Novavax COVID-19 vaccine discussed by disease expert
The Novavax vaccine will now be assessed by the Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency (MHRA) to determine whether it can be used in the UK, Boris Johnson has announced. If the MHRA approves the Novavax vaccine, it will be the fourth approved Covid vaccine in the UK. The MHRA has already approved the Pfizer/BioNTech, Oxford University/AstraZeneca and Moderna vaccines.
How effective is the Novavax vaccine?
Phase 3 clinical trials of the Novavax vaccine involved more than 15,000 people between the ages of 18 and 84 in the UK.
In total, 27 percent of trial participants were over the age of 65.
The Novavax trial showed the vaccine was 89.3 percent effective at preventing coronavirus in participants.
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The vaccine has also shown to offer 86 percent protection against the new UK Covid variant, widely dubbed the ‘Kent’ strain.
In recent weeks scientists have been concerned about the emergence of a new Covid variant in South Africa.
In trials, the Novavax jab showed to be some 60 percent effective against the new South African variant.
The UK’s chief medical officer, Professor Chris Whitty, tweeted that the Novavax jab could help improve the UK’s “future resilience” against coronavirus.
He said: “If it [Novavax] gets MHRA approval this increases our future resilience, including against the B.1.1.7 (Kent) variant.
“Many thanks to all trial volunteers and those who conducted the research.
Professor Paul Heath, the Novavax Phase 3 trial chief investigator, said he believed that vaccines could be adapted “at pace” to target new variants of Covid-19.
He told BBC Radio 4’s Today the results from the trial were “yet another great step forward for the UK”.
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Professor Heath added: “I think the technology we have both with this vaccine, the Novavax technology, and the other vaccines, it is such that they can adapt quickly so we can expect to see, if required, new vaccines or bivalent vaccines, where two different strains are joined together in the one vaccine.
“And that now can be done at pace so that we can keep up with these variants should they prove to be difficult to prevent with the vaccine that we have at the moment.
“We’ve seen for the UK that the UK variant can be successfully prevented with this vaccine, which is great.
“Yes, the South African variant is more difficult and hopefully there will not be more variants but we may expect to see some as time goes on.”
How effective are the other coronavirus vaccines?
The Pfizer/BioNTech vaccine, which was the first Covid vaccine to be approved in the UK, has 95 percent efficacy.
The Moderna vaccine was found to be nearly 95 percent effective in preventing disease, including in the elderly.
Analysis of the Oxford/AstraZeneca vaccine found the vaccine has an average efficacy of 70.4 percent in trials.
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