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Photo: STR/NurPhoto via Getty Images

Sanofi and GSK announced this morning their COVID-19 vaccine candidate demonstrated a strong immune response in adults in a phase 2 clinical trial.

Why it matters: Sanofi and GSK say their recombinant protein-based vaccine candidate could ultimately serve as a universal COVID-19 vaccine booster, able to boost immunity regardless of the vaccination first received.

Details: Sanofi and GSK said the vaccine triggered an antibody response in 95% to 100% of all the trial participants, ages 18 to 95, who got the vaccine.

  • The companies also observed a "high immune response after a single dose in patients" who previously recovered from COVID-19, which shows the vaccine has strong booster potential.
  • It's a promising development after the companies had to delay their vaccine in December to improve immune response in older adults. Still, it's also important to point out this is a phase 2 clinical trial, a relatively small study with 722 volunteers in the U.S. and Honduras.

A global Phase 3 trial with more than 35,000 participants from various countries is expected to start in the coming weeks to test the efficacy of two vaccine formulations against variants, officials said.

  • In parallel, the companies also plan to conduct booster studies.
  • Should the candidate prove successful in clearing Phase 3 testing and other regulatory hurdles, officials said a vaccine could be approved by the end of 2021.

Go deeper

Updated 14 hours ago - Politics & Policy

Omicron dashboard

Illustration: Shoshana Gordon/Axios

  1. Health: Concerns grow over CDC's isolation guidelines — Experts warn of more COVID-19 variants after Omicron.
  2. Vaccines: America's vaccination drive runs out of gas — Puerto Rico expands booster shot requirements.
  3. Politics: Joint Chiefs chair Gen. Mark Milley tests positive for COVID-19 — Vivek Murthy calls SCOTUS vaccine mandate block "a setback for public health."
  4. Economy: Report: World's 10 richest men doubled wealth during pandemicAmerica's labor shortage is bigger than the pandemic.
  5. States: America struggles to keep schools open — Youngkin ends mandates for masks in schools and COVID vaccinations for state workers.
  6. World: Greece imposes vaccine mandate for people 60 and older — French parliament passes COVID vaccine passport legislation.
  7. Variant tracker

Cruise lines step up pandemic protocols as Delta rages

The Carnival Cruise Line ship Mardi Gras departing from Port Canaveral, Florida, in July. Photo: Paul Hennessy/Anadolu Agency via Getty Images

Cruise lines are tightening pandemic protocols as the Delta variant of COVID-19 surges globally, with Carnival Cruise Line the latest to tighten vaccine requirements.

Why it matters: Cruise ships were a coronavirus epicenter early in the pandemic, and the CDC advised last Friday that people at increased risk of severe illness from the coronavirus should avoid traveling on cruises.

Aug 24, 2021 - Health

Fauci: U.S. can get control of pandemic by spring if vaccinations rise

Anthony Fauci, director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, during a March Senate hearing in Washington, D.C. Photo: Susan Walsh/AP/Bloomberg via Getty Images

NIAID director Anthony Fauci told CNN on Monday the U.S. could "start getting back to a degree of normality" by next spring if more Americans are vaccinated against COVID-19.

Yes but: "There's no guarantee, because it's up to us," Fauci said in his interview with CNN's Anderson Cooper, noting that another variant could emerge unless the current surge is brought under control.