Late-stage data on an experimental Covid-19 vaccine from Sanofi and GSK has showed the shot confers protection against the Omicron variant of the vaccine, the French drugmaker said on June 24.
The vaccine targets the beta variant – first identified in South Africa – as well as the original Wuhan strain of the virus.
In a trial involving 13,000 adults, when given as a first dose the vaccine demonstrated an efficacy rate of 64.7% in people with symptomatic COVID, and 72% efficacy against infections specifically caused by the Omicron variant.
"Sanofi-GSKs vaccine is the first candidate to demonstrate efficacy in a placebo-controlled trial in an environment of high Omicron variant circulation," Sanofi said in a statement.
Sanofi’s Paris-listed shares were up about 1.4% in morning trading.
Frequently Asked Questions
A vaccine works by mimicking a natural infection. A vaccine not only induces immune response to protect people from any future COVID-19 infection, but also helps quickly build herd immunity to put an end to the pandemic. Herd immunity occurs when a sufficient percentage of a population becomes immune to a disease, making the spread of disease from person to person unlikely. The good news is that SARS-CoV-2 virus has been fairly stable, which increases the viability of a vaccine.
There are broadly four types of vaccine — one, a vaccine based on the whole virus (this could be either inactivated, or an attenuated [weakened] virus vaccine); two, a non-replicating viral vector vaccine that uses a benign virus as vector that carries the antigen of SARS-CoV; three, nucleic-acid vaccines that have genetic material like DNA and RNA of antigens like spike protein given to a person, helping human cells decode genetic material and produce the vaccine; and four, protein subunit vaccine wherein the recombinant proteins of SARS-COV-2 along with an adjuvant (booster) is given as a vaccine.
Vaccine development is a long, complex process. Unlike drugs that are given to people with a diseased, vaccines are given to healthy people and also vulnerable sections such as children, pregnant women and the elderly. So rigorous tests are compulsory. History says that the fastest time it took to develop a vaccine is five years, but it usually takes double or sometimes triple that time.