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FDA panel endorses possible 4th COVID vaccine

A federal advisory committee on Tuesday recommended that the U.S. Food and Drug Administration authorize another two-dose COVID-19 vaccine, this one manufactured by a company known as Novavax, The New York Times reports.

Should the FDA move forward with authorization, the Novavax vaccine would become the fourth shot available for U.S. adults. Before that happens, however, the FDA must approve the Novavax manufacturing process, which, per the Times, has had its fair share of troubles over the last few years. Such issues mean the product will likely be unavailable for weeks.

Notably, the design of the Novavax vaccine — which has already been authorized in a number of countries — is "fundamentally different" from that of the other vaccines available in the U.S. Rather than taking an mRNA approach, the Novavax vaccine "contains nanoparticles made up of proteins from the surface of the coronavirus," the Times writes. 

On Tuesday, Dr. Peter Marks, who is in charge of vaccine regulation for the FDA, welcomed the alternative the Novavax shot provides. "We do have a problem with vaccine uptake that is very serious in the United States," Marks said, "and anything we can do to get people more comfortable to be able to accept these potentially lifesaving medical products is something that we feel we are compelled to do."