GSK: Supporting research and production of a COVID-19 vaccine

GSK has been exploring vaccine development, protecting the health and wellbeing of employees and managing global supply chains to support patients and consumers.

COVID-19: Our members taking responsible business action

Business in the Community (BITC) member GSK is closely monitoring the COVID-19 pandemic and is supporting global efforts to tackle the virus. Since the outbreak, the global healthcare company has been actively exploring ways to help with their science and expertise to accelerate the development of a safe and effective vaccine. Alongside these efforts GSK has been protecting the health and wellbeing of its people and managing their global supply chains to support patients and consumers.

We are deeply committed to supporting the global response to the coronavirus pandemic. Using GSK science and technology, we are helping develop potential new vaccines and new medicines to prevent and treat COVID-19. We will also make our resources available to help scale the global response, whether that be through manufacture of a vaccine, laboratory space to conduct research or financial support to provide vital equipment to health workers

Emma Walmsley, Chief Executive Officer, GSK

Supporting research and production of candidate COVID-19 vaccines

GSK’s initial response to the outbreak of COVID-19 has been to make their vaccine adjuvant technology available to scientists and organisations working on candidate vaccines. An adjuvant is added to some vaccines to enhance the immune system’s response, and helps create a stronger and longer lasting immunity against infections than the vaccine alone.

The use of an adjuvant is of particular importance in a pandemic situation since it may reduce the amount of vaccine protein required per dose, which allows more vaccine doses to be produced and protect more people.

GSK expects data to be reported from the various collaborations over the next three months and this information will inform next steps for clinical development of the potential vaccines.

Helping frontline health workers and offering expertise

GSK is donating $10m to The COVID-19 Solidarity Response Fund, created by the UN Foundation and WHO, to support WHO and partners to prevent, detect, and manage the pandemic, particularly where the needs are the greatest.

Among its objectives, the fund will enable distribution of essential supplies such as personal protective equipment (PPE) to frontline health workers. GSK is also donating surplus reagents to support diagnostic testing to several countries and is preparing to do the same for surplus PPE.

GSK has also initiated new volunteering processes for people working at the company, to enable those with medical expertise to provide support to frontline health workers, while at the same time ensuring we protect supply and development of their medicines and vaccines. Initiatives have also been started to use salesforce personnel to help with delivery of PPE and testing equipment, and for specialists, such as procurement leaders, to work with national governments on developing supply chains.

Taking action to deliver high-demand consumer healthcare products

GSK Consumer Healthcare is prioritising actions in its supply chain to deliver more products that are in high demand, due to COVID-19. This includes increasing production for pain relief brands such as Panadol and multi-vitamins and dietary supplements such as Emergen-C and Centrum.

Two of the world’s largest vaccine companies working together

Since the initial work into a potential vaccine began, GSK has announced that they will be joining up with Sanofi in an unprecedented collaboration—bringing together two of the world’s biggest vaccine companies, with proven pandemic technologies and significant scale, all with the aim of developing a COVID-19 vaccine.

They plan to start Phase I clinical trials in the next few months and, if successful and subject to regulatory considerations, aim to complete the development required to make the vaccine available by the second half of 2021. 

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