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Novavax’s COVID-19 vaccine is 90% effective, study finds

Novavax's COVID-19 vaccine demonstrated 93 percent effectiveness against novel coronavirus' variants of concern and variants of interest.

June 14, 2021 / 05:52 PM IST
Novavax's COVID-19 vaccine (Image: AP Photo/Alastair Grant, File)

Novavax's COVID-19 vaccine (Image: AP Photo/Alastair Grant, File)

Novavax announced on June 14 that its COVID-19 vaccine candidate has been found to be highly effective in phase-3 clinical trials conducted in the United States and Mexico, including against the various strains of the novel coronavirus.

The NVX-CoV2373, Novavax's recombinant nanoparticle protein-based COVID-19 vaccine showed 90 percent effectiveness in preventing symptomatic COVID-19 and 100 percent effectiveness at preventing moderate-to-severe infections, the American biotechnology company said.

Gregory M Glenn, MD, President of Research and Development, Novavax, said: “These data show consistent, high levels of efficacy and reaffirm the ability of the vaccine to prevent COVID-19 amid ongoing genetic evolution of the virus. Our vaccine will be a critical part of the solution to COVID-19, and we are grateful to the study participants and trial staff who made this study possible, as well as our supporters, including the US Government.”

The vaccine candidate, developed along with the Coalition for Epidemic Preparedness Innovations (CEPI), demonstrated 93 percent effectiveness against variants of concern and variants of interest.

It also showed success among the high-risk populations -- defined as over age 65, under age 65 with certain comorbidities or having life circumstances with frequent COVID-19 exposure.

COVID-19 Vaccine

Frequently Asked Questions

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How does a vaccine work?

A vaccine works by mimicking a natural infection. A vaccine not only induces immune response to protect people from any future COVID-19 infection, but also helps quickly build herd immunity to put an end to the pandemic. Herd immunity occurs when a sufficient percentage of a population becomes immune to a disease, making the spread of disease from person to person unlikely. The good news is that SARS-CoV-2 virus has been fairly stable, which increases the viability of a vaccine.

How many types of vaccines are there?

There are broadly four types of vaccine — one, a vaccine based on the whole virus (this could be either inactivated, or an attenuated [weakened] virus vaccine); two, a non-replicating viral vector vaccine that uses a benign virus as vector that carries the antigen of SARS-CoV; three, nucleic-acid vaccines that have genetic material like DNA and RNA of antigens like spike protein given to a person, helping human cells decode genetic material and produce the vaccine; and four, protein subunit vaccine wherein the recombinant proteins of SARS-COV-2 along with an adjuvant (booster) is given as a vaccine.

What does it take to develop a vaccine of this kind?

Vaccine development is a long, complex process. Unlike drugs that are given to people with a diseased, vaccines are given to healthy people and also vulnerable sections such as children, pregnant women and the elderly. So rigorous tests are compulsory. History says that the fastest time it took to develop a vaccine is five years, but it usually takes double or sometimes triple that time.

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Doses for the two-shot regimen need to be stored between two to eight degrees Celsius. Thus, the vaccine, which is easy to store and transport, is expected to play an important role in boosting vaccine supplies, especially in developing countries.

Stanley C Erck, President, and Chief Executive Officer, Novavax, said: “Today, Novavax is one step closer to addressing the critical and persistent global public health need for additional COVID-19 vaccines. These clinical results reinforce that NVX-CoV2373 is extremely effective and offers complete protection against both moderate and severe COVID-19 infection.”

"Novavax continues to work with a sense of urgency to complete our regulatory submissions and deliver this vaccine, built on a well understood and proven platform, to a world that is still in great need of vaccines.”

The company is looking to file for regulatory authorisations in the third quarter, upon completion of the final phases of process qualification and assay validation needed to meet chemistry, manufacturing, and controls (CMC) requirements.

As such, the vaccine's rollout is expected to take more time. The company has said it plans to seek authorisation for the shots in the US, Europe and elsewhere by September-end, and will be able to produce up to 100 million doses per month by then and 150 million doses a month by December.

COVID-19 Vaccine Tracker: All you need to know about manufacturing and pricing

The company has committed to supplying 110 million doses to the US over the next year and a total of 1.1 billion doses to developing countries.

In September 2020, Novavax had announced that the Serum Institute of India (SII) would manufacture 1 billion doses of its jab in 2021. It has similar manufacturing partnerships in other countries including Japan.

However, it was reported in May that the launch of the Novavax shot in India may face delay.

Vaccine alliance Gavi had announced in May that it had signed an agreement to buy 350 million doses of Novavax’s vaccine, with deliveries estimated to begin in the third quarter.

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first published: Jun 14, 2021 03:38 pm