Vaccine maker Novavax said Monday its COVID-19 shot was highly effective against the disease and also protected against variants in a large study in the U.S. and Mexico, potentially offering the world yet another weapon against the virus at a time when developing countries are desperate for doses.
The two-shot vaccine was about 90% effective overall, and preliminary data showed it was safe, the American company said. That would put the vaccine about on par with Pfizer’s and Moderna’s, said an AP report.
While demand for COVID-19 shots in the U.S. has dropped off dramatically and the country has more than enough doses to go around, the need for more vaccines around the world remains critical.
The Novavax vaccine, which is easy to store and transport, is expected to play an important role in boosting supplies in poor parts of the world. That help is still months away, however.
The company, which has been plagued by raw-material shortages that have hampered production, said it plans to seek authorization for the shots in the U.S., Europe and elsewhere by the end of September and will be able to produce up to 100 million doses a month by then.
The Novavax shot stands to become the fifth Western-developed COVID-19 vaccine to win clearance. The Pfizer, Moderna and Johnson & Johnson vaccines are already authorized for use in the U.S. and Europe. Europe also uses AstraZeneca’s formula.
Novavax’s study involved nearly 30,000 people ages 18 and up. Two-thirds received two doses of the vaccine, three weeks apart, and the rest got dummy shots.
Nearly half the volunteers were Black, Hispanic, Asian American or Native American, and 6% of participants were in Mexico. Altogether, 37% had health problems that made them high risk, and 13% were 65 or older.
There were 77 cases of COVID-19 — 14 in the group that got the vaccine, the rest in volunteers who received the dummy shots. None in the vaccine group had moderate or severe disease, compared with 14 in the placebo group. One person in that group died.
The vaccine was similarly effective against several variants, including the one first detected in Britain that is now dominant in the U.S., and in high-risk populations, including the elderly, people with other health problems and front-line workers in hospitals and meatpacking plants.
A study underway in Britain is testing which of several vaccines, including Novavax’s, works best as a booster shot for people who received the Pfizer or AstraZeneca formula.
Novavax reported the results in a news release and plans to publish them in a medical journal, where they will be vetted by independent experts. The Gaithersburg, Maryland-based company previously released findings from smaller studies in Britain and South Africa.
Publishing Rights Reserved to Bahrain News Agency © 2003 - 2021