Novavax COVID-19 vaccine discussed by disease expert
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Health Secretary Matt Hancock has hailed the huge “boost”. He tweeted: “Really encouraging results from Novavax tonight on its efficacy against variants. We’ve ordered 60 million doses and if approved by the medicines regulator it will be another boost to the UK’s vaccination rollout as we work to overcome this virus.”
Importantly, the vaccine was also found to be roughtly 86 percent effective in protecting against the more contagious virus variant first discovered and now prevalent in the UK.
It was only about 55 percent effective in a separate, smaller trial in South Africa, where volunteers were primarily exposed to another newer, more contagious variant that is widely circulating there and spreading around the world.
In both trials, the vaccine was 100 percent effective in preventing serious illness and death.
Novavax vaccine 96% effective against original coronavirus version in UK trial (Image: GETTY)
Matt Hancock tweeted about the news this evening (Image: Twitter)
Results from the final analysis of the UK trial were largely in line with interim data released in January, which also showed the Novavax shot to be 96 percent effective against the original version of the coronavirus and around 86 percent effective against the UK variant.
The company expects to use the data to submit for regulatory authorization in various countries.
It is not clear when it will seek U.S. authorization or if regulators will require it to complete an ongoing trial in the United States.
Coronavirus statistics worldwide (Image: Express)
Stanley C Erck, President and Chief Executive Officer, Novavax, said: “We are very encouraged by the data showing that NVX-CoV2373 not only provided complete protection against the most severe forms of disease, but also dramatically reduced mild and moderate disease across both trials.
“Importantly, both studies confirmed efficacy against the variant strains.
“Today marks one year since the WHO officially declared the COVID-19 pandemic, and with this data in hand, we are even more motivated to advance our vaccine as a potential weapon in the fight to end the suffering caused by COVID-19.”
Health Secretary Matt Hancock (Image: GETTY)
Matt Hancock urges NHS staff to continue to ‘pull together’
The study enrolled more than 15,000 participants between 18-84 years of age, including 27 percent over the age of 65.
The primary endpoint of the UK Phase 3 clinical trial is based on the first occurrence of PCR-confirmed symptomatic (mild, moderate or severe) COVID-19 with onset at least seven days after the second study vaccination in serologically negative (to SARS-CoV-2) adult participants at baseline.
Novavax shares jumped 22 percent in value in response.
Separately, Johnson & Johnson’s chief scientist said the company expects to produce up to three billion doses of its COVID-19 vaccine next year, after the European Union approved the one-shot immunisation on Thursday.
Vaccination rates live (Image: GETTY)
The company is bringing on three manufacturing plants to produce the key drug substance.
It also will have seven plants globally that will handle final production steps and bottling into vials known as fill and finish.
Dr Paul Stoffels, J&J’s chief scientific officer, said: “All these will function together to deliver the one billion by the end of the year.
“Next year, we can do more than two billion vaccines, and even up to three if we maximize capacity.
Where coronavirus vaccines are being produced (Image: Express)
Referring to a recent agreement for rival Merck & Co to produce J&J’s vaccine, he added: “With Merck on board, we will be north of one billion.”
Professor Paul Heath, Chief Investigator of the UK Novavax Covid-19 Vaccine Trial from St George’s, University of London, said:“These are enormously exciting findings and confirm the results of the earlier interim analysis.
“This is a highly effective and safe Covid-19 vaccine and one that is effective against the important UK variant.
“This wonderful news is a tribute to the over 15,000 volunteers in our trial, to the dedication of the UK investigators and to the huge support of the NIHR.”