Maryland-based biotech company Novavax said Thursday that its experimental Covid-19 vaccine is more than 96 percent effective in preventing mild and severe diseases.
The results are from the company’s Phase 3 clinical trials, which were conducted in Novavax trials in the UK in the US and South Africa, and the company cannot apply for an emergency use license in the US until the US trials are complete.
“We are encouraged by the data very much,” said Stanley Erk, President and CEO of Novavax, in a statement.
The UK trial involved more than 15,000 adults. More than a quarter of them were 65 or older, the age group generally considered to be most vulnerable to complications from Covid-19.
The two-dose vaccine was found to be over 96 per cent effective against previous strains of the virus circulating in the UK, putting it on par with vaccines already in use from Modern And the Pfizer – Bioetec.
The efficacy was slightly lower – around 86 percent – against the more contagious B.1.1.7 variant, which was first identified in the UK. Half of the US statesThe Centers for Disease Control and Prevention predicts it will be the dominant alternative by the end of the month.
The Novavax vaccine was also 100 percent effective against the most severe form of Covid-19, regardless of the alternative – much like many other vaccines used in the United States.
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The Biden administration promised enough vaccine to all eligible Americans by the end of May. The goal is expected to be achieved with vaccines already available, from Moderna, Pfizer-BioNTech, and Johnson & Johnson.
Other vaccines that ultimately prove successful will be critical to the health and safety of Americans in a post-Covid-19 environment where viruses can travel from one country to another as quickly as planes can.
“The United States is not safe until the vast majority of the rest of the world is vaccinated,” said John Grapenstein, a former executive director of medical affairs for vaccines at Merck and a former defense immunologist.
Novavax has also analyzed data from its Phase 2B clinical trial in South Africa, where another variant of SARS-CoV-2 has been traded. The variant, called B.1.351, is of concern to scientists because it appears to reduce the effectiveness of the vaccine. Novavax found its vaccine to be approximately 50 percent effective against the alternative.
The Novavax vaccine is slightly different from the other vaccines used. Pfizer, Moderna, and Johnson & Johnson vaccines provide instructions for the body to build a spike protein for coronavirus, which the immune system learns to recognize and fight. Novavax dosage bypasses instructions and delivers spike protein directly into the body.
Grapenstein said that if it was finally approved for use, the Novavax shot could be “another shield we can use to protect against a bad virus.”
According to the State Department, more than 98 million doses of vaccines have been given Center for Disease Control, With nearly 34 million people fully vaccinated.