Novavax enters late-stage clinical trials for COVID-19 vaccine

Novavax enters late-stage clinical trials for COVID-19 vaccine

A vial with a potential coronavirus, COVID-19, vaccine at Novavax labs in Gaithersburg, Maryland on
A vial with a potential coronavirus, COVID-19, vaccine at Novavax labs in Gaithersburg, Maryland on March 20, 2020, one of the labs developing a vaccine for the coronavirus, COVID-19 AFP/ANDREW CABALLERO-REYNOLDS

WASHINGTON: US biotech firm Novavax said on Thursday (Sep 25) it is initiating the third and final stage of a clinical trial for its potential COVID-19 vaccine.

The trial will be carried out in the United Kingdom and aims to enroll 10,000 volunteers, aged 18 to 84, with and without underlying conditions, over the next four to six weeks.

"With a high level of SARS-CoV-2 transmission observed and expected to continue in the UK, we are optimistic that this pivotal Phase 3 clinical trial will enroll quickly and provide a near-term view of NVX-CoV2373's efficacy," said Gregory Glenn, the company's president of research and development, using the technical name for the formulation.

It is the 11th COVID-19 vaccine candidate to reach the Phase 3 stage globally.

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The company has been awarded US$1.6 billion by the US government to develop and fund the drug, which is administered by two intramuscular injections.

The Maryland-based company uses insect cells to grow synthesised pieces of the spike protein of the virus, which it hopes will evoke a robust human immune response.

It also uses an "adjuvant", a compound that boosts the production of neutralising antibodies.

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The company says the drug, which is a liquid formulation, can be stored at 2 degrees Celsius to 8 degrees Celsius.

In the spring, the company said it had proven the efficacy of a seasonal flu vaccine it had developed using the same technology.

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Source: AFP/aj

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