Sanofi, one of the world’s main vaccine producers, is working on the development of two vaccines against Covid-19, expected to be produced in 2021.
The French company claims to be very well placed to produce a vaccine, which would be reliable and available in large quantities.
Another vaccine, developed by British GSK, uses so-called recombinant DNA technology, already used for an influenza vaccine. It is expected to undergo clinical trials in September and be available in the first half of 2021, a little earlier than what Sanofi initially announced. The group says it can produce up to a billion doses a year.
Sanofi would welcome the success of any laboratory that offers an effective and safe vaccine, but “there is a good chance that it will not happen. We are a little slower but we are more likely to succeed,” assured Sanofi’s managing director Paul Hudson during a press briefing earlier in the week.
Sanofi is also collaborating with Translate Bio, a US based biotechnology company, for a vaccine based on mRNA technology. The laboratory plans to start a phase I clinical study by the end of the year and, if positive, obtain approval in the second half of next year for mass production.
Other laboratories have already started clinical trials, including American biotech Moderna, which wants to enter its third and last phase in July.
British Pharmaceutical giant AstraZeneca and the University of Oxford say they expect results this fall on the effectiveness of the vaccine they are currently jointly developing.
Asked about this apparent delay compared to Sanofi’s competitors, Hudson confidently said: “We are the only vaccine in the race that offers a proven platform that works on a large scale,” based on the recombinant DNA technology. “Our over 70% probability of obtaining efficacy (on the vaccine) is probably higher than anyone else’s.”
Sanofi, which had caused anger in May by mentioning the possibility of serving the United States first, reiterated its desire to make its potential vaccine available to all.