A Covid vaccine that is 89.3% effective against the beetle and 85.6% effective against the more transmissible British variant has been unveiled – and the UK has ordered 60 million doses.
The Novavax worked against the variant of the disease first identified in Kent, which, according to the Department of Health, has been shown to be up to 70% more contagious.
The shock has yet to be approved by the UK regulator before it can be marketed in the UK.
However, if the injection is approved by the vaccine watchdog – the drug and health product regulator – 60 million doses will be shipped to the UK in the second half of this year.
The manufacture of the drug would be done on Teesside.
However, meanwhile, the New York Times reports that the U.S. firm has said its strike against the mutant South African variant – B1351 – is likely only 50% effective.
Boris Johnson hailed the breakthrough and tweeted, “Good news that the Novavax vaccine has been shown to be effective in UK studies.
“Thank you to all the volunteers who made these results possible.
“Our Medicines Agency will now evaluate the vaccine that is made in Teesside.
“If approved, we’ll have 60 million cans to order.”
The US company said tonight a UK study showed their coronavirus vaccine was 89.3% effective against Covid-19.
While early analysis found it was almost as effective at protecting against the more highly contagious variant first spotted here in the UK.
Novavax said the study, which enrolled 15,000 people aged 18 to 84, will be used in the UK, the European Union and other countries to request a regulatory review.
27% of the subjects are over 65 years old.
The study took place because the more easily transmissible UK variant was circulating, and preliminary analysis suggests that the vaccine against this mutation was 85.6% effective in the US
Company announced in a press release.
The study data were not made available to the press.
Health Secretary Matt Hancock said, “This is positive news and if the Novavax vaccine is approved by the Medicines Agency it will greatly improve our vaccination program and one more weapon in our arsenal to fight this terrible virus.
“I am proud that the UK is at the forefront of yet another medical breakthrough and I would like to thank the brilliant scientists and researchers and the tens of thousands of selfless volunteers who have parked in clinical trials.
“The NHS stands ready to introduce this vaccine to the most vulnerable as soon as possible if it is approved.”
Union leader Keir Starmer, who self-isolates after coming into contact with someone infected with coronavirus, tweeted, “Fantastic news about the Novavax vaccine.
“This is another step in vaccinating the UK.
“Thank you to everyone involved in this national effort.”
Vaccine Minister Nadhim Zahawi attended Novavax’s trial himself.
He said tonight, “Having participated in the Novavax vaccine study myself, I am particularly pleased with such positive results. I would like to thank the thousands of volunteers without whom these results would not have been possible.
“It will now be up to the regulator to do their pivotal work in evaluating the efficacy and safety of this vaccine. However, if approved, it will further improve our immunization program.”
Economy Secretary Kwasi Kwarteng added: “The results of the UK study of Novavax’s vaccine look extremely promising and I welcome the news that the company plans to submit its data to regulators.
“The UK quickly sourced 60 million doses from Novavax and I am pleased to confirm that the majority of the vaccine will be manufactured on Teesside and will be shipped this year if approved for use.
“From the scientists and researchers to the thousands of volunteers in UK trials, I am extremely grateful to all who are doing their part in this truly national effort to end this virus once and for all.”
In the UK, nearly 7.5 million initial doses of the Oxford / AstraZenece and Pfizer / BioNTech jabs have been administered.
The company also said its vaccine was 60% effective in preventing Covid-19 in HIV-negative subjects in its 4,400-person mid-stage study in South Africa, in which an affected highly transmissible variant of coronavirus was first introduced there identified was in circulation.
Laboratory studies by Moderna Inc and Pfizer Inc and their partner BioNTech SE have shown that this variant escapes antibody protection.
“The 60% reduction in the risk of COVID-19 disease in vaccinated individuals in South Africans underscores the value of this vaccine in preventing disease due to the extremely worrying variant that is currently present in South Africa and is spreading worldwide,” said Professor Shabir Maddi, lead investigator of the Novavax vaccine study in South Africa.
Novavax announced that it began manufacturing new versions of its vaccine to protect against emerging virus variants in early January and expects to select ideal candidates for a booster in the coming days. The company plans to initiate clinical trials of these new vaccines in the second quarter of this year.
Stanley Erck, President and Chief Executive of the biotechnology company, said: “NVX-CoV2373 is the first vaccine to offer not only high clinical efficacy against Covid-19, but significant clinical efficacy against both the rapidly emerging varieties in the UK and in South Africa has. “
The study was carried out in collaboration with the UK Government’s Vaccine Taskforce. In a statement, Chairman Clive Dix said, “These are spectacular results and we are delighted to have helped Novavax develop this vaccine.
“The effectiveness shown against the emerging variants is also extremely encouraging. This is an incredible feat that will ensure that we can protect people in the UK and the rest of the world from this virus.”