Sanofi, GSK Team Up for New COVID-19 Booster With Omicron Protection

As major healthcare organizations scramble to develop a COVID-19 vaccine capable of protecting individuals against breakthrough infections from Omicron and other alarming, highly contagious variants, global healthcare titan Sanofi has announced promising results from a pair of trials for its next-gen booster candidate. Modeled on the Beta variant antigen, it features an adjuvant provided by GlaxoSmithKline (GSK).

“COVID-19 keeps evolving, and the combination of emergence of variants and waning immunity is likely to lead to the need for additional booster shots, at least in some populations,” said Sanofi Vaccines Executive Vice President Thomas Triomphe. “The Beta variant expresses similar mutations across multiple variants of concern, including Omicron, making it a strong vaccine candidate to confer broad protection against multiple strains of COVID-19.”

Become a Subscriber

Please purchase a subscription to continue reading this article.

Subscribe Now

The company’s VAT02 Cohort 2 phase-3 study saw the booster candidate lift antibody titers (levels) above baseline when pitted against a handful of targeted variants. They were raised around 15-fold in the presence of the D614 parent virus, while interaction with the Beta variant in an adult grouping that had previous mRNA vaccinations saw a 30-fold increase. In terms of the Omicron BA.1 variant, an impressive 40-fold gain in antibody titers occurred with the new candidate—doubling the number of neutralizing antibodies from the original booster based on the parent COVID-19 virus.

In the COVIBOOST VAT013 study, which was independently conducted, Pfizer-BioNTech’s booster’s neutralizing antibody titer count was far outmatched by the Sanofi-GSK candidate. The latter joint effort’s first-gen booster, as well as the Pfizer-BioNTech iteration, were aimed at fighting the original D614 strain of the virus, and this next-gen version ran circles around them in that capacity.