Chicago: Novavax said on Thursday its coronavirus vaccine was 89.3 per cent effective in preventing COVID-19 in a trial conducted in the United Kingdom, and was nearly as effective in protecting against the more highly contagious variant first discovered in the UK, according to a preliminary analysis.
Novavax said the trial, which enrolled 15,000 people aged 18 to 84, is expected to be used to apply for regulatory review in Britain, the European Union and other countries. Some 27 per cent of people in the trial are over age 65.
The study took place as the more highly transmissible UK variant was circulating, and the preliminary analysis suggests the vaccine was 85.6 per cent effective against this mutation, the US company announced in a news release. It did not provide the study data.
British Prime Minister Boris Johnson said on Thursday that it was good news the Novavax vaccine for COVID-19 had proved effective.
"Our medicines regulator will now assess the vaccine, which will be made in Teesside. If approved, we have 60m (million) doses on order," Johnson said on Twitter.
The company also said its vaccine was 60 per cent effective in preventing COVID-19 among subjects who were HIV negative in its 4,400-person midstage trial in South Africa, where a concerning highly transmissible coronavirus variant first identified there has been circulating.
That variant has been shown to evade antibody protection in lab studies by Moderna Inc and Pfizer Inc and partner BioNTech SE.
The 60 per cent reduced risk against COVID-19 illness in vaccinated individuals in South Africans underscores the value of this vaccine to prevent illness from the highly worrisome variant currently circulating in South Africa, and which is spreading globally,” Professor Shabir Maddi, lead investigator of the Novavax vaccine trial in South Africa.
Novavax shares, which initially fell in after hours trading, turned around and were up more than 22 per cent.
Novavax said it started making new versions of its vaccine to protect against emerging virus variants in early January and expects to select ideal candidates for a booster in the coming days. The company said it plans to initiate clinical testing of these new vaccines in the second quarter of this year.