THE Government has today announced a deal with Sanofi and GlaxoSmithKline to secure the UK early access to 60 million doses of their promising Covid-19 vaccine.
If the vaccine candidate is proven effective in human studies, the UK could be able to vaccinate priority groups – such as frontline health and social care workers and the vulnerable – as soon as the first half of 2021.
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Human clinical studies of the vaccine will begin in September followed by a Phase 3 study in December 2020.
With today's announcement, the Government has now secured early access to four different types of immunisation and a total of 250 million doses.
Financial terms of the agreement were not disclosed.
Business Secretary Alok Sharma said: "Our scientists and researchers are racing to find a safe and effective vaccine at a speed and scale never seen before.
"While this progress is truly remarkable, the fact remains that there are no guarantees.
"In the meantime, it is important that we secure early access to a diverse range of promising vaccine candidates, like GSK and Sanofi, to increase our chances of finding one that works so we can protect the public and save lives."
Kate Bingham, chair of the government's vaccines taskforce, said: "Through this agreement with GSK and Sanofi, we can add another type of vaccine to the three different types of vaccine we have already secured.
"This diversity of vaccine types is important because we do not yet know which, if any, of the different types of vaccine will prove to generate a safe and protective response to COVID-19. Whilst this agreement is very good news, we mustn't be complacent or over optimistic.
"The fact remains we may never get a vaccine and if we do get one, we have to be prepared that it may not be a vaccine which prevents getting the virus, but rather one that reduces symptoms."
Last week the UK secured 90 million doses of a potential vaccine to make sure Brits are first in line for a jab.
That deal is being developed by an alliance between the pharmaceutical giants BioNtech and Pfizer as well as the firm Valneva.
This is in addition to the 100 million doses of a vaccine being developed by Oxford University with AstraZeneca.
It comes as Boris Johnson warned there are signs of a second wave sweeping Europe.
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