Fourth COVID-19 Vaccine, From Novovax, Passes Key FDA Stage

American adults who haven’t but gotten vaccinated towards COVID-19 could quickly get one other alternative, as advisers to the Meals and Drug Administration on Tuesday backed a extra conventional sort of shot.

Subsequent, the FDA should determine whether or not to authorize the protein vaccine made by latecomer Novavax because the nation’s fourth coronavirus shot for adults. It’s made with extra typical know-how than as we speak’s dominant Pfizer and Moderna pictures and the lesser-used Johnson & Johnson choice.

Novavax pictures are already obtainable in Australia, Canada, components of Europe and a number of different international locations, both for preliminary vaccinations or as mix-and-match boosters. However U.S. clearance is a key hurdle for the Maryland-based firm.

FDA’s vaccine chief Dr. Peter Marks stated one other alternative within the U.S. could entice at the very least some vaccine holdouts—no matter their motive—to contemplate rolling up their sleeves.

“We do have an issue with vaccine uptake that could be very severe in america,” Marks stated. “Something we are able to do to get individuals extra snug to simply accept these probably life-saving merchandise is one thing that we really feel we’re compelled to do.”

Learn extra: Right here’s What to Know About COVID-19 Booster Pictures for Youngsters

A closing FDA choice isn’t anticipated instantly, because the company finishes combing by the information.

Neither is it clear how broadly a Novavax vaccine could be used, at the very least instantly. Solely about 27 million U.S. adults stay unvaccinated, based on the Facilities for Illness Management and Prevention. Finally, Novavax hopes additionally to grow to be a alternative for the tens of millions extra who haven’t but had a booster dose of as we speak’s vaccines, no matter which shot individuals acquired initially.

The FDA advisory panel voted that the advantages of two major Novavax doses outweigh its dangers—however that they had a number of questions concerning the pictures’ position at this level within the pandemic.

“This vaccine does certainly fill some unmet wants,” comparable to an choice for individuals with allergy symptoms to competing pictures, stated Dr. Michael Nelson of the College of Virginia.

However the FDA is contemplating two grownup doses for now, when different COVID-19 vaccines have wanted a 3rd dose, he stated.

And whereas “this vaccine has unbelievable potential,” there’s no clear proof but of how effectively it really works towards the extra contagious omicron variant and its siblings, added fellow adviser Dr. Bruce Gellin of the Rockefeller Basis.

Massive research within the U.S., Mexico and Britain discovered two doses of the Novavax vaccine had been secure and about 90% efficient at stopping symptomatic COVID-19. One complication: These research had been finished far earlier within the pandemic.

Novavax chief medical officer Dr. Filip Dubovsky stated assessments of a booster dose revved up virus-fighting antibodies that would sort out the omicron mutant, knowledge that FDA must contemplate later.

This kind of vaccine “we expect generates a broad immune response towards a broad array of variants,” he advised the FDA advisory panel.

Learn extra: Meet the Scientists Behind the First COVID-19 Vaccines

Trial contributors typically skilled solely gentle reactions comparable to injection-site ache or fatigue, however the FDA did spotlight a doable concern: six circumstances of coronary heart irritation, often known as myocarditis, discovered among the many 40,000 individuals who acquired the vaccine in research.

COVID-19 vaccines are coming below shut scrutiny for the potential for coronary heart irritation after the Pfizer and Moderna pictures had been linked to that uncommon threat.

Novavax argued there have been different potential causes for the studies. Different infections together with COVID-19 can also trigger coronary heart irritation. The corporate stated greater than 744,000 vaccinations in different international locations to this point assist the pictures’ security.

A number of of FDA’s advisers stated the Novavax vaccine ought to include a warning till extra is understood however cautioned towards comparisons with the Pfizer and Moderna pictures’ estimated charge of the uncommon facet impact.

“I don’t need to stigmatize this vaccine inappropriately,” stated Dr. Cody Meissner of Tufts College.

The Novavax vaccine is product of copies of the spike protein that coats the coronavirus, packaged into nanoparticles that to the immune system resemble a virus. Then an immune-boosting ingredient, or adjuvant, that’s produced from the bark of a South American tree is added that acts as a purple flag to make sure these particles look suspicious sufficient to spark a robust immune response.

Protein vaccines have been used for years to stop hepatitis B, shingles and different ailments.

That’s very totally different than the vaccines presently used within the U.S. Essentially the most broadly used Pfizer and Moderna vaccines ship genetic directions for the physique to supply its personal copies of the spike protein. J&J makes use of a chilly virus to ship these directions.

Manufacturing issues held up Novavax’s vaccine however the firm stated these issues have been resolved. Novavax, a small biotech firm, created the vaccine in its analysis lab. However the Serum Institute of India, the world’s largest vaccine maker, produces most of its pictures together with these slated for the U.S.


The Related Press Well being and Science Division receives assist from the Howard Hughes Medical Institute’s Division of Science Training. The AP is solely answerable for all content material.

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