The government has signed a contract with pharmaceutical giant GlaxoSmithKline (GSK) to manufacture up to 60 million doses of the Novavax coronavirus vaccine.
The vaccine has one major advantage over the others currently in use.
While the Pfizer / BioNTech and Moderna piles must be kept at extremely low temperatures, the Novavax piles can be kept for up to three months in a normal refrigerator.
However, it has not yet been approved by the MHRA (Medicines and Health Products Regulatory Authority).
While studies haven’t looked at the vaccine’s effectiveness if the doses were split for more than three weeks between shocks, experts are confident that if the second dose were delayed for up to 12 weeks – like the UK’s – it would still be effective Authorities had decided the case with the Pfizer and AstraZeneca vaccines.
And Prime Minister Boris Johnson said yesterday that the Novavax vaccine is already made in the UK.
Here’s what we still know about the Novavax vaccine.
Here’s what we still know about the Novavax vaccine
How does the vaccine work?
The Novavax vaccine works like other vaccines by teaching the immune system to make antibodies against the coronavirus spike protein.
The researchers inserted a modified gene into a virus called baculovirus and allowed it to infect insect cells.
Spike proteins from these cells were then put together into nanoparticles that, while looking like coronavirus, cannot replicate or cause Covid-19.
These nanoparticles are then injected into the body through the vaccine, where the immune system triggers an antibody response.
When the body encounters coronavirus in the future, the body is prepared to fight it off.
The vaccine is given in two doses.
How effective is the vaccine?
The sting offers 100% protection against serious illness, including all hospitalizations and deaths, according to the results of a phase three UK trial announced in March.
It’s 86% effective against the Kent variant, said the company behind it, and it’s also 96% effective in preventing cases caused by the original strain of coronavirus.
The UK study enrolled more than 15,000 participants between the ages of 18 and 84, including 27% over 65 years of age.
10 cases of Covid-19 were observed in participants aged 65 and over, with 90% of these cases occurring in the placebo group.
The results of its South Africa study published by Novavax in January also showed 60% protection against mild, moderate, or severe illness, with most cases being the South African variant of the virus.
Where is it done
The protein antigen component of the vaccine is manufactured in northeast England by Novavax manufacturing partner Fujifilm Diosynth Biotechnologies at its Billingham, Stockton-on-Tees site.
GSK announced Monday that starting May at its Barnard Castle facility, also in the northeast, the company will have manufacturing capacity for filling and finishing – preparing the vials of the final vaccine and packaging them for distribution and use.
The “fast technology transfer” between the two companies will begin immediately.
Has the Novavax vaccine been approved?
Not yet. The MHRA (Medicines and Health Products Regulator) is currently conducting an ongoing review to evaluate the vaccine.