PARIS

Paris-based pharmaceutical company Sanofi and pharma giant GSK announced Thursday they are starting clinical trials of their COVID-19 vaccine.

Results are expected by early December with phase 3 trials to start end of this year, according to a joint statement.

The trials will be conducted on 440 healthy adults at 11 locations across the US.

The firms will apply for regulatory approval based on results in the first half of 2021.

Pharmaceutical trials are lengthy in nature and results can take months.

In a surprising statement to BFM TV, Serge Weinberg, chairman of Sanofi’s board of directors, said the companies would move forward with manufacturing even before the conclusion of phase 3 trials, which involves thousands of people.

“We are going to do something quite exceptional. We will start manufacturing from the start of phase 3 without waiting for the results.”

Roger Connor, president of GSK Global Vaccines, stated the necessity of the potential drug’s rapid formulation after months of a pandemic that has gripped the world.

“The transition of this vaccine candidate to the clinical development phase is an important step in the efforts to fight the global pandemic we are facing.”

The companies’ announcement also included the steps taken to ramp up production in order to manufacture up to one billion doses in 2021.

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