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Novavax Likely to Add Fourth COVID Vaccine to U.S. Arsenal

A medical syringe in front of a Novavax logo, October 30, 2020 (Dado Ruvic/Reuters)

Novavax has announced that its coronavirus vaccine was 90.4 percent effective in a large clinical trial, potentially paving the way for its authorization for use in the U.S.

The vaccine showed levels of efficacy similar to the Pfizer-BioNTech and Moderna vaccines, following the trial involving 29,960 people in the U.S. and Mexico. Novavax’s vaccine uses proteins resembling the “spike” proteins on the surface of coronavirus, triggering an immune response in a recipient, in contrast to Pfizer and Moderna which use mRNA technology.

“Our vaccine works very well even though the virus has mutated significantly,” Dr. Gregory Glenn, head of research and development at Novavax, said in a statement.

Because of the current plentiful supply of authorized vaccines in the U.S., the Food and Drug Administration could require Novavax to complete a standard approval process rather than apply for emergency authorization. Novavax CEO Stanley Erck said that the company would have to wait several months to apply in any case, in order to scale up manufacturing capabilities.

“I think the good news is that the data are so compelling that it gives everybody an incentive to pay attention to our filings,” Erck said.

Erck added that the Novavax vaccine would likely first be available for countries outside the U.S. participating in the Covax program, possibly by the end of September.

Novavax won a $1.6 billion contract for 100 million doses from the Trump administration’s Operation Warp Speed. The company has never produced a vaccine cleared by regulators in its 33-year history.

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Zachary Evans is a news writer for National Review Online. He is a veteran of the Israeli Defense Forces and a trained violist.

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