From trials conducted across the US and Mexico, a small America firm Novavax reports that its vaccine was highly effective against the coronavirus and also protected against variants in a large.
Results show that the vaccine is about 90 per cent effective with preliminary data indicating it is safe for use.
Novavax’s trials involved about 30,000 people who are 18 years and above in the US and neighbouring Mexico. Two-thirds received two doses of the vaccine, three weeks apart, and the rest got dummy shots.
According to Novavax, there were 77 Covid-19 cases that emerged among participants during the study. 14 in the group that got the vaccine and the rest in volunteers who received dummy shots.
None in the vaccine group had moderate or severe disease, compared with 14 in the placebo group.
With Novavax, the US becomes home to four Covid-19 vaccine manufacturers after Pfizer-BioNTech, Johnson & Johnson as well as Morderna.
The vaccine was similarly effective against several variants, including the alpha variant first detected in the UK and widespread in the US, and in high-risk populations including the elderly and people with other health problems.
While demand for Covid-19 shots in the US has eased, the need for more vaccines around the world remains urgent.
The Novavax vaccine, which is easy to store and transport, could play an important role in boosting vaccine supplies in the developing world which is currently experiencing a surge in the virus with limited doses for vaccination.
The company says it plans to seek authorization for the shots in the US, Europe, and elsewhere by the end of September and be able to produce up to 100 million doses a month by then before scaling up to 150 million doses in December.
“Many of our first doses will go to… low- and middle-income countries, and that was the goal, to begin with,” Novavax CEO Stanley Erck stated.
According to Our World In Data, less than one per cent of people in the developing countries have had one shot, while more than half the US population has had at least one COVID vaccine dose.