Alright, now on to Novavax…
Novavax is a small company based in Maryland and has never brought a vaccine to market. This company has a fascinating rollercoaster history; I highly recommend googling over coffee.
Novavax is using a different vaccine formula than Moderna, Pfizer, AstraZeneca, and Janssen. The Novavax vaccine contains a cornavirus protein that prompts the immune system. Scientists combined this protein with an immune-boosting compound derived from the soapbark tree. They tried doing it without this adjuvant but the vaccine didn’t work as well. Anyways, this type of vaccine has a much longer track record than the newer approaches.
The exciting (and innovative) aspect of this vaccine is that Novavax found a way to make this vaccine in moth cells (rather than mammal cells). The moth cells basically become little factories that pump out coronavirus proteins. This allows Novavax to manufacture the vaccine much quicker than others, which is obviously a big plus in the time sensitive pandemic.
The Novavax vaccine has gone through animal and small human trials so far. In animal studies, the Novavax vaccine provided stronger protection for monkeys than have other coronavirus vaccines. This isn’t surprising though, as other scientists predicted (and published) that the protein-based vaccine would be highly effective.
In August, Novavax published promising preliminary results: 56 volunteers produced a high level of antibodies against the virus without any dangerous side effects. Then, in September, Novavax started human Phase III trials in Britain among 15,000 people. The results from this trial should be ready early 2021. Novavax said that over 25% of participants in this trial are over the age of 65, with a lot of participants also having underlying medical conditions.
Yesterday, Phase III started in the US and Mexico. They plan on enrolling 30,000 people at 115 sites. It was supposed to start earlier (October), but Novavax ran into commercial manufacturing scale-up problems.
PS After seeing some concerning comments yesterday, I want to make it very clear that I have no conflicts of interest with any of these vaccine sponsors. Although it would be nice to be paid for this (half joking). I’m cheering for all the vaccines to make it to the finish line, but I think education and transparency is equally as important for the community.
Early results: https://www.nejm.org/doi/full/10.1056/NEJMoa2026920
Novavax History: https://www.google.com/…/coronavirus-vaccine-novavax…