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GlaxoSmithKline and CureVac to make Covid vaccines targeting new variants

The UK-based firm is teaming up with Germany’s CureVac.

Image: PA Images

GLAXO-SMITH-KLINE has said it will work with a German biopharmaceutical company to develop new vaccines targeting emerging variants of Covid-19 amid concerns that some mutations are making the virus harder to combat.

The UK-based drug maker plans to invest €150 million to support the research of CureVac, which is developing vaccines that use messenger RNA (mRNA) to attack the disease.

GSK also said it will help make up to 100 million doses of the company’s existing Covid-19 vaccine candidate this year.

“The increase in emerging variants with the potential to reduce the efficacy of first-generation Covid-19 vaccines requires acceleration of efforts to develop vaccines against new variants to keep one step ahead of the pandemic,” the companies said in a joint statement.

The announcement came as public health officials around the world raise concerns about new virus variants that are more contagious or resistant to existing vaccines.

While viruses mutate constantly, most of the changes cause little concern, but scientists are closely tracking the mutations to make sure they quickly identify variants of concern.

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2.57877215 Source: PA Graphics

Authorities in England are this week conducting house to-house coronavirus testing in targeted communities in a bid to snuff out a new variant before it spreads widely and undermines a nationwide vaccination programme.

Officials want to test about 80,000 people in eight areas where the variant, first identified in South Africa, is believed to be spreading after a handful of cases were found in people who had no contact with the country or anyone who travelled there.

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