novavax-covid-19-vaccine-shows-96.4%-efficacy,-less-protection-against-variants

The Maryland-based biotech Novavax has announced its COVID-19 vaccine candidate has 96.4% efficacy against COVID-19 illness from the original strain, sliding to 86.3% against the U.K. variant and falling to 48.6% in South Africa amid circulation of another concerning coronavirus variant. 

However, the jab revealed 100% efficacy against severe disease, including hospitalization and death, in both trials, per final analyses.

“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,” Stanley C. Erck, president and chief executive officer of  Novavax, wrote in part in a news release posted Thursday. “Importantly, both studies confirmed efficacy against the variant strains.”

Findings from a Phase 3 trial in the U.K. drew from over 15,000 participants aged 18 to 84, 27% of whom were above age 65. Novavax noted 106 cases cropped up, 96 of which occurred in the placebo group. There were five severe COVID-19 cases, all in the placebo group and mostly attributed to the B.1.1.7 variant.

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Findings from a separate Phase 2b trial in South Africa drew from about 2,665 healthy adults and 240 HIV-positive, stable adults. The company noted a 55.4% vaccine efficacy among HIV-negative participants.

“In both the U.K. and South Africa trials, these analyses showed that the vaccine is well-tolerated, with low levels of severe, serious (SAEs) and medically attended adverse events at day 35, balanced between vaccine and placebo groups,” reads the release.

Erck, the CEO, joined FOX Business’ “Varney and Co.” to discuss the manufacturing capability and efficacy of his company’s two-shot coronavirus vaccine. He told host Stuart Varney the Novavax vaccine will likely be available first in the U.K., which is where the company’s first phase 3 efficacy trial took place. The vaccine makers’ phase 3 trial in the U.S. with 30,000 participants is still ongoing.

Erck expects the manufacturing rate to ramp up to “roughly” 150 million doses per month by the third quarter of this year.

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In early March, Erck said he believes the FDA could potentially grant his company’s vaccine candidate emergency use authorization as early as May. The Novavax vaccine, which is given in two doses spaced one month apart, is also stable at 2 degrees Celsius to 8 degrees Celsius and is shipped in a ready-to-use liquid formula.

Pending approval, the company has agreed to supply the U.S. with 110 million doses, which if the predicted timeline holds true could be completed around June or July, Erck previously told CNBC. 

Fox News’ Alexandria Hein and Fox Business contributed to this report.

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