GSK to produce one billion doses of coronavirus vaccine booster in 2021

FILE PHOTO: FILE PHOTO: A GlaxoSmithKline (GSK) logo is seen at the GSK research centre in Stevenage, Britain November 26, 2019. REUTERS/Peter Nicholls/File Photo

(Reuters) – GlaxoSmithKline Plc (GSK.L) will expand production of vaccine efficacy boosters, or adjuvants, to produce one billion doses in 2021 for use in shots for COVID-19, the British drugmaker said on Thursday.

The London-listed company said it was in talks with governments on backing for the programme, which would effectively allow for a scaling up of production of future successful vaccines for the disease caused by the novel coronavirus.

GSK is one of several companies in the race to develop a vaccine for the respiratory illness that currently has no treatment and has already killed about 350,000 people.

The British drugmaker is working on its own COVID vaccine with Sanofi (SASY.PA).

Adjuvants have been shown to create a stronger and longer-lasting immunity against infections.

GSK’s adjuvant can reduce the amount of vaccine protein required per dose, which would allow for more vaccines to be made, the British drugmaker said.

Experts have predicted that a successful vaccine will take over a year to develop, and companies and governments are pouring money into dozens of programmes as the only viable solution that will allow the world to escape durably from coronavirus lockdowns and get economies moving again.

Reporting by Pushkala Aripaka and Aakash Jagadeesh Babu in Bengaluru; Editing by Shounak Dasgupta

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