GlaxoSmithKline join forces on Teesside-made Covid vaccine

The final manufacturing stage of the Teesside-made Novavax coronavirus vaccine will take place in Barnard Castle, County Durham.

If approved, Novavax will become the fourth Covid-19 vaccine available for use in the UK, with trials having shown it to be 89 per cent effective in preventing coronavirus.

It was announced in January that the protein antigen component of the jab is to be produced by Fujifilm Diosynth Technologies at its Billingham facility on Teesside.

The UK has secured 60m doses of the vaccine, which is believed to offer protection against the newer UK and South African variants of coronavirus.

It has now been announced that the pharmaceutical company GlaxoSmithKline (GSK) will provide “fill and finish” manufacturing capacity at its Barnard Castle facility.

This could begin as early as May 2021.

Fill and finish is the completion stage of vaccine manufacturing, preparing vials of the final vaccine and packaging them for distribution and use.

GSK says its site at Barnard Castle is a specialised facility in the firm’s global manufacturing network, which supports production of pharmaceutical and vaccine products.

Vaccines minister Nadhim Zahawi said: “This is terrific news and means the North-East will be playing a crucial role in the largest vaccination programme in our history.

“This is an important deal which will help the UK become more self-sufficient by manufacturing extra vaccine doses on our shores.

“I urge everybody who is eligible for a vaccine to come forward as soon as possible to protect yourself and your loved ones.”