GSK to produce a billion doses of COVID-19 vaccine booster by 2021

GlaxoSmithKline is to scale up production of its COVID-19 vaccine booster to a billion doses by 2021 to support development of several potential jabs. 

Adjuvants, which boost the immune response caused by a vaccine, could be important should one of the many potential vaccines against the SARS-CoV-2 virus make it through clinical trials. 

Demand for any successful vaccine will be immense and in order to meet global demands it will be important to use small amounts of vaccine protein to ensure there is enough to go round. 

Adjuvants can also enhance the immune response and have been shown to create a stronger and longer-lasting immunity against infections. 

Sanofi has partnered with several different pharmas and biotechs producing potential vaccines against COVID-19. 

These include France’s Sanofi and China’s Xiamen Innovex, after CEO Emma Walmsley pledged to make the adjuvant technology available at a summit at the White House involving the world’s pharma leaders and president Donald Trump at the beginning of March.

Confirmation of the enhanced manufacturing capacity follows completion of a review conducted across the company’s global supply network. GSK will manufacture, fill and finish the adjuvant for use in COVID-19 vaccines at sites in the UK, US, Canada and Europe. 

GSK has decided to scale up manufacturing of the adjuvant at risk as there are no vaccines approved to treat COVID-19. 

It is in talks with governments and global institutions about funding for production and supply of the adjuvant. 

The company says it does not expect to profit from sales of its portfolio of collaborations for COVID-19 vaccines during the pandemic phase of the COVID-19 outbreak. 

Profit generated will be invested in support of coronavirus related research and long-term pandemic preparedness, either through GSK’s internal investments, or with external partners. 

It added that it is committed to making the adjuvant available to people across the world. This could include donations to the world’s poorest countries, and will work with governments and institutions to prioritise access. 

According to a regularly-updated document maintained by the World Health Organization, there are 10 vaccines in clinical trials for COVID-19, and 115 in preclinical development. 

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