May 28 (UPI) -- British pharmaceutical company GlaxoSmithKline announced Thursday its plans to make 1 billion doses of a vaccine booster system to aid development of potential COVID-19 vaccine candidates.
The use of a booster, or adjuvant, can reduce the amount of vaccine protein required per dose. GSK said it aims to deliver the doses through 2021.
"GSK believes that its pandemic adjuvant technology could make a significant contribution against COVID-19," the company said.
"As demonstrated in the last flu pandemic, GSK's pandemic adjuvant can reduce the amount of vaccine protein required per dose, which allows more vaccine doses to be produced, contributing to protecting more people."
Adjuvants can also enhance immune response and have been shown to create a stronger and longer-lasting immunity against infections.
GSK struck a deal last month to provide its adjuvant technology for a COVID-19 vaccine candidate now under development by French pharma Sanofi. The company said Thursday, however, it will also provide the technology to any potential vaccine at its own financial risk.
"We believe that more than one vaccine will be needed to address this global pandemic and we are working with partners around the world to do so," Roger Connor, president of GSK Global Vaccines, said in a statement.
"We believe that our innovative pandemic adjuvant technology has the potential to help improve the efficacy and scale up of multiple COVID-19 vaccines."
GSK said it will expand adjuvant manufacturing sites in Britain, the United States, Canada and Europe for the effort.
"With this significant expansion in our manufacturing capacity, we can help deliver up to 1 billion doses of adjuvanted vaccines through 2021, helping protect many more people and support the global effort to fight COVID-19," Connor added.