EU secures corona vaccine from Sanofi and GlaxoSmithKline

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The pharmaceutical companies Sanofi and GlaxoSmithKline (GSK) have reached a contractual agreement with the EU Commission on the supply of a potential corona vaccine. The agreement for the delivery of up to 300 million doses was sealed on Friday, Sanofi announced in Paris. The prerequisite is that the vaccine will also receive approval after the ongoing clinical trial phase.

The approval could therefore “be filed in the first half of 2021”. The purchase price was not disclosed. Previously, the French Sanofi Group and the British GSK had announced that a vaccine dose should cost less than ten euros.

EU Health Commissioner Stella Kyriakides said on Friday that an effective vaccine is more important than ever in view of the rising number of corona infections. With the new treaty, the chances are growing that people in the EU and around the world will gradually be able to resume their everyday lives. According to the Commission, the vaccine from Sanofi (France) and GSK (UK) has been tested since September, with the pivotal Phase 3 study expected to follow by the end of 2020.

Sanofi called it an “important milestone in protecting the European population” from Covid-19 lung disease, meaning that the vaccine will be available in all EU countries and manufactured at production sites in Belgium, Italy, Germany and France.

According to Sanofi and GSK, the USA is also investing massively in the research cooperation. Washington hopes that this will initially result in the delivery of 100 million doses of vaccine and in the long term another 500 million doses.

The EU had already signed a contract with the manufacturer AstraZeneca and is planning further agreements with other companies with promising vaccine candidates. However, none of these vaccines has been approved to date. The purchase contracts with advance payment are intended to accelerate the development and mass production of the vaccines.

Meanwhile, the Swiss pharmaceutical company Roche announced that one of its drugs reduces the risk of a particularly severe course of corona-related pneumonia. A Phase 3 study showed that patients receiving Actemra/RoActemra (tocilizumab) were 44 percent less likely to need to be put on a ventilator than a placebo control group. Further studies are ongoing to evaluate the efficacy of the drug, Roche said. Actemra/RoActemra is not yet approved for the treatment of coronary artery disease.

On Friday, the European Medicines Agency (EMA) approved the use of dexamethasone for the treatment of critically ill Covid-19 patients. According to a study, the drug could reduce the mortality rate in certain patients, it announced on Friday. It could be considered for use in adults and adolescents who are on artificial respiration or require additional oxygen. Dexamethasone is already approved in the EU, but for other uses.

— Hector Pascua, with reports from k.at. Picture: stockilyapp.com

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