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BY AFP,11TH DEC,2020-France’s Sanofi and Britain’s GSK said Friday their Covid-19 vaccines will not be ready until the end of 2021, after interim results showed a low immune response in older adults.
The announcement is a huge setback in efforts to fight the pandemic, which first emerged in China last December and has killed over 1.5 million people worldwide.
Sanofi and GSK said the delay in their adjuvanted recombinant protein-based COVID-19 vaccine programme was to “improve immune response in older adults.”
The vaccine’s potential availability had been pushed back “from mid-2021 to Q4 2021,” they said in a statement.
American pharmaceutical giant Pfizer and its German partner BioNTech have said their vaccine had proven 90 percent effective in preventing Covid-19 infections in ongoing Phase 3 trials involving more than 40,000 people.
US experts voted Thursday to recommend granting emergency approval for the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine, paving the way for America to become the next country to move ahead with mass immunisation after the UK. Canada, Bahrain and Saudi Arabia have also approved it.
The Sanofi-GSK candidate is based on technology that Sanofi has used to produce seasonal influenza vaccines and on immunological agents developed by GSK.
“Phase 1/2 study interim results showed an immune response comparable to patients who recovered from COVID-19 in adults aged 18 to 49 years, but a low immune response in older adults likely due to an insufficient concentration of the antigen,” the statement said.
It said a recent study in non-human primates using an improved antigen formulation demonstrated that the candidate could “protect against lung pathology and lead to rapid viral clearance from the nasal passages and lungs, within 2 to 4 days.”
“These results increase the companies’ confidence in the capacity of the adjuvanted recombinant platform to deliver a highly efficient vaccine for all adults,” it said.