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GSK FAQs on COVID-19

Does GSK’s vaccine adjuvant system, used to develop adjuvanted COVID-19 vaccine candidates, contain animal-derived squalene?

The use of an adjuvant is of particular importance in a pandemic situation, as it can reduce the amount of antigen required per dose, allowing more vaccine doses to be produced and made available to more people. Squalene is an essential ingredient of our adjuvant system. The squalene commonly used in the pharmaceutical industry is extracted from fish oil (liver) as a by-product from fishing; the production of squalene for use in vaccines is not the main driver of these fishing activities. The amount of squalene needed to manufacture doses of our adjuvant system represents a very small proportion of the animal-derived squalene used worldwide. Research to explore viable alternatives of fish-derived squalene for future use in vaccines is ongoing, including sources from plants or a full synthetic approach. Such alternatives will not be available for the ongoing pandemic.

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