Sanofi’s CEO Says Its mRNA Based Covid-19 Vaccine Will Not Be Available This Year

The vaccine candidate against Covid-19 that is being developed jointly by the French drug maker Sanofi and Translate Bio of the United States “will not be ready this year”, announced the French firm’s chief executive in an interview to Le Journal du Dimanche newspaper.

The company executive said that it is likely that the company will begin this quarter the clinical trials of its vaccine candidate. This vaccine is being developed on the basis of the a technology known as mRNA which has also been the basis for the development of the Covid-19 vaccines from Pfizer/BioNTech and Moderna which have already been approved by regulators around the world and are currently being administered to people.

The company was targeting “earliest potential approval” of its Covid-19 vaccine by the second half of 2021 after the French company had obtained positive preclinical data for the candidate, Sanofi had said in December last year.

However the company’s chief executive Paul Hudson was quoted as saying that it will not be possible for it to get the vaccine ready for use even in this year but it could instead be used at a later stage which would also be important if the fight against the variants of the coronavirus was to continue. No further details were offered by the company executive in the interview.

This bit of announcement could add on to the already existing problems for Sanofi. The company is also struggling to deal with the delay in the development of another of its Covid-19 vaccine candidate which the company hopes to be able to bring to the market and patients. For that other vaccine, Sanofi has struck a partnership with the British pharma company GlaxoSmithKline.

In an announcement made last year by the two companies, executives stunned investors of both the companies by warning that their Covid-19 vaccine that was based on the traditional protein based technology exhibited an insufficient immune response among older people. The two companies said that this development potentially delayed the launching of that vaccine to the end of the current year.

Starting July this year, Sanofi would be filling and packing millions of doses of the vaccine from Pfizer/BioNTech which, the company had announced last month in an effort to appease its critics, said analysts.

Covid-19, the disease that is caused by the novel coronavirus first emerged in December of 2019 in Wuhan city in China and then spread throughout the world and turned into a pandemic which has  so far made about 108 million people across the world ill while causing the death of more than 2.4 million of the infected people.

Mass vaccination programs have been launched by countries all over the world since the beginning of the current year which have yielded mixed results. The situation of the pandemic has been aggravated by the identification and emergence of a number of variants of the coronavirus which have been found to be more communicable among humans than the original strain. Scientists are yet to confirm whether the new variants a are of the virus are more deadly than the original one.

(Adapted from BusinessTimes.com)

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