Speed Reads

Solving COVID

Early Novavax coronavirus vaccine trial produced antibodies in all of its human volunteers

Another vaccine is showing promising results in the fight to find a COVID-19 solution.

Novavax, a Maryland-based company with $1.6 billion federal funding behind its coronavirus vaccine development, released two preliminary studies Tuesday. In one, all of its more than 130 human volunteers produced antibodies to combat the coronavirus, and in another, monkeys developed strong a resistence to the virus.

All of the humans in Novavax's trial may have some form of protection against COVID-19, but 56 of them produced a high level of antibodies without any dangerous side effects, The New York Times notes. Volunteers who had two doses of the vaccine three weeks apart, plus a booster, had the best results. Their antibodies measured approximately four times higher than those in patients who'd recovered from coronavirus, Stat News reports. Still, more than 60 percent of recipients had side effects including pain, headaches, and fatigue. Eight people had to be hospitalized, though their side effects were not life threatening and they were quickly released.

Novavax's vaccines are only in their first phase of study, while other developers have some in a phase three, where large amounts of people receive the vaccine. Still, John Moore, a virologist at Weill Cornell Medicine who was not involved in the studies, told the Times these were some of the most promising vaccine results he has seen yet. "This is the first one I'm looking at and saying, 'Yeah, I'd take that,'" Moore said. Angela Rasmussen, a virologist at Columbia University who was not involved in the studies, cautioned there's no guarantee of safety until a phase three trial compares people who get the vaccine with people who got a placebo. It's still essential this study receives a peer review as well.