Coronavirus vaccine: UK signs deal with GSK and Sanofi

GSK Image copyright Getty Images

The UK government has signed a fourth coronavirus vaccine deal, securing up to 60 million doses of an experimental vaccine being developed by drug giants GSK and Sanofi.

The government has already signed up for 100 million doses of the Oxford University vaccine being developed by AstraZeneca.

It has also secured another 90 million doses of two other promising vaccines.

However, it is still uncertain which if any of the vaccines may work.

Governments around the world have pledged billions of dollars for a Covid-19 vaccine and a number of pharmaceutical firms are in a race to develop and test potential drugs.

The vaccine involved in the latest government deal, developed by Sanofi in partnership with GSK, is based on the recombinant protein-based technology used by Sanofi to produce a flu vaccine, as well as GSK’s established pandemic technology.

Sanofi, which is leading the clinical development, said regulatory approval could be achieved by the first half of 2021 if trials were successful.

In the meantime, Sanofi and GSK are scaling up manufacturing to produce up to one billion doses a year overall.

The vaccine has already been at the centre of an international political storm after Sanofi rowed back on an apparent promise to prioritise the US market.

Sanofi chief executive Paul Hudson sparked a row in May by saying the US government had “the right to the largest pre-order because it’s invested in taking the risk”.

But he changed his view after then French Prime Minister Edouard Philippe responded by saying access for all was “non-negotiable”.

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