Novavax says its Covid-19 vaccine is 89 percent effective, but less so against South African variant

Maryland-based Novavax has never brought a vaccine to market. The Trump administration gave the company $ 1.6 billion to develop and test the vaccine, begin large-scale manufacturing, and reserve 100 million doses.

Test details: Novavax was testing its vaccine in the UK during a period when another variant of the virus – first detected in the UK and more transmissible than previous versions – was circulating. The company’s analysis in the Phase III study of 15,000 people found that the vaccine was 95.6 percent effective against the original Covid-19 strain and 85.6 percent against the British variant B.1.1.7.

Early data from a separate Phase IIb clinical trial of 4,400 people in South Africa showed that the vaccine was only 49.4 percent effective against the variant first discovered in that country. More than 92 percent of the sequenced PCR samples taken from Covid patients in the South African study were identified as this variant, known as B.1.351.

Novavax says it is developing booster shots of its vaccine to better protect against new strains of Covid and plans to test them in humans in the second quarter of 2021.

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