A new vaccine is on its way after the Novavax vaccine showed 89% protection against COVID.
More importantly, half of the cases on the trial were with the new ‘Kent’ variant so this is first vaccine to show it is effective against the new more contagious variant.
The company should start manufacturing the vaccine around March, although final submission of data to the MHRA won’t happen for a few weeks yet. With the vaccine being subject to approval- once passed it should be rolling out around May as the whole process takes about two months. Production is from Stockton-On-Tees in the North East of England, but Novavax says it is also planning to import vaccine to the UK from April – no doubt the EU will try and stand in the way of that!
Although the vaccine has been tested against the more contagious ‘Kent’ or ‘UK’ variant, there is no reliable news yet on how it will cope with the South African version, but it is rumoured to be only 50% effective. The other good news is that it should be kept at 2-8 degrees C, so will be easier to transport and store. With supplies not arriving at GP’s until May, it is a race against time to get people vaccinated before more variants appear.
one more step towards getting Britain vaccinated
The Novavax vaccine is a 2 dose protein subunit vaccine, so indications are that the scientists at Novavax have picked the ‘right’ parts of the protein thus far. The company say they have some very interesting studies in South Africa due to report out in the next few weeks so there should be more news about if it’s active vs E484K (South African) mutations too.
One responder to the news was quick to highlight that for those that have a concern with insects and wildlife, this vaccine uses moth cells during its production. Therefore isn’t insect friendly, which could mean that many vegetarian/ vegans/ nature lovers may want to choose a different vaccine that suits their lifestyle and conscience. For the rest of us, we will just accept the first vaccine we can get to keep us safe.