Sanofi booster ‘more promising’ than mRNA

"Results of phase 2 clinical trials” of Sanofi’s vaccine "are excellent in terms of protection," said Industry Minister Agnès Pannier-Runacher shortly after the announcement. [Shutterstock/Golden Shrimp]

French pharma giant Sanofi has started phase 3 clinical trials for its COVID-19 vaccine and is expected to begin rolling it out in December, Sanofi France president Olivier Bogillot has told broadcaster France Inter.

The results of phase 2 clinical trials of Sanofi’s vaccine “are excellent in terms of protection,” said Industry Minister Agnès Pannier-Runacher shortly after Monday’s announcement.

The news comes amid growing concern about the more infectious Delta variant are growing in the country with authorities already indicating that a fourth wave may hit earlier than expected and even “as early as the end of July,” according to Health Minister Olivier Véran.

As vaccination numbers are stagnating and positive COVID-19 cases have stopped declining, the government is mulling making vaccination for health workers mandatory. Some are even calling for vaccines to be made mandatory for everyone.

Unlike the Pfizer and Moderna vaccines already being administered, Sanofi’s vaccine does not use messenger RNA technology, but a recombinant protein.

This protein “stimulates your immune system and subjects it to the virus protein, which makes you react,” Bogillot said. “This is what we use for flu vaccination, a proven technology that we had been using for a few years […] before the arrival of [the] messenger RNA [technique]” he added.

According to Pannier-Runacher, the Sanofi laboratory is already working on boosters that have “excellent results, perhaps more promising than messenger RNA vaccine boosters.” The vaccine could be used as a booster, and help vaccinate populations in less developed countries.

“Today, only 20% of the world’s population is vaccinated. We think we can be useful because we need billions of doses to be able to vaccinate this population,” Bogillot added.

(Mathieu Pollet |

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