Competition for the Covid-19 vaccine suffered two setbacks as Sanofi and GlaxoSmithKline delayed the rollout of their jobs until the end of next year, leaving Australia with a shot at creating a “false positive” for HIV.
Sanofi of France and GSK of the UK said on Friday that their vaccines had failed to build strong immunity among the elderly, as they explained the delay until at least the end of 2021.
Hours earlier, the Australian government had said that the Indigenous Covid-19 vaccine would be dropped even after most candidates tested positive for HIV, even though they were not infected with the AIDS-causing virus.
The developments are reminiscent of the difficulty of creating jobs at a pace several weeks later, with other developers hoping for big progress in bringing the epidemic under control by 2021.
Sanofi and GSK said that the initial test results “showed an immune response in patients aged 18 to 49 years compared to patients recovering from Covid-19, but lower immunity in older adults due to insufficient concentration of antigen” – a reference molecule that stimulates the immune system. By
GSK had earlier said it expected regulatory approval in the first half of next year. The United Kingdom has ordered 60 million doses of the Sanofi / GSK vaccine.
The companies said they plan to study further with improved antigen formation and that the product was expected to be available in the fourth quarter of next year if the development plan is successfully completed.
Both companies said they were disappointed with the results. Roger Connor, President of GSK Global Vaccines, said: “Our goal now is to work closely with our partner Sanofi to develop this vaccine, through the development of advanced antigens, so that it can make a meaningful contribution to Covid-19 prevention.”
The Australian vaccine was developed by the University of Queensland and the pharmaceutical company CSL, which said it would not proceed to the second and third clinical trials due to concerns that it would interfere with HIV testing methods and erode public confidence.
They emphasized that the vaccine could not cause HIV infection and that follow-up tests confirmed that HIV was not present among test participants.
The developers say there are problems with the use of small pieces of protein derived from HIV to make molecular clamps, which have kept the vaccine’s synthetic coronavirus in place. They said test participants produced antibodies to the protein, known as GP41, which interfered with specific HIV tests, they said.
According to CSL / UQ, the vaccine has a strong immune response and a strong protective profile. However, according to both organizations, the introduction of the vaccine will require significant changes in the method of testing for HIV.
Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison has said the cancellation of the UQ / CSL vaccine will not delay the country’s vaccination program, as CSL will soon begin production of rival vaccines soon.
The Canberras announced that they had purchased 31 million additional doses of rival vaccines produced by the University of AstraZeneca / Oxford and NovaVax. It has already signed an agreement with Pfizer / Bioentech.
Australia plans to launch its vaccination program in March, arguing that its success in curbing the spread of the vaccine means it did not have to rush through vaccine approval.
Additional report by Sarah Neville in London