Novavax vaccine could provide 'much-needed boost' to global vaccine push

(Image credit: JUSTIN TALLIS/AFP via Getty Images)

A COVID-19 vaccine from Novavax was shown to be highly effective in a phase 3 trial, the company announced Monday.

In a study that enrolled nearly 30,000 participants in the United States and Mexico, the Novavax vaccine demonstrated 90.4 percent overall efficacy, and it also "demonstrated 100 percent protection against moderate and severe disease," the company said.

"It's very important for the world's population to have, yet again, another highly efficacious vaccine that looks in its trial to have a good safety profile," Dr. Anthony Fauci, director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, said, The Washington Post reports.

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The Novavax shots "may be the most tolerable yet tested," the Post also reported, with common side effects being fatigue, headaches, and muscle pain. In the U.S., Novavax might not seek emergency use authorization from the Food and Drug Administration until September, and given the U.S. has sufficient vaccine supply, it's possible the FDA could tell the company to apply for a full license instead, The New York Times reports.

But Novavax CEO Stanley Erck told The Wall Street Journal that "at least in the foreseeable future, we're going to have a bigger impact" outside of the U.S, and the company has pledged 1.1 billion doses to the World Health Organization global vaccine initiative Covax, per the Post. The vaccine, then, could provide a "much-needed boost to global" vaccination efforts if approved, the Journal writes.

"Many of our first doses will go to ... low and middle-income countries, and that was the goal to begin with," Erck told The Associated Press. The vaccine also has the benefit of being able to be stored at refrigerator temperatures, ABC News reports.

Novavax says that if the vaccine is approved, it's on track to produce 100 million doses a month by the end of the third quarter of 2021 and 150 million doses a month by the end of the fourth quarter.

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Brendan Morrow

Brendan is a staff writer at The Week. A graduate of Hofstra University with a degree in journalism, he also writes about horror films for Bloody Disgusting and has previously contributed to The Cheat Sheet, Heavy, WhatCulture, and more. He lives in New York City surrounded by Star Wars posters.