A healthcare worker wearing a protective mask works in a laboratory during clinical trials with a Covid-19 vaccine at the Research Centers of America in Hollywood, Florida, USA
Eva Marie Uzcategui | Bloomberg | Getty Images
European drug manufacturers Sanofi and GlaxoSmithKline will deliver 200 million doses of their Covid-1
Global health organizations, including the GAVI Vaccine Alliance, the Coalition for Epidemiological Contingency Innovations and the WHO, are leading the COVAX effort, which focuses on first vaccinating the most high-risk events in all countries. The deal is conditional on the vaccine gaining regulatory approval, the companies said in a statement.
The initiative aims to deliver 2 billion doses of the vaccine by the end of 2021, although it now competes for scarce doses of promising vaccines with some affluent countries such as the United States, which did not join the COVAX facility and provided hundreds of millions of doses of own hand.
“Since we began working on the development of COVID-19 vaccines, GSK has promised to make them available to people around the world,” Roger Connor, President of GSK Vaccines, said in a statement. He added that “this has the potential to be a significant contribution to the global fight against COVID-19.”
More than 180 countries have so far joined COVAX, the companies said. The WHO says at least 78 higher-income countries, including China and the United Kingdom, have signed.
The WHO has previously acknowledged that there will not be enough vaccine doses for everyone in the world once a candidate is approved for use. The UN Health Agency has published allocation principles that countries can use to draw up a plan for who will only receive immunization when the country receives doses.
The WHO says it intends all countries to receive enough doses to vaccinate 20% of their population, excluding countries that request fewer doses than that before a country receives more doses.
Thomas Triomphe, executive vice president and global head of Sanofi Pasteur, said their dose delivery demonstrates the company’s “commitment to global health and ensures that our COVID-19 vaccines are affordable and accessible to the most vulnerable everywhere in the world” world.”
Sanofi and GSK’s vaccine is further behind in clinical development than some of the frontrunners such as Pfizer, Moderna and AstraZeneca, all of which are in late-stage trials. Sanofi and GSK said they expect results from their Phase Two trial in early December and will then launch a major Phase Three trial. Companies plan to request the approval of the vaccine, if the data support it, in the first half of 2021.
WHO Director – General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus has previously said he is less concerned about getting doses of the first available vaccine and more concerned about getting a large amount of doses of all vaccines.
“The first vaccine that was approved may not be the best,” he said last month. “The more shots on target we have, the greater the chances of a very safe, very effective vaccine.”