US biotechnology company Novavax confirmed on Thursday that its vaccine was 89% effective against COVID-19, but its effectiveness has significantly decreased against the South African variant, according to the results of final clinical trials.
This data heralds the upcoming registration of an emergency permit request, particularly in the UK, where Novavax already announced last week that it wanted to draft it at the start of the second quarter of 2021.
At the end of January, Novavax reported similar interim results.
A phase III clinical trial was conducted in the UK on more than 15,000 people between the ages of 18 and 84 years, 27% of whom were over 65 years of age.
The efficacy was 89.7% against symptomatic forms of the disease, with 96 cases of COVID-19 in the placebo group, compared with 10 cases in the vaccinated group.
In detail, its effectiveness was 96.4% against the primary strain of virus, and 86.3% against the British variant (B.1.1.7), according to the results reported by the company.
The vaccine, called NVX-CoV2373, was also very effective against severe forms of the disease: Five cases of COVID-19 were identified among the participants, but all were in the placebo group.
Another smaller trial (Phase 2B) was performed on 2,665 participants in South Africa, where another variant (B.1.351) was used extensively.
There, the effectiveness of the vaccine decreased to 48.6%.
The Novavax vaccine is given in two doses and uses a different technology from that used in vaccines already widely approved in the world. This is called a “subunit” vaccine, which is based on proteins that trigger an immune response, without viruses.
The company announced last week that it also wants to file an emergency permit application in the United States in the second quarter of 2021, but it is not sure that US health authorities will agree to study this application without waiting for the results of the parallel. The same vaccine trials in the United States.
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