Novavax says Covid vaccine is more than 89% effective

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Dr. Sonia Macieiewski (R) and Dr. Nita Patel, Director of Antibody discovery and Vaccine development, look at a sample of a respiratory virus at Novavax labs in Rockville, Maryland on March 20, 2020, one of the labs developing a vaccine for the coronavirus, COVID-19.
Andrew Caballero-Reynolds | AFP | Getty Images

Biotech firm Novavax said Thursday that its coronavirus vaccine was more than 89% effective in protecting against Covid-19 in its phase three clinical trial conducted in the United Kingdom.

The results were based on 62 confirmed Covid-19 infections among the trial’s 15,000 participants. The company said 56 cases were observed in the placebo group versus 6 cases observed in the group that received its vaccine. That resulted in an estimated vaccine efficacy of 89.3%, it said.

Shares of the company were u in after-hours trading.

With the results, the company “has the potential to play an important role in solving this global public health crisis,” Novavax CEO Stanley Erck said in a statement. “We look forward to continuing to work with our partners, collaborators, investigators and regulators around the world to make the vaccine available as quickly as possible.”

The study also found that the vaccine appeared to be 85.6% effective against the U.K. variant, also known as B.1.1.7. A separate phase two study in South Africa showed that the vaccine isn’t nearly as effective against a new strain ravaging that country.

The shot was still considered effective in protecting against the virus, but at an efficacy rate of just 49.4% among 44 Covid-19 cases in South Africa where 90% of the cases contained the troubling new variant, the company said.

Novavax’s vaccine contains synthesized pieces of the surface protein the coronavirus uses to infect humans. Novavax said the vaccine was well tolerated, adding that “severe, serious, and medically attended adverse events occurred at low levels and were balanced between vaccine and placebo groups.”

This is a developing story. Please check back for updates.

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