The coronavirus vaccine being developed by Sanofi won't need to be super-cooled and a normal refrigerator will suffice, the Paris-based drugmaker's France chief Olivier Bogillot said Sunday.
His comments came days after American pharmaceutical giant Pfizer and its German partner BioNTech announced that their vaccine had proven 90 percent effective in preventing Covid-19 infections in ongoing Phase 3 trials involving more than 40,000 people.
The companies said they expect to supply up to 50 million vaccine doses globally in 2020, and up to 1.3 billion doses in 2021.
However, Pfizer's vaccine must be stored at -70 degrees Celsius (-94 degrees Fahrenheit) or else it falls apart, well beyond the capability of most hospital freezers let alone domestic appliances.
Rachel Silverman, a policy fellow at the Center for Global Development, has already warned that maintaining the Pfizer vaccine's "ultra-cold chain" from factory to patients' arms constitutes "an enormous logistical challenge even in the West".
"Our vaccine will be like the 'flu vaccine, you can keep it in your refrigerator," this avoiding the problem, Bogillot told the CNews channel.
"This will be an advantage for some countries," he added.
The Sanofi vaccine, one of many in development, will be available for distribution next June, Bogillot added.
The results of the Phase 2 tests, involving hundreds of people, will be made public in early December, he added. If those results are positive then Phase 3 trials involving thousands of people will begin, alongside mass production.
Eleven of the vaccines under development have already begun Phase 3 trials.
The Pfizer vaccine is "a little more advanced" in the development process, said Bogillot, but "one laboratory is not going to be able to supply the doses for the whole planet.
"We will need to have several winners at the end of this race."
The Sanofi product will also be made avaiable at an "affordable" price he said, without giving details.