Production of another potential vaccine against COVID-19 will begin within weeks, its developers Sanofi and GlaxoSmithKline said Thursday as they launched a large Phase III trial enrolling 35,000 adult volunteers in the United States, Asia, Africa and Latin America.
The study will test the effectiveness of vaccine candidate formulas against the virus that spread from Wuhan, China, and against a variant first seen in South Africa, the pharmaceutical firms said.
If the trial is successful, regulators could approve the vaccine for use in the last three months of the year, the companies said in a statement.
“Manufacturing will begin in the coming weeks to enable rapid access to the vaccine should it be approved,” they added.
“We are encouraged to see first vaccinations starting to take place in such an important, pivotal Phase 3 study,” said Thomas Triomphe, who leads vaccine research and development at Sanofi Pasteur.
The companies said that Phase II results showed the two-shot vaccine had 95% to 100% seroconversion between subjects aged 18 to 95. The study also indicated that the vaccine offered some antibody response following a single shot.