Vaccine candidate backed by project to develop affordable jabs begins late-stage trials

A COVID-19 vaccine candidate backed by a project to develop more accessible and affordable jabs has entered late-stage trials.

South Korean firm SK Bioscience and UK-based GlaxoSmithKline (GSK) announced the start of a “phase 3” clinical study involving 4,000 people from a number of countries.

It will compare the effectiveness of the drug, GBP510, against that of the Oxford AstraZeneca vaccine.

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Image: The trial will compare the effectiveness of the drug with that of the Oxford AstraZeneca vaccine

The drug companies said the trial follows “positive” interim results in phase 1 and 2 studies.


Results from the phase 3 study are expected in the first half of next year “after which, subject to positive results and regulatory approval, the vaccine is expected to be supplied at scale worldwide through the COVAX facility”.

COVAX is the World Health Organisation led vaccine sharing programme.

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Thomas Breuer, chief global health officer at GSK, said: “While many countries have made good progress with vaccination, there remains a need for accessible and affordable COVID-19 vaccines to ensure equitable access and to protect people across the world.”

The vaccine candidate is being developed by GSK in collaboration with the Institute for Protein Design at the University of Washington.

It is backed by support from the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation and the Coalition for Epidemic Preparedness Initiative – a partnership between public, private and philanthropic bodies – as part of the Wave 2 investment project “to develop more accessible and affordable COVID-19 vaccines”.

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Gordon Brown: ‘We need to vaccinate the world’

GSK is contributing its pandemic adjuvant, an ingredient that helps vaccines create a stronger immune response.

The use of an adjuvant can reduce the amount of vaccine protein required per dose, allowing more vaccine doses to be produced, GSK said.

Former prime minister Gordon Brown has urged wealthier nations to do more to help vaccinate the entire world, saying it is a decision of “who lives and who dies”.