GSK and Sanofi team up for Covid-19 vaccine

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GlaxoSmithKline and Sanofi, two of the world’s biggest vaccine makers, are joining forces to develop a Covid-19 vaccine with the aim of getting a treatment to market in the next 12 to 18 months.

Calling the partnership of former rivals “unprecedented”, Sanofi’s head of vaccines David Loew told the Financial Times that teaming up made sense because each company held “a piece of the puzzle”.

The companies said in a joint statement on Tuesday that they planned to start phase 1 trials, which give humans the drug for the first time to test its safety, in the second half of this year. If successful, further testing for efficacy would be needed with the aim of making a vaccine available by the second half of 2021.

Three potential Covid-19 vaccines are making fast progress in early-stage testing in volunteers in China and the US, the Associated Press reports, but its still a long road to prove if they’ll really work.

Chinas CanSino Biologics is beginning the second phase of testing its vaccine candidate, China’s Ministry of Science and Technology said Tuesday.

In the US, a shot made by the National Institutes of Health and Moderna Inc. isn’t far behind. The first person to receive that experimental vaccine last month returned to a Seattle clinic Tuesday for a second dose.

NIH infectious disease chief and key member of the White House Coronavirus Task Force Dr Anthony Fauci was reported as saying that there are no red flags so far and he hoped the next, larger phase of testing could begin around June.

A third candidate, from Inovio Pharmaceuticals, began giving experimental shots for first-step safety testing last week in the US and hopes to expand its studies to China.

Looking ahead, Fauci said if the new coronavirus continues to circulate widely enough over the summer and fall, it might be possible to finish larger studies slightly sooner than the 12 to 18 months he’d originally predicted maybe toward “mid to late winter of next season.

“Please let me say this caveat: That is assuming that its effective. See, thats the big if, Fauci stressed. “It’s got to be effective and it’s got to be safe.”

Read more via The Financial Times / ABC News

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