Canadian Manufacturing

Novavax: Large study finds COVID-19 shot about 90% effective

While more than half of the U.S. population has had at least one COVID-19 vaccine dose, less than 1 percent of people in the developing world have had one shot, according to Our World In Data.

June 14, 2021  by Associated Press

Vaccine maker Novavax said on June 14 that its shot was highly effective against COVID-19 and also protected against variants in a large, late-stage study in the U.S. and Mexico.

The vaccine was about 90% effective overall and preliminary data showed it was safe, the company said.

While demand for COVID-19 shots in the U.S. has dropped off dramatically, the need for more vaccines around the world remains critical. The Novavax vaccine, which is easy to store and transport, is expected to play an important role in boosting vaccine supplies in the developing world.

That help is still months away, however. The company says it plans to seek authorization for the shots in the U.S., Europe and elsewhere by the end of September and be able to produce up to 100 million doses a month by then.

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“Many of our first doses will go to low- and middle-income countries, and that was the goal to begin with,” Novavax Chief Executive Stanley Erck told The Associated Press.

While more than half of the U.S. population has had at least one COVID-19 vaccine dose, less than 1 percent of people in the developing world have had one shot, according to Our World In Data.

Novavax’s study involved nearly 30,000 people ages 18 and up in the U.S. and Mexico. Two-thirds received two doses of the vaccine, three weeks apart, and the rest got dummy shots.

There were 77 cases of COVID-19 — 14 in the group that got the vaccine and the rest were in volunteers who received dummy shots. None in the vaccine group had moderate or severe disease, compared to 14 in the placebo group.

The vaccine was similarly effective against several variants including the one first detected in the U.K. that’s dominant in the U.S., and in high-risk populations including the elderly and people with other health problems.

Side effects were mostly mild — tenderness and pain at the injection site. There were no reports of unusual blood clots or heart problems, Erck said.

Novavax reported the results in a press release and plans to publish in a medical journal, where it will be vetted by independent experts. The Maryland-based company previously released findings from smaller studies in Britain and South Africa.

Novavax previously announced manufacturing delays due to supply shortages. The company now expects to reach production of 100 million doses a month by the end of September and 150 million doses a month by December.