As of this morning – Monday June 21 – the current recorded case count for COVID-19 (coronavirus) in the UK has reached 304,331 with 42,632 deaths.

GSK’s scientific collaboration with Chinese biotech Clover Pharmaceuticals to develop an adjuvanted COVID-19 vaccine is now being tested in human clinical trials.

Clover has initiated a Phase I clinical study assessing the potential of combining its COVID-19 S-Trimer vaccine (SCB-2019) with GSK's pandemic adjuvant system, which can reduce the amount of protein required per vaccine dose.

The moves rides on the back of promising preclinical data indicating the beneficial effect of GSK's pandemic adjuvant for the SCB-2019 vaccine candidate, “with high neutralising antibody levels elicited in multiple animal species,” the UK drug giant noted.

Preliminary safety and immunogenicity results for the Phase I study are expected in August, while planning for a global Phase IIb/III vaccine efficacy trial has already begun, with initiation scheduled  for later this year.

“Our deliberate approach is to combine our proven pandemic adjuvant technology with protein-based COVID-19 vaccine candidates from several collaborators. We believe this holds the promise to produce vaccines at scale, potentially benefiting billions of people,” noted Thomas Breuer, chief medical officer of GSK Vaccines.

“We are encouraged by the pre-clinical data of this adjuvanted COVID-19 vaccine candidate from Clover and look forward to reviewing the data from this first trial.”