Sky News has reported that the UK has signed a deal for the supply of 60 million doses of a potential coronavirus vaccine that has been developed by Sanofi and GlaxoSmithKline. Financial terms for the agreement have not been disclosed. A coronavirun vaccine to treat or prevent the killer diseases has not yet been approved.
If this treatment proves successful, the UK could soon begin vaccinating priority groups, such as frontline health and social workers and those at increased risk from coronavirus.
The Department for Business, Energy & Industrial Strategy (BEIS) said these vaccinations begin during the first half of next year.
Clinical trials of the vaccine on humans would begin as soon as September tthis year, followed by a phase three study in December.
Sanofi and GSK also confirmed in a statement that regulatory approval for their vaccine could be secured by the first half of 2021 if clinical data is positive.
Coronavirus news: The UK has signed a landmark deal for a vaccine
Business Secretary Alok Sharma said: “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.
“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.”
GSK Vaccines President Roger Connor said: “We believe that this adjuvanted vaccine candidate has the potential to play a significant role in overcoming the Covid-19 pandemic, both in the UK and around the world.
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“We thank the UK Government for confirmation of purchasing intent, which supports the significant investment we are already making as a company to scale up development and production of this vaccine.”
The UK Government has now signed agreements for four different types of potential COVID-19 vaccines, totalling 250 million doses.
Last week, Britain agreed deals for 30 million doses of the experimental BioNTech/Pfizer, followed by a deal in principle for 60 million doses of the Valneva vaccine.
Prior to this, an agreement was struck with AstraZeneca for production of 100 million doses of its potential vaccine, which is currently in development with Oxford University.
This new vaccine produced by GSK and Sanofi is based on the existing DNA-based technology used to produce the latter’s seasonal flu vaccine.
Kate Bingham, chairwoman of the Government’s Vaccines Taskforce, said: “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.”
Almost 72,000 people have volunteered over the past week to receive information about joining clinical studies to find a vaccine.
But ministers want to significantly ramp up that number, and hope to have half-a-million people signed up by October.
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