Pharmaceutical giant GlaxoSmithKline’s (GSK) partnership with Sanofi has brought a vaccine that prevents COVID-19 infection-related severe disease and hospitalizations.
Companies like Pfizer have used mRNA to mimic the viral structure. However, AstraZeneca has used genetic engineering to modify a chimpanzee virus to behave like one that causes COVID but without its lethality.
In this technique, harmless protein fragments from the virus are used to train the body’s immune system so that it can launch an appropriate response when the actual virus arrives. These protein fragments are synthesized in other organisms such as yeast or bacteria and then harvested and purified being mixed with an adjuvant that can trigger an immune response when injected into the host.
The vaccine can be stored at normal refrigerator temperatures, avoiding the need for ultracold storage, and making it possible to take the vaccine to distant places in the world.
The companies have now released preliminary data from these trials that were conducted in over 10,000 individuals at multiple sites in Africa, Asia, and Latin America, in addition to those in the U.S.
The two-dose regimen of the vaccine showed 100 percent efficacy in preventing severe COVID-19 disease including hospitalizations while being 75 percent effective in preventing moderate to severe disease.
“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 authorized vaccines,” said Thomas Triomphe, Executive Vice President, Sanofi Vaccines, in the press release.
The companies have also tested the vaccine as a booster, after the vaccination with Pfizer or AstraZeneca’s vaccine.
Neutralizing antibodies were seen to have increased by 18 to 30-fold in individuals who received the previous vaccine from a different platform. The antibody levels were 84 to 153-fold higher in individuals who had received GSK-Sanofi’s protein subunit vaccines as their previous dose.
GSK-Sanofi wants the vaccine to be approved as a booster in these areas and will submit its applications for regulatory approvals shortly.