coronavirus Coronavirus vaccine hopes as US firm Novavax says trial...

Coronavirus vaccine hopes as US firm Novavax says trial drug has produced ‘high-levels’ of COVID-beating antibodies


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HOPES for a breakthrough in a coronavirus vaccine have surged following a breakthrough in trials by US firm Novavax, which said its drug had produced “high levels” of antibodies in test patients.

Novavax Inc said on Tuesday its experimental COVID-19 vaccine produced high levels of antibodies against the novel coronavirus, according to initial data from a small, early-stage clinical trial.

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Novavax has reported successful trials[/caption]

The announcement saw the company’s shares go up 10 per cent, while the organization’s research chief Gregory Glenn told Reuters the late-stage clinical trial could potentially glean enough data to obtain regulatory approvals as early as December.

The company said it could start a large pivotal Phase III trial as soon as late September, and on a conference call added that it could produce 1 billion to 2 billion doses of the vaccine in 2021, Reuters reported.

The Maryland-based company said its vaccine NVX-CoV2373 produced higher levels of the antibodies in healthy volunteers after two doses than those found in recovered COVID-19 patients.

The addition of the company’s Matrix-M adjuvant, a substance designed to boost the body’s immune response, enhanced the effect of the vaccine, Novavax added.

AFP or licensors

Dr. Rhonda Flores looks at protein samples at Novavax labs in Rockville, Maryland on March 20, 2020, one of the labs developing a vaccine for the coronavirus[/caption]

AFP or licensors

In this file photo Dr. Nita Patel, Director of Antibody discovery and Vaccine development, lifts a vial with a potential coronavirus, COVID-19, vaccine at Novavax labs in Rockville, Maryland[/caption]

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A health care worker gives a thumbs up after people used nasal swabs for a self administered test at the new federally funded COVID-19 testing site at the Miami-Dade County Auditorium[/caption]

Getty Images – Getty

 Health care workers direct people to use a nasal swab for a self administered test in Miami[/caption]

AP:Associated Press

In this March 16, 2020, file photo, a subject receives a shot in the first-stage safety study clinical trial of a potential vaccine by Moderna for COVID-19[/caption]

In one of Novavax’s trials, 56 volunteers produced a high level of antibodies against the virus without any dangerous side effects.

In the second study, researchers found that the vaccine strongly protected monkeys from coronavirus infections, The New York Times reported.

John Moore, a virologist at Weill Cornell Medicine who was not involved in the studies, told the Times the results were the most impressive he had seen so far.

“This is the first one I’m looking at and saying, ‘Yeah, I’d take that,’” he said.

In July, Dr Anthony Fauci said he was “cautiously optimistic” about a vaccine that had been developed by Moderna.

The National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases expert spoke with CNN about briefing the president on the 30,000-person vaccine trial.

he coronavirus expert said he spoke with the president about the 89 sites across the country that are giving the coronavirus vaccines as part of the trial.

Fauci said he’s “cautiously optimistic” about the trials.

He added that there’s “never a guarantee” on the success of the vaccine – but that early data shows promise.

“If you look at the early data…The kinds of response that we induced in those volunteers they were robust antibody responses…and that’s one of the hallmarks,” Fauci said.

Fauci added that experts are hoping the vaccine is 60 percent or more effective.

For comparison, the CDC notes that the seasonal flu vaccine is around 40 to 60 percent effective, depending on the year.

He pointed out that vaccines from other companies will also soon be entering Phase 3 trials, and experts hope that more than one prove successful.

 Pfizer Inc. has also announced that it began its own study of vaccine candidates, aiming to run trials with a group of 30,000 people.

Fauci called the fast-track “record time,” as experts will have results from the final trial phase in a few months.

“To go from not even knowing what the virus was in early January to a phase 3 trial is really record time,” Fauci told CNN.

In the trial, 15,000 adults will be given the vaccine, while the other 15,000 are given a placebo.

He cautioned that answers will not arrive until November or December.

Fauci’s comments came as COVID-19 cases in the US soared past 4.85million cases, with deaths surpassing 159,000.


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