Our contribution to the fight against 2019-nCOV

As a leader in science and innovation, we believe we can help to contribute to the fight against 2019-nCOV with one of our advanced vaccine adjuvant systems.

On 7 January 2020, a novel coronavirus (2019-nCoV) was identified as the cause of pneumonia cases in Wuhan City, Hubei Province of China. Additional cases have since been found in a number of countries, which so far can all be traced back to Wuhan City, China. 

What are coronaviruses? 

Coronaviruses are a family of viruses that can lead to respiratory illness, including Middle East Respiratory Syndrome (MERS-CoV) and Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome (SARS-CoV). They are transmitted between animals and people and can evolve into strains not previously identified in humans. 

How are we helping the global effort to develop a vaccine? 

We have announced a new collaboration with CEPI to make our established pandemic vaccine adjuvant platform technology available to enhance the development of an effective vaccine against 2019-nCoV. CEPI is an innovative partnership between public, private, philanthropic, and civil organisations, launched at Davos in 2017, to develop vaccines to stop future epidemics. 

What is an adjuvant?

An adjuvant is added to some vaccines to enhance the immune response, thereby creating 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 can reduce the amount of antigen required per dose, allowing more vaccine doses to be produced and made available to more people. 

Our adjuvant technology has previously been used successfully in the pandemic flu setting.  It enables using only small quantities of the vaccine antigen which allows the production of more doses of the vaccine – a crucial advantage in a pandemic.

This announcement complements 4 prior CEPI programmes of work relating to 2019-nCoV vaccine development already announced by CEPI, in partnership with: CureVac; Inovio; The University of Queensland; and Moderna, Inc. and the U.S. National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases. These partnerships seek to improve the scientific understanding of the novel coronavirus, and to develop vaccines against it. These programmes will leverage rapid response platforms already supported by CEPI with the aim of advancing 2019-nCoV vaccine candidates into clinical testing as quickly as possible.  Both CEPI and GSK are committed to principles of equitable access and will work together in this collaboration to ensure that this principle governs the development, use and access of any 2019 nCoV vaccine developed through the collaboration.