RESEARCH TRIANGLE PARK – Drugmakers Sanofi and GlaxoSmithKline have agreed to provide 200 million doses of their potential COVID-19 vaccine to the COVAX Facility, a collaboration designed to give countries around the world equal access to coronavirus vaccines.

The Sanofi-GSK vaccine candidate is in early stage trials, with results expected in early December. The drugmakers said Wednesday that they plan to begin phase three trial by the end of the year and request regulatory approval of the vaccine in the first half of 2021.

“Since we started working on the development of COVID-19 vaccines, GSK has pledged to make them available to people around the world. We are proud to be working with Sanofi to make this adjuvanted recombinant protein-based vaccine available to the countries signed up to the COVAX Facility as soon as possible – this has the potential to be a significant contribution to the global fight against COVID-19,” said Roger Connor, President of GSK Vaccines.

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The facility is part of COVAX, a coalition of governments, health organizations, businesses and charities working to accelerate the development of COVID-19 vaccines.

Thomas Triomphe, Executive Vice President and Global Head of Sanofi Pasteur, explained: “To address a global health crisis of this magnitude, it takes unique partnerships. The commitment we are announcing today for the COVAX Facility can help us together stand a better chance of bringing the pandemic under control. This moment also reflects our long-term commitment to global health and ensures our COVID-19 vaccines are affordable and accessible to those most at risk, everywhere in the world.”

Almost 44 million people have been confirmed to be infected with the virus worldwide and 1.16 million of them have died, according to a tally by Johns Hopkins University. Experts say the true toll of the pandemic is much greater than that, due to limited testing, missed mild cases and concealment of cases by some governments.

GSK has significant operations in the Triangle area and a manufacturing plant in Zebulon.

GSK, Sanofi launching clinical trial of potential COVID-19 vaccine