GlaxoSmithKline begins coronavirus vaccine trials

GlaxoSmithKline has stepped up its battle against Covid-19 with clinical trials of a potential vaccine it is developing with French drug maker Sanofi. 

The early-stage study will evaluate how safe the vaccine is and what kind of immune response it triggers in 440 healthy adults tested at 11 sites across the US. 

If the results are conclusive, GSK and Sanofi are hoping to get the vaccine approved in the first half of next year. 

Trial: If the results are conclusive, GSK and Sanofi are hoping to get the vaccine approved in the first half of next year

Trial: If the results are conclusive, GSK and Sanofi are hoping to get the vaccine approved in the first half of next year

Trial: If the results are conclusive, GSK and Sanofi are hoping to get the vaccine approved in the first half of next year

The pair are planning to produce up to 1billion doses in 2021 if they are successful. 

Covid-19 has killed more than 860,000 people worldwide and 41,500 in the UK, according to official figures. 

GSK’s vaccine uses the same technology as one of Sanofi’s seasonal flu vaccines, which will be coupled with a substance made by GSK that enhances and boosts the impact of the vaccine. Britain and the US have already signed deals with Sanofi and GSK – and the two companies are in talks to supply the European Union with up to 300m doses. A number of other pharmaceutical firms and swiftly formed alliances are developing their own vaccines. 

Astrazeneca, GSK’s rival on the FTSE100, is working on a vaccine with Oxford University that is already in late-stage trials. 

Astrazeneca said it could have data available by the end of October to get sign-off from US regulators for emergency use of the vaccine. Russia approved a controversial vaccine, called Sputnik V, after less than two months of human testing. 

GSK shares fell 1.2 per cent, or 18.4p, to 1470.8p, after it announced the trials were starting.

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