A late-stage study in the United States and Mexico found that Novavax was effective against COVID-19 and its variants.
Vaccine maker Novavax says its shot is very effective against COVID-19, and that it’s protected from large-scale, recent studies in the United States and Mexico that boost global immunization efforts.
The vaccine was generally about 90 percent effective, with preliminary data showing that it was safe.
Although demand for COVID-19 personnel in the United States has declined sharply, the need for more vaccines around the world remains strong.
The Novavax vaccine, which is easily stored and transported, is expected to play an important role in boosting vaccine stocks in the developing world.
But that is still months away. The company says it plans to seek permission to shoot in the United States, Europe and elsewhere by the end of September, before which it will be able to produce up to 100 million doses a month.
“Many of our first tranches will go to low- and middle-income countries, and that was the goal,” Novavax CEO Stanley Erk told The Associated Press.
Although more than half of the US population had at least one dose of the COVID vaccine, less than 1 percent of people in the developing world had one shot, according to Our World In Data.
The Novavax study involved nearly 30,000 people over the age of 18 in the United States and Mexico. Two-thirds received two doses of the vaccine, three weeks apart, and the rest received false shots.
There were 77 cases of COVID, 14 in the vaccinated group and the rest in volunteers who received fake shots.
No one in the vaccine group had moderate or severe disease compared with 14 in the placebo group.
The vaccine was just as effective against several variants, including the alpha version, first found in the United Kingdom, which was common in the United States, in high-risk populations, including the elderly, and those with other health problems.
Side effects were generally mild: tenderness and pain at the injection site. Erk said there were no unusual blood or heart problems.
Novavax reported the results in a press release and plans to publish them in a medical journal, where they will be reviewed by independent experts.
The Maryland-based company has previously published the results of smaller studies in Britain and South Africa.
COVID-19 vaccines teach the body to recognize the coronavirus, especially the stem protein that covers it, and to prepare to fight the virus.
The Novavax vaccine is made from laboratory-grown samples of this protein.
The Novavax vaccine can be stored in standard refrigerators for easy distribution.
Novavax has previously announced production delays due to a lack of supply.
The company now expects to produce 100 million doses per month by the end of September and 150 million doses per month by December.
It has pledged 110 million doses to the United States next year and a total of 1.1 billion doses to developing countries.
In May, the vaccine alliance, Gavi, announced that it had signed a contract to buy 350 million doses of Novavax vaccine, with deliveries to begin in the third quarter.
COVAX, the global vaccine initiative, is facing a severe shortage of vaccines after India, its largest supplier, stopped exporting by the end of the year.
Novavax has been developing vaccines for over 30 years, but has not marketed them.
The company’s coronavirus vaccines are partly funded by the US government.