Vaccine maker Novavax and federal health researchers in the United States announced this Monday that they will begin a Phase 3 trial for the Novavax Covid-19 vaccine. This marks the fifth vaccine against the coronavirus that has reached this phase in the US.
“We’ve come this far, this fast, but we need to get to the finish line. That will require multiple vaccines using different approaches to ensure everyone is protected safely and effectively from this deadly disease.”
Dr. Francis Collins, director of the National Institutes of Health, recently released a statement regarding the vaccine, claiming that Novavax plans to enroll around 30,000 individuals across 115 trial sites in the US and Mexico. The vaccine is specifically known as NVX-CoV2373, and it will also be entering a Phase 3 trial in the united Kingdom as well.
Much like Pfizer and Moderna’s Covid-19 vaccine’s, Novavax is a two-dose regime that is designed to boost the body’s immune system and help it recognize the coronavirus should it enter into the body. The vaccine manufactures its own antigens which mimics the virus’ distinct spike protein. The antigen itself can’t “replicate or cause Covid-19,” either.
Novavax announced the promising data that the initial phases of the trial showed proves that the vaccine is safe and effective, and has so far only produced mild reactions that are typical to other vaccines as well. If the vaccine proves to be effective in the Phase 3 trials, it’ll be much easier to distribute than Pfizer and Moderna’s due to the fact that those vaccines must be kept at ultra-cold freezer temperatures, while the Novavax vaccine can be stored at refrigerated temperatures.
Johnson&Johnson and AstraZeneca are the other two companies that have vaccines currently in their own Phase 3 trials currently as well. Trials for these companies are also occurring on an international level to ensure full security in terms of the vaccine’s safeness.
Novavax should also be one of the companies receiving an infusion of funds from Operation Warp Speed, a program created by the Trump administration to help increase vaccine development. However, now that Pfizer and Moderna have already begun distributing their vaccines to healthcare workers and other vulnerable groups in America, there may be less funding available.
Dr. Gregory Glenn, the firm’s president of research and development, recently published a news release addressed to Americans who may be hesitant to sign up for the Phase 3 trial for the Novavax vaccine, expressing the importance of the research that they’re doing every day.
“We recognize that volunteers considering our trial may have questions about the potential impact on their ability to receive an authorized vaccine when it becomes available to them. We wish to reassure participants that we are working to ensure that their involvement in our trial does not negatively impact their ability to be vaccinated at the appropriate time,” he stated, continuing on that volunteers who are worried about receiving the placebo shot in the trial should also understand how important that data is as well.
The United Kingdom just wrapped up all the enrollments for their Phase 3 trial of the Novavax vaccine, and the US and Mexico should hopefully be following suit in the new year. In the meantime, continue to listen to your healthcare professionals and follow all the necessary protocols still in place to keep us all safe and healthy.
Eric Mastrota is a Contributing Editor at The National Digest based in New York. A graduate of SUNY New Paltz, he reports on world news, culture, and lifestyle. You can reach him at firstname.lastname@example.org.