Novavax says Covid-19 vaccine shows immune response against Beta virus variant

The vaccine, NVX-CoV2373, is being tested in multiple trials but has yet to be authorised for use in any country.
The vaccine, NVX-CoV2373, is being tested in multiple trials but has yet to be authorised for use in any country.PHOTO: AFP

WASHINGTON (REUTERS) - Novavax Inc said on Friday (June 11) its experimental Covid-19 vaccine showed immune response and protection against the highly contagious coronavirus variant originally identified in South Africa in a clinical trial.

The vaccine, NVX-CoV2373, is being tested in multiple trials but has yet to be authorised for use in any country.

Novavax also said studies in mice and baboons found that a different vaccine specifically targeting the South African variant now known as Beta produced immune response and protection, and that it expected to conduct further clinical testing of the Beta-focused vaccine in the fall.

The company said testing of blood serum of thirty participants of a mid-stage trial who had received both doses of NVX-CoV2373 revealed robust antibody responses to the original version of the coronavirus as well as against the Alpha variant first found in the UK and the Beta variant.

However, the response against the Beta variant was slightly less, Novavax said.

The European Medicines Agency started a rolling review of the Novavax shot in February. Data from its pivotal US and Mexico trial is expected to be released in the current quarter.

The company said the new data is available on the online preprint server bioRxiv and has been submitted for peer review.