Sat. Apr 17th, 2021

Novavax’s COVID-19 vaccine is effective against the British and South African variants, the Maryland biotech company said as the U.S. starts to detect more local cases of the highly transmissible mutations.

The Gaithersburg company said its protein-based COVID-19 vaccine demonstrated 89.3% efficacy in a phase 3 trial in the United Kingdom and about 60% efficacy in its South African trial.

In the U.S., the trial of Novavax’s two-dose vaccine has more than 16,000 participants and could finish enrolling 30,000 patients by mid-February. The trial, known as PREVENT-19, is being conducted in collaboration with the U.S. government.

The UK study included more than 15,000 participants ages 18 to 84 including 27% of whom were over the age of 65. The first analysis of the trial is based on 62 cases, with 56 cases of COVID-19 detected in the placebo group and six cases in the vaccine group.

The vaccine is the first “to demonstrate not only high clinical efficacy against COVID 19 but also significant clinical efficacy against both the rapidly emerging UK and South Africa variants,” said company President Stanley C. Erck.

The analysis also showed that the UK variant was detected in more than half of the lab-confirmed symptomatic cases of COVID-19. The vaccine was about 95.6% effective against the original COVID-19 strain and 85.6% against the UK strain, according to Novavax.

In South Africa, the company looked at how the vaccine affected its HIV-positive and negative participants. The shot proved 60% effective in preventing COVID-19 in 94% of HIV-negative participants and about 50% effective in HIV-positive individuals, the company said. Twenty-nine cases of COVID-19 were found in the placebo group and 15 in the vaccine group.

The study included more than 4,400 participants. Nearly 93% of the COVID-19 cases were the South African variant, initial sequencing data shows.

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