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Coronavirus Explainers

Coronavirus Vaccine Explainer: How Effective Is Novavax Vaccine? When Will It Be Launched In India?

Is world about to get its fourth vaccine against coronavirus – US firm Novavax? The interim data shared by the company recently suggested 95.6 per cent efficacy against the original coronavirus and 85.6 per cent efficacy against the more recent UK variant in a phase 3 clinical trial in the United Kingdom

Coronavirus Vaccine Explainer: How Effective Is Novavax Vaccine? When Will It Be Launched In India?

New Delhi: After one year of struggle with dealing with the worst kind of pandemic mankind has seen in 100 years – the COVID-19, 2021 kick-started on a bright note for many countries including India with vaccination drives taking place to fight the pandemic. Currently, across the world, three vaccines have been approved for which certain national regulatory authorities have authorized the use. These are AstraZeneca and the University of Oxford’s adenovirus product, Pfizer and BioNTech’s mRNA vaccine and another mRNA candidate developed by Moderna. Adding to the world’s arsenal to fight novel coronavirus – now a fourth vaccine has EMERGED: US firm Novavax’s two-dose protein subunit-based candidate NVX-CoV2373 containing a proprietary Matrix-M adjuvant that has been found effective in preventing COVID-19 and also proven to be efficacious against two emerging variants of COVID-19 in the UK and South Africa.

Also Read: Russia’s COVID-19 Vaccine 91.6% Effective, Soon To Apply For Emergency Use In India

In India so far two COVID-19 vaccines have been approved – Serum Institute of India (SII), manufactured Covishield, the Indian variant of the AZD1222 vaccine developed by Oxford University and AstraZeneca and Covaxin, manufactured by Hyderabad-based Bharat Biotech in collaboration with the Indian Council of Medical Research (ICMR). Serum Institute of India is now hopeful of launching Covovax in India soon – developed in partnership with American vaccine developer Novavax.

Here’s a quick lowdown on Novavax vaccine, how effective it is, its trial and efficacy results and when will it be launched in India:

Also Read: Vaccine Explainer: How Does Immunisation Protect Against A Disease?

How Does The Novavax Vaccine Works?

The Novavax vaccine also works in a similar fashion as the other vaccines – it teaches the immune system to make antibodies to the coronavirus spike protein. In this particular vaccine, the researchers have inserted a modified gene into a virus, called a baculovirus, and allowed it to infect insect cells. The infected cells then produced spike proteins that spontaneously joined together to form spikes, as they do on the surface of the coronavirus. Spike proteins from these cells are assembled into nanoparticles and are then injected into the body via the vaccine where the immune system mounts an antibody response so that if the body encounters coronavirus in future, its immune system is ready to fight it off effectively. The vaccine is given IN two doses, 21 days apart.

Unlike the Pfizer, Moderna and AstraZeneca vaccines, which deliver the genetic instructions that make human cells create a key protein of the virus, the Novavax vaccine shot injects the proteins directly into the body to evoke an immune response.

A similar method of growing and harvesting virus proteins is already used to make licensed vaccines for diseases including influenza and Human papillomavirus (HPV).

How Effective Is The Novavax Vaccine?

According to the interim data shared by the company on January 28, the trial of Novavax Vaccine suggested 95.6 per cent efficacy against the original coronavirus and 85.6 per cent efficacy against the more recent UK variant in a phase 3 clinical trial in the United Kingdom.

As per the data, the study enrolled more than 15,000 participants between 18-84 years of age, including 27 per cent, almost 4,000 people, over the age of 65.

In terms of safety, the interim analysis said that the vaccine was generally well tolerated. The safety database also showed that severe, serious, and medically attended adverse events occurred at low levels and were balanced between vaccine and placebo groups.

Whereas, in the South Africa Phase 2b clinical trial, 60 percent efficacy for the prevention of mild, moderate and severe COVID-19 disease was observed in the 94 percent of the study population that was HIV-negative. The South Africa study enrolled over 4,400 patients.

The company’s president and CEO Stanley Erck, using Novavax’s name for the vaccine said,

NVX-CoV2373 has the potential to play an important role in solving this global public health crisis. We look forward to continuing to work with our partners, collaborators, investigators and regulators around the world to make the vaccine available as quickly as possible.

Soon after the results were announced, British Prime Minister Boris Johnson also tweeted that the results were “good news.”

“Our medicines regulator will now assess the vaccine, which will be made in Teesside University in England. If approved, we have 60m doses on order,” he added.

Also Read: Coronavirus Explainer: Who Should Not Get Vaccinated? What Are The Possible Adverse Reactions And Other Questions Answered

What Is Next In Line For Novavax?

Currently, the results published by Novavax are interim results. In order to get approved for use, the company needs to accrue more COVID-19 cases to reach a final analysis, which will be submitted to a journal for peer-review. The vaccine is  currently being tested in the US and Mexico, which have recruited 16,000 of 30,000 participants.

Novavax is hopeful it could file for emergency approval globally in the next two to three months. The company has already started to stockpile vaccine at six operating manufacturing locations, and said it expects a total of eight plants in seven countries (including Serum Institute of India) to produce at the rate of 2 billion doses per year.

When Will It Be Launched In India?

Serum Institute of India, the world’s biggest vaccine maker in terms of vaccine doses, is hopeful of launching Covovax developed in partnership with Novavax by June, its CEO Adar Poonawalla said recently.

The Pune-based Serum Institute has already applied for local trials for the vaccine candidate in India. On January 30, Serum Institute’s Adar Poonawalla shared the news with the netizens and said,

Our partnership for a COVID-19 vaccine with @Novavax has also published excellent efficacy results. We have also applied to start trials in India. Hope to launch #COVOVAX by June 2021!

Also Read: Serum Institute’s Adar Poonawalla Explains How Vaccines Are Being Manufactured From The Facility

Earlier in the month of January, Mr Poonawalla had said that his company would manufacture “upwards of 40-50 million doses per month” of the Novavax vaccine from around April. 

Also Read: COVID Tongue: Here’s All You Need To Know About The Latest Coronavirus Symptom

NDTV – Dettol Banega Swasth India campaign is an extension of the five-year-old Banega Swachh India initiative helmed by Campaign Ambassador Amitabh Bachchan. It aims to spread awareness about critical health issues facing the country. In wake of the current COVID-19 pandemic, the need for WASH (WaterSanitation and Hygiene) is reaffirmed as handwashing is one of the ways to prevent Coronavirus infection and other diseases. The campaign highlights the importance of nutrition and healthcare for women and children to prevent maternal and child mortality, fight malnutrition, stunting, wasting, anaemia and disease prevention through vaccines. Importance of programmes like Public Distribution System (PDS), Mid-day Meal Scheme, POSHAN Abhiyan and the role of Aganwadis and ASHA workers are also covered. Only a Swachh or clean India where toilets are used and open defecation free (ODF) status achieved as part of the Swachh Bharat Abhiyan launched by Prime Minister Narendra Modi in 2014, can eradicate diseases like diahorrea and become a Swasth or healthy India. The campaign will continue to cover issues like air pollutionwaste managementplastic banmanual scavenging and sanitation workers and menstrual hygiene



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