Novavax, Inc. has confirmed that its Novavax vaccine is approximately 89% effective against the novel coronavirus, less effective against the variant in the UK, and further less effective against the variant in South Africa. The UK variant emerged at the time when Britain was experiencing a significant increase in the number of COVID-19 cases. The declaration was made amid concerns about the effectiveness of the various vaccines being approved and circulated in countries across the globe to stave off new variants of the deadly COVID-19, and during frantic global efforts to develop and produce a vaccine, and have ample number of doses for the world.
Confirmation about the success rate of Novavax is based on the early findings and a British study. In addition, the study of around 15,000 participants in Britain is still ongoing. As per preliminary analysis and findings based on cases registered a week after the second dose, it was found that more than half of clinical trial participants who were infected had a mutated version. Novavax, Inc. stated that its vaccine is approximately 96% effective against the older version of Coronavirus; however, around 86% effective against Britain variants.
The research and development department has been more concerned about the variant discovered in South Africa which carries different mutations. Genetic testing is still going on in South Africa, and as per an interim study, nearly 90% of COVID-19 illnesses in that region have been due to new variant. According to a study by Novavax, Inc. in South Africa, the report suggests that vaccine does work for this variant, but is not as effective as it is against the Britain variant. Additionally, this study included HIV- infected participants, among who, Novavax vaccine appears to be approximately 60% effective. Apart from the efficacy of the vaccine, increasing concerns about the chances of people getting infected with Coronavirus the second time is alarming and is compelling healthcare companies to develop effective vaccines.
Novavax, Inc. mentioned that it needs additional data before seeking approval from the British authority for use of its vaccine, which may happen sometime in February. Additionally, with regards to approval of the vaccine for use in the US, the company has already enrolled over half of the required 30 thousand participants to conduct the study on a larger scale in the US and Mexico. The company also said it is not clear if FDA will need data from this study too, before approving the use of the vaccine in the US. Novavax announced that meanwhile the company is also going to focus on developing new and effective vaccine which can specifically target mutations discovered in South Africa, and be ready for upcoming situation wherein healthcare authorities, eventually, will require enhanced version of vaccine.
Vaccines developed to protect against COVID-19 help the human body to recognize Coronavirus, mainly to S-protein or Spike protein that envelops the virus. However, the Novavax vaccine has been developed differently than the vaccine being used earlier, also called recombinant protein shots. The company has been striving to develop highly advanced vaccines, for which it is using genetic engineering technic to develop harmless copies of coronavirus S-protein in the insect cells. For this process, scientists purify the extracted protein and mix it with an immune-boosting chemical.