Americans and Europeans are currently using four COVID-19 vaccines: Pfizer, Moderna, AstraZeneca, Johnson & Johnson, but the fifth could soon be approved – Novavax, proposed by the American company of the same name.
The spread of the pandemic worldwide is raising concerns about insufficient vaccine doses. Therefore, a new COVID-19 vaccine approved in the USA only brings a ray of hope that it will increase the amount of vaccine needed to stop the spread of the pandemic.
In March, Novavax announced a vaccine efficacy rate of 96% compared to the original version of the coronavirus, 86% compared to the British version and 49% compared to the African version.
Given the spread of the pandemic, the Novavax vaccine could receive emergency authorization in the US in the coming weeks, according to Politico.
After problems with AstraZeneca and Johnson & Johnson vaccines, Novavax is being seen by US health officials and researchers as an option to make up for the lack of vaccines on the market.
„The Johnson & Johnson vaccine has had a reputation problem and people are more reluctant to do it. I think Novavax will be a pretty significant player“Professor Lawrence Gostin, a specialist in health law at Georgetown University, told Politico.
Although it has not produced a single vaccine so far, but in collaboration with pharmaceutical companies in the Czech Republic, Italy, India, Japan and South Korea, Novavax plans to produce 150 million doses of vaccine per month in the second half of the year. of the year, according to Reuters.
For now, however, it is uncertain how quickly the company will be able to produce the vaccine doses it has committed to, given that the Serum Institute in India is expected to produce more than 1 billion doses of Novavax vaccine this year.
The vaccine has not yet entered vaccination plans in the US, because clinical trials began months later after other vaccine manufacturers.
Researchers are currently studying the effectiveness of the Novavax vaccine against the new COVID-19 variants, and the intermediate results of clinical trials have shown that the vaccine is approximately 55% effective against the B.1.351 variant first identified in South Africa.
Politico writes that the new vaccine will appear exactly when the pressure for the supply of COVID-19 vaccines increases amid concerns that unequal global access will expand the pandemic.
The company is committed to delivering 100 million doses of vaccine to the United States by the end of 2021, after receiving $ 1.6 billion for development and production. And in the second half of the year, the company aims to produce 150 million doses per month.
How Novavax works
The Novavax vaccine works by teaching the immune system to make antibodies against the spike protein of the coronavirus. The researchers who created the Novavax vaccine used a modified spike gene. They introduced the gene into a different virus, called a baculovirus, and allowed it to infect cells.
The vaccine uses a method similar to that used to produce vaccines against other diseases such as the flu and HPV. The researchers harvested the spike proteins from the coronavirus cells and assembled them into nanoparticles, according to an analysis from The News York Times.
While the nanoparticles mimicked the molecular structure of the coronavirus, they could not replicate or cause COVID-19. Like other sera, this vaccine is injected into the arm.
The Novavax vaccine will be easier to distribute and store than the Pfizer and Moderna vaccines because it can be stored in the refrigerator for up to three months.
Initially, the Phase 3 clinical trial for Novavax was scheduled to begin on December 28 for 30,000 people in the United States, but was postponed due to problems with manufacturing the doses required for the study.
However, in early March, the company released the results of the study in the UK which resulted in a 96% efficacy rate against the initial variant of coronavirus. In contrast, for the South African version of the coronavirus, the efficacy was only 49%.