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Meriden's Protein Sciences joins 'Operation Warp Speed' in the race for COVID-19 vaccine

Protein Science's parent company Sanofi announced they are partnering with the US Government to accelerate the development and manufacturing of their vaccine

MERIDEN, Conn. — The above video is from March 12, 2020.

Meriden has joined 'Operation Warp Speed' as the world races to find a COVID-19 vaccine.

Sanofi and GSK announced Friday, July 31, a collaborative effort with the U.S. government to accelerate the development and manufacturing of their vaccine.

Sanofi owns Protein Sciences located in Meriden. 

According to Sanofi, the U.S. government will provide funding up to $2.1 billion for the development of the vaccine, including clinical trials and manufacturing scale-up, and delivery of an initial 100 million doses.

Sanofi is a French biopharmaceutical company and they believe the work they’ve already done on a Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome (SARS) vaccine had promise. SARS saw an outbreak in 2003, originating from China. Both SARS and COVID-19 are considered coronaviruses. COVID-19's identification is SARS-CoV-2. Another type of coronavirus that also saw an outbreak in 2012 was Middle East Respiratory Syndrome (MERS). That illness also caused similar symptoms of difficulty breathing, fever, and cough. 

FOX61 broke the story of Protein Sciences developing a vaccine back in February. By March 12, there were only three presumptive positive cases of COVID-19 in Connecticut.

“We think we can do between 100 and 600-million doses at one point.” Mireli Fino, the head of Protein Sciences had said at the time.

   

“You are exposed to the protein only, not the virus," said Lewin, discussing the vaccine's development back in March. "You produce an immune response. You make antibodies and those antibodies should protect you when you are infected,” Clement Lewin, the head of Sanofi’s BARDA Office had said.

“The global need for a vaccine to help prevent COVID-19 is massive, and no single vaccine or company will be able to meet the global demand alone,” said Thomas Triomphe, Executive Vice President and Global Head of Sanofi Pasteur. “From the beginning of the pandemic, Sanofi has leveraged its deep scientific expertise and resources to help address this crisis, collaborating with the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services to unlock a rapid path toward developing a pandemic vaccine and manufacturing at large scale. With our partner GSK, we expect our Phase 1/2 study for the recombinant adjuvanted approach to start in September.”

“The portfolio of vaccines being assembled for Operation Warp Speed increases the odds that we will have at least one safe, effective vaccine as soon as the end of this year,” said HHS Secretary Alex Azar. “Today’s investment supports the Sanofi and GSK adjuvanted product all the way through clinical trials and manufacturing, with the potential to bring hundreds of millions of safe and effective doses to the American people.”

The United States is not the only one Sanofi is looking to provide vaccines for. The company said that ongoing discussions with the European Commission, with France and Italy on the negotiation team and other governments are being held to ensure global access to a novel coronavirus vaccine.