GSK to produce 1bn doses of coronavirus vaccine booster in 2021

GlaxoSmithKline plans to produce 1bn doses of vaccine efficacy boosters, or adjuvants, next year for use in Covid-19 treatment.

The world’s largest vaccine maker said it was in talks with governments to back a manufacturing expansion that would help to scale up production of future vaccines for Covid-19.

Coronavirus means science is suddenly being done differently – and so is politics | Paul Nurse

It gave no indication of costs, saying only that production would take place at sites in Europe and North America and that it would reinvest any profit into coronavirus research and preparation for future pandemics.

GSK is working on its own Covid-19 vaccine with the French drugmaker Sanofi, one of the many projects to counter the respiratory illness that currently that has no treatment and has killed about 350,000 people.

Coronavirus: should everyone be wearing face masks?

The World Health Organization (WHO) guidance on face masks has remained consistent during the coronavirus pandemic. It has stuck to the line that masks are for healthcare workers – not the public. 

“Wearing a medical mask is one of the prevention measures that can limit the spread of certain respiratory viral diseases, including Covid-19. However, the use of a mask alone is insufficient to provide an adequate level of protection, and other measures should also be adopted,” the WHO has stated.

Nevertheless, as some countries have eased lockdown conditions, they have been making it mandatory to wear face coverings outside, as a way of trying to inhibit spread of the virus. This is in the belief that the face covering will prevent people who cough and sneeze ejecting the virus any great distance. 

There is no robust scientific evidence – in the form of trials – that ordinary masks block the virus from infecting people who wear them. There is also concerns the public will not understand how to use a mask properly, and may get infected if they come into contact with the virus when they take it off and then touch their faces.

Also underlying the WHO’s concerns is the shortage of high-quality protective masks for frontline healthcare workers.

Nevertheless, masks do have a role when used by people who are already infected. It is accepted that they can block transmission to other people. Given that many people with Covid-19 do not show any symptoms for the first days after they are infected, masks clearly have a potential role to play, especially on crowded public transport as people return to work.

 Sarah Boseley Health editor

Adjuvants, an area where GSK leads many of its peers, have been shown to create a stronger and longer-lasting immunity against infections and allow for lower dosing of the protein in a vaccine, making way for higher-volume production.

“We believe that more than one vaccine will be needed to address this global pandemic and we are working with partners around the world to do so,” said the GSK global vaccines president, Roger Connor.

Experts have predicted a successful vaccine will take more than a year to develop and companies and governments are pouring money into dozens of programmes as their best hope of allowing a durable escape from lockdowns and getting economies expanding again.

The US last week secured almost a third of the first 1bn doses planned for AstraZeneca’s experimental Covid-19 vaccine by pledging up to $1.2bn.

GSK said making its adjuvant available to the world’s poorest countries would be a key part of its efforts.

Source: Read Full Article