Drugmakers Seek Emergency Authorization For New COVID Vaccine

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Drugmakers Seek Emergency Authorization For New COVID Vaccine
Sanofi's and GSK's vaccine uses a more conventional protein-based vaccine technology.

European drugmakers Sanofi and Glaxosmithkline (GSK) released data showing their COVID vaccine is 100% effective at keeping patients out of the hospital. It has not been independently scientifically reviewed.

Drugmakers Sanofi and GlaxoSmithKline have asked the Food and Drug Administration for emergency use authorization of their vaccine.

"We are confident that this vaccine can play an important role as we continue to address this pandemic and prepare for the post-pandemic period," Roger Connor, president of GSK, said in a statement. 

Sanofi's and GSK's vaccine is based on a more conventional protein-based vaccine technology. It's a recombinant protein vaccine, which means it recombines different segments of DNA. This uses DNA from the SARS-COV-2 spike protein, which COVID needs to enter and infect healthy cells. The combined DNA helps fire up your immune response. This is different from Pfizer and Moderna's mRNA, or messenger RNA, technology. That vaccine uses a genetic code to teach the body's cells how to make proteins that trigger immune responses.

It's also different from Johnson and Johnson's viral vector vaccine. That uses COVID genetic material and hides it in a deactivated common cold-causing adenovirus to fire up the immune system.

Sanofi and GlaxoSmithKline say their two-dose shot was 100% effective against severe disease and hospitalization, 75% effective against moderate-to-severe disease, and 58% effective against symptomatic disease. It's lower than initial 2020 results we saw from the Pfizer and Moderna mRNA vaccines, but we can't directly compare. The virus was very different then. 

As for boosters, when Sanofi and GlaxoSmithKline tested their booster dose after the initial regime, antibody levels jumped 84- to 153-fold. In the other approved vaccines, the antibodies jumped 18- to 30-fold. 

National Institutes of Health research has shown the most dramatic antibody jump from their mix and matching study was for someone who got a J&J vaccine and a Moderna booster, about 75-fold increase.

The FDA and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention have to sign off approval before shots go into arms. If the FDA approves, Americans will likely have access to the Sanofi and GlaxoSmithKline COVID-19 vaccine. Their CEO has said in the past that's because the U.S. was first in line to fund their vaccine research.