Chicago (Reuters) – The US biotech company Novavax has published positive study results with its Covid-19 vaccine in an initial interim balance.
In a study in the United Kingdom, the vaccine showed an effectiveness of 89.3 percent, Novavax announced on Friday night. Initial analyzes showed that the vaccine had almost the same effectiveness against the more contagious British virus variants. The study, in which 15,000 people between the ages of 18 and 84 took part, should become the basis for the approval process in Great Britain, the EU and other countries. However, since these are interim results, it will take another two to three months before applications for approval can be submitted.
Novavax stocks rose 34 percent after the data was released in US trading. Management said it was in talks with the FDA as to whether study data from the UK and another study in South Africa, where the vaccine was 60 percent effective, would be sufficient for an application for emergency approval. A study with 30,000 participants in the US and Mexico that began in December is currently still running. The EU Commission has concluded exploratory talks with Novavax about the purchase of up to 200 million vaccine doses.
John Moore, Professor of Microbiology and Immunology at Weill Cornell Medical College in New York, considers the UK study data from Novavax to be comparable to the results from Biontech / Pfizer and Moderna. Their Covid-19 vaccines have already been approved and studies have shown an effectiveness of 95 and 94 percent respectively. From his point of view, it makes no statistical difference. “The vaccine basically works well for the UK-dominant strain, which means it is likely to be equally effective in the US,” said Moore.
The interim analysis of the British study by Novavax is based on 62 infections among the study participants. Of these, 56 occurred in the placebo group and six in the vaccinated group. More than 50 percent were infected with the more contagious British variant.
Amesh Adalja, an infectious disease expert at the Johns Hopkins Center for Health Security, said he was concerned that there would be a lot of focus on the weaker effectiveness in South Africa. “We’re pampered by the data from Moderna and Pfizer. I know people will be alarmed, but 60 percent effectiveness against the new variant is acceptable,” he said, pointing out that the FDA has a minimum of 50 percent Percent for possible approval.