Novavax, the newest COVID vaccine, can mean protection against future COVID

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What’s happening

The FDA is expected to approve the new COVID-19 vaccine, Novavax, but it is still under consideration.

This is why it is important

Novavax will be the first protein-based vaccine for COVID-19 available in the United States, but the technology has been around for decades. Although this type of vaccine has some advantages over the pandemic, it also has unique challenges.

what is next

The FDA and the CDC must decide whether or not to use Novavax in the United States.

A committee of scientists and other experts advising the U.S. Food and Drug Administration should meet in late June to decide whether the U.S. should change its COVID-19 vaccines before the expected fall or winter.

The same committee earlier this month Novavax supported, protein-based COVID-19 vaccine, for approval. If the FDA gives it the green light, it will be the fourth COVID-19 vaccine on the U.S. market and the first to use a traditional coronavirus protein-based vaccine technology.

It will also be an additional tool in the country’s fight against COVID-19, but another is based on the ancestral strain of COVID-19. Vaccines made from ancestral strains continue to protect against serious illness and death, and health authorities are debating whether old vaccine formulas should be the way forward.

More than two years after the pandemic, the majority of Americans (approximately 67%) have been fully vaccinated against COVID-19, and many dose or two amplifiers. According to a survey by the Kaiser Family Foundation, those who are reluctant or opposed to vaccination appear to be continuing this position. The percentage of American adults surveyed changed from 15% in December 2020 to 17% in 2022, saying they would definitely not get the COVID-19 vaccine.

Novavax entered into a contract with the federal government through Operation Warp Speed, but faced production problems that prevented it from being granted emergency use. In addition to researching more information on how Novavax evaluates the omicron option, the FDA must sign the company’s production before approving the vaccine.

However, some scientists hope that Novavax could one day be used as a booster dose in combination with other vaccines, and that its main series could meet the need for a more traditional and equally effective COVID-19 vaccine. It is available under the name Nuvaxovid in other countries, including Canada and Australia.

Ross Kedl, a professor of immunology and microbiology at the University of Colorado’s Anshutz Medical Campus, said: “It’s good to have a vaccine like Novaax on board because it’s another option for people who have contraindications to other vaccine platforms.” email. “Some have rare problems such as allergic reactions or blood clots.”

Johnson and Johnson COVID-19 vaccine is still approved in the United States, but its use is allowed. restricted to rare, but a serious risk of blood clots. This leaves Pfizer and Moderna vaccines as the two options recommended for most adults.

Licensing Novavax may also allow it to be used as a booster dose or as part of a medication. to mix treatment with other COVID-19 vaccines.

Here’s what you need to know.

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What is Novavax? How is it different?

Novavax is a COVID-19 vaccine that uses traditional protein-based technology, unlike other vaccines currently available in the U.S.: Pfizer-BioNTech and Moderna use mRNA technology, while Johnson and Johnson use a viral vector vaccine.

The Novavax vaccine mixes the purified protein of the virus with supplements called adjuvants, which “stimulate the immune response and tell it to take this goal seriously,” Kedl said.

Dr. Glenn Wortmann, an infectious disease specialist at MedStar Health, said the common method for most vaccines is to use a protein base.

“Specifically, Novavax is very similar to the hepatitis B vaccine,” Wortmann said. Some vaccines against influenza and other diseases use similar technology.

While he suggests another option, the panel of judges may answer the question of whether Novavax offers high immunity to Pfizer and Moderna vaccines.

“Immunologically, I don’t think it brings anything really dangerous to the table that hasn’t been well treated by mRNA vaccines,” Kedl said.

But mRNA is easier to store and deliver than vaccines, he said. This may be an advantage in vaccinating more difficult-to-reach communities, where complex vaccines are difficult to refrigerate. But Novavax has serious drawbacks when it comes to production, Kedle said, because the production and refining of proteins is not cheap for the company.

“mRNA vaccines skip this step because they make everyone their own vaccine manufacturer,” he said. mRNA vaccines work by teaching our cells to make a protein that will trigger an immune response.

For this reason, mRNA vaccines are easier to adjust than Novavax when a new variant is released, Kedl said.

“The mRNA platform can be modified much more than Novavax does,” he said. “Every time a new version of the vaccine needs to be developed, Novavax needs to do a lot of work to determine what changes in the lab will still allow mass production and purification of good protein.”

Several vials of COVID-19 vaccine on a light blue background.

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How effective is Novavax?

Published test results have shown that Novavax is more than 90% effective against symptomatic COVID-19 and 100% effective against severe disease and death. Most importantly, however, this test was performed before the omicron or delta variants became widespread. Delta and omicron variants, including omicron subvariants such as BA.2, BA.2.12.1, and BA.4, are highly contagious and avoid some immunity to vaccines and previous infections.

There are no real data comparing the effectiveness of Novavax with other vaccines. According to the World Health Organization, “Vaccines cannot be compared to the head, as different methods have been used in the development of relevant studies.”

When will Novavax be available?

The FDA still has to approve major series (the first set of shots, not booster doses). Normally, it accepts the recommendation of the advisory committee, but the agency needs to consider more information.

Once there, the expert committee of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention will vote on who to recommend Novavax to, and then the CDC director will sign the recommendation.

The FDA’s advisory committee is scheduled to meet on June 28 to discuss future COVID-19 vaccine formulations, including the possibility of COVID-19 in the fall or winter.

Once approved and recommended, it is unclear to what extent Novavax can be compared to Moderna and Pfizer vaccines stored in pharmacies, clinics and doctor’s offices across the country. The U.S. government initially planned to purchase 110 million doses of the vaccine, according to The New York Times, but the U.S. has sufficient stocks of COVID-19 vaccines for basic doses and booster shots.

How does the US pay for Novavax?

While COVID-19 vaccines are free and available to all Americans, recent funding in Congress has been cut and federal officials have been warned that they are running out of money for COVID-19 tests, vaccines, treatment and related costs. Some services for Americans There is no health insurance expired.

However, COVID-19 vaccines will remain free for at least some time. According to The New York Times, money for the COVID-19 test and protective equipment is being moved to cover the cost of vaccines and fall treatment.

Can Novavax be used as an enhancer?

The FDA is considering authorizing Novavax as the main series (first two doses). If the FDA gives it the green light, it could be another option in the U.S. booster catalog. Last fall, the FDA signed mixing method authorized COVID-19 amplifiers or heterologous amplifier doses.

“There may be people who have received three or four of the mRNA vaccines and may be interested in testing another vaccine as part of a mixed and matching strategy,” said Wortmann, after data on the use of a vaccine such as Novavax with mRNA vaccines. .

“I think the real advantage of the Novavax vaccine is that it is widely available in the field,” Kedl said. “Because now there is another vaccine platform to mix and match with other vaccines.”

The information contained in this article is for educational and informational purposes only and is not intended as health or medical advice. Always consult your doctor or other qualified health care provider if you have any questions about your medical condition or health goals.

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