Study finds Novavax 93.2% effective against Alpha variant

novavax alpha variant, delta variant
© Stanislav Sukhin

A new study found that the Novavax vaccine was 93.2% effective against the Alpha variant – with no clarification about vaccine performance against the Delta variant

The new study finds that the Novavax vaccine is 93.2% effective against existing variants of concern at the time it was conducted.

The company further found that Novavax held at 100% efficacy against variants not of concern or interest – the two major categories that describe every mutation, from Gamma to Delta. The Novavax vaccine would therefore be 100% effective against the original virus, and potentially the ‘Mexican’ variant – yet to be named by the WHO under the new system.

The ‘Mexican’ variant is responsible for over 50% of cases sequenced by researchers at the University of Bologna. In a study, they found that this variant could be as powerful as the UK-based Alpha if left unchecked.

On 29 January, the data released from the South African clinical trial of Novavax suggested an efficiency of 60%. That figure has decreased by 5% to 55% efficacy against the South African mutation, also known as Beta.

Can Novavax be as effective against the Delta variant?

Since this research happened between January and April, 2021, it is unlikely to be an accurate imagining of how Novavax holds against Delta.

The first record of the Delta variant in the US was 16 March, 2021. Novavax say that they found 35 variants of concern in the placebo group, with 77 overall cases of COVID in the individuals who did not receive the vaccine. This means that the Alpha variant was more likely to be the one that Novavax was tested against. While the company have named the amount of variants of concern found, they did not specify if the much-anticipated Delta was among them.

Gregory M Glenn, President of Research and Development at Novavax, said: “These data show consistent, high levels of efficacy and reaffirm the ability of the vaccine to prevent COVID-19 amid ongoing genetic evolution of the virus.”

Novavax remains on track to reach manufacturing capacity of 150 million doses per month by the end of 2021. However, the TRIPS agreement supporting vaccine patents is still in place at the World Trade Organisation. This means that though Novavax will soon be available to buy, countries who are struggling to vaccinate will still be unable to access it in full.


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