Sanofi accelerates its schedule for the development of the coronavirus vaccine
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After falling behind its competitors at the start of clinical trials, French drug maker Sanofi announced plans to speed up a vaccine development timeline that could gain regulatory approval sometime next year, perhaps in the first half of 2021, the company announced Tuesday.
The company and its partner in the effort, GlaxoSmithKline, originally projected that a vaccine would be available, at the earliest, in the second half of next year.
Like other contenders in the race for a coronavirus vaccine, Sanofi is eager to move forward. Still, “such a rapid and intense scale of vaccine production is unprecedented,” and the future is unknown, said Padmini Pillai, an immunologist at MIT.
The Sanofi-GSK vaccine contains a laboratory-synthesized version of the coronavirus “spike” protein, which decorates the virus’s surface and is crucial to its ability to enter host cells. This so-called recombinant vaccine is also formulated with one of GSK’s proprietary adjuvants, compounds that can enhance the body’s immune response to a strange attack, in theory by increasing the staying power of a given vaccine.
A combined Phase I / II clinical trial for the vaccine, originally scheduled for December 2020, will now begin in September. The goal is to have the recombinant vaccine fully licensed by June 2021.
At Tuesday’s briefings, both companies expressed confidence in their collaboration and their potential to deliver a successful vaccine. Sanofi’s history with vaccine development is profound; Its production lines are responsible for hundreds of millions of doses of the flu vaccine each year.
“As all eyes are on prevention of infectious diseases through vaccines, this is a point in time when we are being asked to find innovative ways to protect public health,” Thomas Triomphe, Executive Vice President of Sanofi Pasteur, the company’s global vaccine business. unit said in a statement.
Sanofi is also developing a separate set of vaccine candidates with Translate Bio, an American therapeutics company, in a slightly less accelerated time frame. This second batch of recipes is based on mRNA technology, an approach taken by several of Sanofi’s competitors, including Moderna and a partnership between BioNTech, Pfizer and Fosun Pharma.
Such mRNA vaccines are new; to date, none have been authorized for use in humans. Still, they have been touted as a potential improvement over their predecessors, especially for their scalability and versatility, Dr. Pillai said. They are designed to induce human cells to make proteins that resemble those produced by the coronavirus, thus avoiding the need for the pathogen itself. The goal is to elicit a strong immune response that protects the body from disease if the virus tries to settle.
Saad Omer, a vaccine researcher and director of the Yale Institute of Global Health, said Sanofi, a company with remarkable “large-scale vaccine manufacturing and distribution muscle memory,” was well prepared to push forward innovative vaccine formulations, such as those containing mRNA. But “that doesn’t mean we shouldn’t be cautious when projecting timelines,” added Dr. Omer.
Updated June 22, 2020
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I heard about a treatment called dexamethasone. Works?
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So far, the evidence seems to show that it does. A widely cited article published in April suggests that people are most infectious approximately two days before the onset of coronavirus symptoms, and estimated that 44 percent of new infections were the result of transmission from people who still had no symptoms. Recently, a leading expert from the World Health Organization stated that transmission of the coronavirus by people without symptoms was “very rare”, but later withdrew that claim.
What is the risk of contracting coronavirus from a surface?
Touching contaminated objects and then becoming infected with germs is not usually the way the virus spreads. But it can happen. Several studies of the flu, rhinovirus, coronavirus, and other microbes have shown that respiratory diseases, including the new coronavirus, can spread by touching contaminated surfaces, particularly in places such as daycares, offices, and hospitals. But a long chain of events has to happen for the disease to spread that way. The best way to protect yourself from the coronavirus, be it superficial transmission or close human contact, is still social distancing, washing your hands, not touching your face, and wearing masks.
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How many people have lost their jobs due to coronavirus in the United States?
The unemployment rate fell to 13.3 percent in May, the Labor Department said on June 5, an unexpected improvement in the nation’s job market as hiring rebounded faster than economists had expected. Economists had forecast the unemployment rate would rise to 20 percent, after reaching 14.7 percent in April, which was the highest since the government began keeping official statistics after World War II. But the unemployment rate fell instead, with employers adding 2.5 million jobs, after more than 20 million jobs were lost in April.
My state is reopening. Is it safe to go out?
States are slowly reopening. This means that more public spaces are available for use and more and more companies are able to reopen. The federal government is largely leaving the decision to the states, and some state leaders are leaving the decision to local authorities. Even if you are not told to stay home, it is a good idea to limit travel abroad and your interaction with other people.
What are the symptoms of coronavirus?
Common symptoms include fever, dry cough, fatigue, and shortness of breath or shortness of breath. Some of these symptoms overlap with those of the flu, making detection difficult, but runny nose and congested sinuses are less common. The CDC has also added chills, muscle pain, sore throat, headache, and a new loss of sense of taste or smell as symptoms to watch out for. Most people get sick five to seven days after exposure, but symptoms can appear in as little as two days or up to 14 days.
How can I protect myself while I fly?
If air travel is unavoidable, there are a few steps you can take to protect yourself. Most importantly: wash your hands often and stop touching your face. If possible, choose a window seat. An Emory University study found that during the flu season, the safest place to sit on a plane is by a window, as people sitting in window seats had less contact with potentially sick people . Disinfect hard surfaces. When you get to your seat and your hands are clean, use sanitizing wipes to wipe down hard surfaces on your seat such as head and armrest, seat belt buckle, remote control, display, back pocket and tray table. If the seat is hard and nonporous, or leather or leather, you can also clean it. (Using wipes on upholstered seats may cause a wet seat and spread of germs instead of killing them.)
What should I do if I feel sick?
If you have been exposed to, or think you have, the coronavirus, and you have a fever or symptoms such as cough or shortness of breath, call a doctor. They should give you advice on whether to get tested, how to get tested, and how to seek medical treatment without infecting or exposing others.
Sanofi-Translate Bio mRNA vaccines are currently in preclinical testing. Sanofi expects Phase I trials to begin in late 2020, and hopes to gain approval from regulatory bodies like the US Food and Drug Administration. USA Or the European Medicines Agency by the end of 2021. As part of this push, the French company has announced that it will expand its collaboration with Translate Bio, reaching an agreement in which the US group will receive $ 425 million in advance payments.
If a coronavirus vaccine mix, made by Sanofi and its partners, or by one of their competitors, meets the brand sometime next year, it will be a record. Most vaccines take many years, if not decades, to develop. The particular mRNA formulation would be the “first of its kind” if approved, said Asher Williams, a chemical engineer at Cornell University.
But there are many obstacles. The researchers are wisely searching for multiple types of vaccines, Dr. Omer said, since different recipes, each with different pieces of the coronavirus, are likely to vary in effectiveness. A multiple approach is a good way for the global community to hedge its bets to slow the spread of the disease.
“I think there are reasons to be cautiously optimistic,” said Dr. Omer. “But we must not get ahead of ourselves.”
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