Covid vaccine not generally available before second half of 2021 – GSK

World’s largest vaccine maker says it will take time to scale up manufacture even if vaccine found

The world’s largest vaccine maker, GlaxoSmithKline, said a vaccine for Covid-19 will not be widely available before the second half of next year.

The world's largest vaccine maker, GlaxoSmithKline, said the global push to develop an immunisation against the coronavirus would not lead to widely available products before the second half of next year.

"If things go right ... to get to scale of manufacturing in the hundreds of millions [of doses] is going to be in the second half of next year," GSK chief executive Emma Walmsley told a media briefing after the release of the company's first-quarter results.

This would require swift progress in global development efforts to show an experimental vaccine is safe, effective and dosed in the right way, she added.

“You will see a reasonable amount of consensus from many global authorities, when this was all emerging, an 18-month timeline was an ambitious one to be going after but one that everyone is [targeting],” Ms Walmsley said.


More than 70 global vaccine development projects are under way as economies across the globe are burdened by restrictions on movement to slow the spread of the disease.

Germany's vaccine body, the Paul Ehrlich Institute, said this week that seven of the global projects had started testing on humans.

GSK and rival vaccine maker Sanofi this month teamed up for a coronavirus vaccine project, the latest in a string of alliances that have seen the British drug maker contributing its expertise on adjuvants.

Adjuvants are efficacy boosters that allow for lower dosing of the immunising active ingredient in a vaccine.

“The world needs several vaccines and there are several different approaches,” Ms Walmsley said.

GSK beat quarterly profit expectations on rising sales of its blockbuster shingles vaccine and strong demand for pain and respiratory medicines during the coronavirus pandemic.

The maker of Advil and Panadol painkillers as well as the HPV vaccine on Wednesday joined Britain's largest drugmaker AstraZeneca and other large pharmaceuticals companies in sticking to or even rising full-year forecasts as lockdowns to combat the spread of the virus lead to stockpiling of medicines and other essentials.

GSK’s turnover rose 19 per cent to £9.09 billion (€10.4 billion) in the first quarter from a year earlier.

While GSK pointed to the uncertainty around the pandemic and said it was unable to gauge its ultimate impact on the company, GSK still expects a 1-4 per cent fall in profit for the year. This compares with analysts’ prediction of a 7.2 per cent drop.

First-quarter adjusted earnings of 37.7 pence per share beat analysts’ expectation of 31.5 pence.


AstraZeneca topped analysts’ estimates for quarterly profit and reiterated its targets for the year on Wednesday, as the British drugmaker benefited from higher demand for some of its medicines during the coronavirus pandemic.

Revenues would increase by a high single-digit to a low double-digit percentage this year, the company said, comparing favourably to analysts current average forecast of 8.4 per cent, according to Refinitiv data.

AstraZeneca’s product sales for the first quarter ended March 31st rose 17 per cent to $6.31 billion (€5.8 billion), ahead of analysts’ overall expectations of $5.89 billion.

Like a raft of other drugmakers, AstraZeneca is testing two of its approved treatments as a therapy to help in the outbreak that has so far infected over 3.1 million people and killed more than 210,000.

Core earnings at the drugmaker rose 21 per cent to $1.05 per share, while total revenue, which also includes payments from tie-ups, rose 17 per cent to $6.35 billion from year earlier.

Analysts on average had expected core earnings of 94 cents per share, according to a company provided consensus of 22 analysts. – Reuters