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The Novavax vaccine is efficient — and now I’m critically hoping that’s what I used to be injected with


What a relief. The Novavax COVID-19 vaccine is highly effective. US biotechnology has done an interim assessment of their Phase 3 study in the UK, which I volunteered for last year. And it shows that the vaccine is 89% effective against the disease.

So it looks like I made a good choice. Other than that it wasn’t a choice and there’s a 50% chance I wasn’t even vaccinated with the vaccine. It is the UK’s National Health Service that commissioned me for the Novavax NVAX study with + 21.44%. When I got my first shot in October, it could also have been another vaccine being tested in the UK, like the one developed by drug company AstraZeneca AZN, -0.40% with the University of Oxford, or Janssen, Johnson & Johnson’s JNJ, -0.26% pharmaceutical arm.

And I may have been injected with a saline solution – the placebo – a neutral substance because such studies require a comparison between a sample population that has been vaccinated with one that has not been vaccinated.

But let’s focus on the half-full glass. Another vaccine has been shown to be effective, which should be good news for everyone. The caveat is that it isn’t great against the dreaded South African variant of the disease, which so far has been shown to be less than 50% effective. But the trials continue, more data will come in, and Novavax has already started work on an improved version of its vaccine.

Vaccinated or not, I still feel a bit like a cheerleader for the Maryland-based small company that has never launched a vaccine. And in the current context of looming vaccine wars in Europe, especially between the UK and the European Union, the foreseeable addition of more manufacturing capacity points to the end of the current silly conflicts, at least in the next few months.

Novavax will now submit its data to regulators around the world. The UK and EU bodies are expected to rule soon – although it should be noted that the latter has not yet given the green light to AstraZeneca, which is already on sale in the UK. The UK has ordered 60 million doses of the Novavax vaccine, and the EU is in talks on a contract to buy 100 million with an option for 100 million more.

At least US biotechnology appears to have been generous in planning when it comes to manufacturing. Agreements have been made to manufacture the vaccine in the UK, Germany and the Czech Republic. CEO Stan Erck said earlier this month that it would have the capacity to produce 2 billion cans a year – and 1 billion cans by 2021.

Of course I would like to know if I have been vaccinated or not. But i have to wait Regardless of the interim results, the late-stage study is ongoing, and vaccine developers and drug regulators need as much data as they can collect. I won’t find out until the NHS invites me to get vaccinated as part of their national campaign, which, given my age group, could happen towards the end of February.

I will then inform the people responsible for the process who will pull me out of the anonymity (they call it “unblindable”) that is required by the process. At the moment, even my doctors don’t know if I got the placebo – and if I got just salty water in October, I’ll get the vaccine that the NHS injects into me.

On the other hand, if I happen to have been injected with the real Novavax vaccine, I hope the rest of us will soon experience the same sense of relief. Though I may avoid vacationing in South Africa this year.

Continue reading: The partnership between Pfizer and BioNTech pledges an additional 75 million doses of vaccine to help alleviate the shortage of the EU bloc

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