Pharmaceutical giant Sanofi said on Friday that it would be able to produce up to 600 million doses of vaccine next year if its clinical trials with GlaxoSmithKline (GSK) go as planned. Sanofi and GSK entered into a partnership a couple days ago to speed up development of a vaccine for the novel coronavirus.

The drugmakers plan to start initial clinical tests of the vaccine prototype this year itself. A number of pharma and biotech companies are joining forces to develop potential drugs, vaccine and therapies for the novel coronavirus. The coronavirus crisis has left countries across the globe battered and bruised. So far 2,200,000 have been tested positive for coronavirus with over 148,500 deaths.

Sanofi confident of producing vaccine

Sanofi
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Sanofi CEO Paul Hudson in an interview to CNBC's Squawk Box said that he was confident about the company churning out up to 600 million doses next year of vaccine if clinical tests are successful. "We believe we're one of the few companies who will be able to make a vaccine at a huge scale," he said.

Sanofi and GSK entered into a partnership on Tuesday to develop a potential coronavirus vaccine. The companies expect to start initial clinical tests of the vaccine prototype in the second half of the year. If successful, the vaccine would be available in the second half of 2021.

Sanofi and GlaxoSmithKline's collaboration is by far one of the biggest in the wake of the coronavirus pandemic. Hudson also said that the only way out to bring the world back on its feet is by developing a vaccine.

Drugmakers in race to produce Covid-19 vaccine

GSK's new inhaler
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Also, media reports on Friday claimed that severe coronavirus patients were responding positively to Gilead Science's experimental treatment, remdesivir. According to STAT, a new website, a large number of COVID-19 patients at Chicago hospital being treated with this antiviral medication for trial have witnessed rapid recoveries and have been discharged.

There are currently no drugs or therapies to treat Covid-19 and drugmakers across the world are speeding up development to come up with a vaccine, which most say will take at least 12 to 18 months. Sanofi is also donating does of hydrochloroquine, a malaria drug, which has been touted by President Donald Trump as a potential cure for the deadly coronavirus. Hydrochloroquine is also in its clinical trials and effectiveness of the drug is being examined.

Although the Federal Drug Administration (FDA) hasn't approved any drug or therapy for Covid-19, a few companies have already started early stages of clinical trial of drugs. Earlier, pharmaceutical giant Johnson and Johnson had said that if human trials of its potential coronavirus vaccine, which is expected to go underway by September falls in place, it will be able to produce between 600 and 900 million doses of the vaccine by the end of 2021.

Big players join forces

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Not only Sanofi and GSK, a number of other big biotech companies too are collaborating to develop potential coronavirus vaccine. Earlier this month, Amgen partnered with Adaptive Biotechnologies to discover and develop antibodies that can be used to treat and prevent the Wuhan virus.

Around 80 candidates for the vaccine are being developed by companies and academic institutions across the world. Of these, around seven are in the early stages of human clinical trials. Researchers say that drugmakers are working day and night to develop a vaccine in 12 to 18 months, which would otherwise have taken around 10 years. However, there's equal chance of failure too.