GSK expects to manufacture a candidate A (H1N1) adjuvanted influenza vaccine once virus seed is made available by the WHO. The first doses of the vaccine are expected to be available four to six months later, subject to regulatory approval.
The vaccine will comprise antigen of the recently isolated A (H1N1) influenza strain and also contain GSK's proprietary adjuvant system AS03. An adjuvant system can be added to the antigen at time of administration. In clinical studies using the H5N1 influenza strain, an adjuvanted formulation has been shown to stimulate a higher immune response while using a smaller amount of antigen as compared to a formulation without adjuvant. The adjuvant system therefore helps to increase the number of vaccine doses that can be produced.1 In addition, in clinical studies with the H5N1 influenza strain, the adjuvanted vaccine demonstrated the potential to provide protection even if the influenza strain drifts (changes slightly).2,3
The new candidate vaccine will require regulatory approval. In 2008, GSK received a European licence fora pandemic vaccine based on a 'mock-up' dossier. This approval, which was based on data involving the H5N1 influenza strain, is expected to enable faster registration of this new A (H1N1) influenza vaccine and is currently being discussed with European regulatory authorities.
To date, GSK has received interest from several governments aiming to stockpile the new candidate adjuvanted vaccine as a precautionary measure. These include:
Supplying the UK Government with 60 million doses of the candidate A (H1N1) adjuvanted influenza vaccine.
The French Government intend to purchase 50 million doses of the candidate A (H1N1) influenza vaccine.
The Government of Belgium intend to purchase 12.6 million doses of the candidate A (H1N1) influenza vaccine in order to stockpile and to protect, when needed, the total Belgian population.
An agreement with the Government of Finland to supply 5.3 million doses of H1N1 antigen, which is expected to be used in conjunction with the government's existing stockpile of GSK's adjuvant system.
GSK will continue to produce its seasonal influenza vaccine for the 2009/2010 Northern Hemisphere influenza season as planned and expects to complete production of this vaccine by the end of July. The company also continues to supply seasonal vaccine for use in the Southern Hemisphere as it enters the winter season this year. GlaxoSmithKline - one of the world's leading research-based pharmaceutical and healthcare companies - is committed to improving the quality of human life by enabling people to do more, feel better and live longer. For further information please visit www.gsk.com.
Adjuvants, from the Latin word adjuvare meaning 'to help', are compounds used to enhance a vaccine’s ability to elicit a strong, durable, protective immune response making them more effective. Until recently, vaccine research and development focused nearly exclusively on the antigen, the target molecule that is selected to trigger a specific immune response in the body to protect against a particular disease. It is now widely accepted that adjuvants can also contribute substantially to the immune response induced by a vaccine.
GSK is continuing discussions with other governments and public health authorities to increase production and supply of its anti-viral medication, Relenza. Relenza can both treat influenza (flu, infection caused by influenza virus) and reduce the chance of getting flu in the community and household settings. The flu is a highly contagious and potentially fatal disease caused by influenza types A and B. While some antiviral medications only protect against influenza A, Relenza is effective against both influenza A and B. Relenza is approved for the prophylaxis and treatment of influenza in children and adults.
Relenza is an inhaled medicine delivered as a dry powder through a device called a Diskhaler to the surface of the upper respiratory tract, and may shorten the amount of time a person is sick if used within two days of onset of illness. Relenza belongs to a group of medicines called neuraminidase inhibitors. These medications attack the influenza virus itself - not just the symptoms - and prevent it from spreading inside your body.