19 vaccine have been halted after several participants received false-positive HIV tests. A joint report from the University of Queensland and CSL states that the immune response after administration of the drug UQ-CSL v451 creates difficulties in the diagnosis of HIV.

The Australian government has decided to terminate the contract with the developers and exclude their vaccine from the national pandemic strategy. The University of Queensland and CSL were expected to release at least 51 million to vaccinate citizens. Now the funds will be redirected to purchase additional doses of the drug from other manufacturers, in particular from AstraZeneca and Novavax, according to The Guardian.

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