Novavax's COVID-19 vaccine is effective against the British and South African variants, the Maryland biotech company said as the USA starts to detect more local cases of the highly transmissible mutations.
The data raises questions some about how the vaccine stacks up against the two that are already on the market, but experts said even with the lower efficacy, the J&J vaccine offers much needed protection against the virus.
On Thursday Novax reported that their midstage trial results on people in South Africa showed its vaccine has an overall effectiveness of 50% in preventing COVID-19.
In the trial of almost 44,000 volunteers, the level of protection against moderate and severe COVID-19 varied from 72% in the United States, to 66% in Latin America and just 57% in South Africa, from where a worrying variant has spread. The South African variant is, however, somewhat more potent for vaccines, with data from Novavax now showing that its vaccine efficacy has dropped from around 96% in the old variant to 49% in a trial against the strain of South Africa.
President Ramaphosa - in sentiments echoed by other public figures, said, "Ending the pandemic worldwide will require greater collaboration on the roll-out of vaccines, ensuring that no country is left behind in this effort".
Johnson and Johnson says its single-shot vaccine provides strong protection against severe cases of COVID-19, but it is somewhat less effective overall than the two mRNA vaccines now in use. During the course of this trial the firm noted that the triple mutant virus variant was widely circulating in South Africa.
For the current two-dose vaccines, there is a 1 in 20 chance of developing severe illness, said Stephanie Navarro Silvera, an epidemiologist and public health professor with Montclair State University.
Johnson and Johnson said there were no cases of severe allergic reactions or anaphylactic shock that have popped up during the rollout of the Pfizer and Moderna vaccines.
Sultan said in a statement that the vaccination drive was expected to start next week, beginning with front line healthcare workers.
Some relief may be on the way for the millions of people awaiting their turn to receive the COVID-19 vaccine.
Two cases of the new B.1.351 South African variant have now been reported in South Carolina, USA. "We see an unequivocal drop-off in efficacy".
Called a recombinant protein vaccine, the Maryland company uses genetic engineering to grow harmless copies of the coronavirus spike protein in insect cells.
That means the world must now divert attention to work on a new, adjusted vaccine or booster shot that works better on the South Africa strain, while it is still ramping up injections of the first shots, according to Topol.
And before you get your shot, know that If You Take These OTC Meds, You Have to Stop Before Getting the Vaccine.
The future will hit the new and scarier variants that have been identified in the UK, Brazil and South Africa.
STOFFELS: Yeah, it signals that it needs more immune response before you're protected.
Unlike these vaccines, J&J's does not require a second shot weeks after the first or need to be kept frozen, making it a strong candidate for use in parts of the world where transportation and cold storage present problems.
AstraZeneca's announcement angered the EU, who argue the drugmaker has breached their contract, prompting the EU to act against vaccines being produced in EU countries being exported from the bloc.
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