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COVID-19 Vaccine: GlaxoSmithKline Starts Human Trials

A coronavirus vaccine being developed in partnership with GlaxoSmithKline has begun human clinical trials.

The FTSE 100 drugs company is providing its adjuvant technology as part of a collaboration with Clover Biopharmaceuticals, of China.

Clover Biopharma and GSK have put the latest coronavirus vaccine into human testing starting phase 1 trial of their SCB-2019 candidate after promising animal studies.

According to GSK’s statement, June 19, the initial results from the study are expected in August, a bigger efficacy trial is expected to start later in 2020.

Adjuvants are added to a vaccine to boost the body’s immune response to produce more antibodies. This is seen as being important in a pandemic, in particular, because it can reduce the amount of vaccine protein required per dose, allowing more vaccine doses to be produced and therefore helping to protect more people.

The Chengdu-based Clover has one of the largest in-house manufacturing capabilities in China, meaning that it can produce large quantities of vaccines.

Chief Medical Officer of Glaxo’s vaccines division, Thomas Breuer, said that its approach “holds the promise to produce vaccines at scale, potentially benefiting millions of people … If this trial is successful, we hope to be in a position to move into more advanced trials later in the year.”

The University of Oxford, working with AstraZeneca Plc, as well as Moderna Inc. and CanSino Biologics Inc., are among the institutions and companies with programs already in clinical trials as governments look for a way to slow the pandemic.