By Samwel Doe Ouma
Athird Covid-19 shot using GlaxoSmithKline’s adjuvant technology has entered a late-stage clinical trial, as the UK drugmaker seeks to make up lost ground on coronavirus vaccines.
According to Financial Times Newspaper, the vaccine, produced by South Korea’s SK bioscience, will be tested in 4,000 people, after earlier studies showed all participants developed strong antibody responses.
GSK is hoping to distribute doses through the COVAX facility, which supplies low- and middle-income countries with vaccines, in the first half of next year if the results are positive.
GSK decided to supply the adjuvant rather than create its vaccine from scratch, in the hope of having more shots on goal.
But despite being one of the largest vaccine makers, it has lagged behind rivals Pfizer, BioNTech and Moderna, which are set to generate tens of billions of revenue this year.
GSK’s partnership with French drugmaker Sanofi suffered after a mistake in dosing meant they had to repeat an earlier stage trial.
The phase 3 trial for that vaccine, and another with Canadian biotech Medicago, are due to report results in the fourth quarter.
GSK is also partnering with CureVac to create a secondgeneration Covid-19 vaccine using mRNA, the technology that proved successful for Pfizer and BioNTech, and Moderna.
The shot is aimed at targeting several variants of the SARSCOV-2 virus at once. Interim data from the SK bioscience vaccine showed participants’ antibody levels were five to eight times higher than patients who had recovered from Covid-19.
No safety issues were identified. During phase-3 trials, the safety and effectiveness of the SK bioscience GBP510 vaccine will be measured against the Oxford/AstraZeneca jab.
Now that approved vaccines are available, trials are no longer using placebos as comparisons.