the UK to could start vaccinating priority groups, such as health and social care workers, if the treatment proves successful
The UK has signed a deal to supply the nation with up to 60 million doses of a potential life-saving COVID-19 vaccine developed by the pharmaceutical Sanofi and GlaxoSmithKline (GSK).
Clinical studies of the vaccine on Humans will begin in September of this year followed by a phase 3 study of the drug in December.
The British government has now signed off on deals for four different types of potentially critical COVID-19 vaccines and a total of 250 million doses to help fight the coronavirus pandemic.
If the Sanofi/GSK vaccine proves effective, the UK could begin vaccinating its priority groups, which could include frontline health worker and social care staff, as well a those who are at an increased risk from coronavirus due to their health.
The Department for Business, Energy & Industrial Strategy (BEIS) has said that the vaccinations would take place as early as the first half of 2021.
Business Secretary Alok Sharma said: “Our scientists and researchers are racing to find a safe and effective vaccine at a speed and scale never seen before.
“While this progress is truly remarkable, the fact remains that there are no guarantees.”
“In the meantime, it is important that we secure early access to a diverse range of promising vaccine candidates, like GSK and Sanofi, to increase our chances of finding one that works so we can protect the public and save lives.”
This comes after Boris Johnson has warned the nation that there are signs of a ‘second wave’ of COVID-19 in Europe, and has defended a 14-day quarantine for those arriving into the UK from Spain.
Sanofi and GSK, the two companies which first teamed up in April, have confirmed that the necessary regulatory approval for their new coronavirus vaccine could be won by the first half of next year if the clinical trial data was positive.
This comes after public health directors have said that the Prime Minister must address obesity issues in England by tackling poverty and availability of junk food.
Kate Bingham, chairwoman of the Government’s Vaccines Taskforce, said:
“This diversity of vaccine types is important because we do not yet know which, if any, of the different types of vaccine will prove to generate a safe and protective response to COVID-19.”
“Whilst this agreement is very good news, we mustn’t be complacent or over-optimistic.
“The fact remains we may never get a vaccine and, if we do get one, we have to be prepared that it may not be a vaccine which prevents getting the virus, but rather one that reduces symptoms.”
Ministers hope to get 500,000 people signed up by October.
Roger Connor, president of GSK Vaccines, said: “We believe that this adjuvanted vaccine candidate has the potential to play a significant role in overcoming the COVID-19 pandemic, both in the UK and around the world.”
“We thank the UK government for confirmation of purchasing intent, which supports the significant investment we are already making as a company to scale up development and production of this vaccine.”