Omicron: GP explains ‘overwhelming’ science behind vaccines
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The two-dose vaccine, which could also be used as a single-shot booster, was developed by GlaxoSmithKline (GSK) along with French pharmaceutical giant Sanofi. Late-stage trial data has shown that the vaccine was 100 percent effective in preventing severe disease and hospitalisation.
Results also revealed that it had 75 percent efficacy against moderate-to-severe disease.
And it showed 58 per cent efficacy against symptomatic disease.
The drugmakers are now seeking regulatory approval before they submit data from the phase 3 clinical trial.
Sanofi and GSK also ran a second trial which found that the shot boosted antibody levels by 18- to 30-fold in people who had already received an earlier jab when it was used as a booster shot.
Full results of the two studies are set to be released “later this year”, the companies have said.
Sanofi now plans to manufacture the vaccine across the world, including in France, Italy and the US.
The new vaccine uses the conventional protein-based approach to train up the body’s immune system.
But vaccines like Pfizer-BioNTech and Moderna use newer mRNA technology and have already been rolled out on a large scale across the globe.
The protein technology used in the new vaccine has also been used in Novavax’s Covid vaccine, which has recently been approved.
Roger Connor, President of GSK vaccines, was positive about the role his company’s new vaccine could play in helping in the fight against the virus.
He said: “We are confident that this vaccine can play an important role as we continue to address this pandemic and prepare for the post-pandemic period.”
The announcement also comes after the Omicron variant appeared to be spreading rapidly, sparking fears that the mutation could penetrate the defences of people who had already been vaccinated.
But Thomas Triomphe, executive vice president for Sanofi Vaccines, said the new vaccine might be able to put those fears to bed.
He said: “No other global Phase 3 efficacy study has been undertaken during this period with so many variants of concern, including Omicron, and these efficacy data are similar to the recent clinical data from authorised vaccines.”
The new vaccine also uses similar technology to one of Sanofi’s vaccines used for seasonal influenza vaccines.
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It has been paired with GSK’s adjuvant, a substance that ramps up the effectiveness of a jab.
It is also reportedly easier to store and transport than vaccines made by other pharmaceutical companies.
Different vaccines need to be stored at different temperatures.
The Moderna vaccine has to be stored at -20 degrees Celsius, while Pfizer’s jab requires a temperature of -70 C.
Sanofi and GSK were supposed to get authorisation for their shot last year, but put those plans on ice after clinical trials produced poor results in older adults.
But following this, they created a stronger version of the vaccine and have since tested it in new trials.
Last year, the US, the UK, and the Netherlands had to chuck out tens of thousands of COVID-19 vaccine doses that expired.
By March 2021, the US had already thrown out 180,000 vaccine doses.
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