A Phase 3 trial of biotechnology company Novavax’s Covid-19 vaccine shows it has an efficacy of 89.3%, the company announced on Thursday.
But the company highlighted the vaccine’s apparent efficacy against new variants of the virus that have alarmed politicians and scientists alike.
The trial, conducted in the United Kingdom, included efficacy estimates by strain based on PCR tests performed on strains from 56 Covid-19 cases in the trial. The vaccine was found to have 95.6% efficacy against the original novel coronavirus and 85.6% against the variant first identified in the UK, known as B.1.1.7.
The company also announced that a Phase 2b study conducted in South Africa, where another variant was first identified, showed 60% efficacy.
"With today’s results from our UK Phase 3 and South Africa Phase 2b clinical trials, we have now reported data on our COVID-19 vaccine from Phase 1, 2 and 3 trials involving over 20,000 participants," Stanley Erck, Novavax president and CEO, said in the announcement.
The company's vaccine, known as NVX-CoV2373, “is the first vaccine to demonstrate not only high clinical efficacy against COVID-19 but also significant clinical efficacy against both the rapidly emerging UK and South Africa variants,” Erck said. “NVX-CoV2373 has the potential to play an important role in solving this global public health crisis."
Regarding the trial in South Africa, “the 60% reduced risk against COVID-19 illness in vaccinated individuals in South Africans underscores the value of this vaccine to prevent illness from the highly worrisome variant currently circulating in South Africa, and which is spreading globally,” Shabir Maddi, principal investigator in the Novavax Covid-19 vaccine trial in South Africa, said in the announcement.
"This is the first COVID-19 vaccine for which we now have objective evidence that it protects against the variant dominating in South Africa,” Maddi said.