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UK trials show experimental Novavax coronavirus vaccine is 89.3% effective

Written by on 28/01/2021

UK phase three trials of the experimental Novavax COVID-19 vaccine have found it demonstrated 89.3% efficacy against the virus.

Preliminary analysis showed the new UK variant was detected in more than half of the coronavirus cases recorded in the trials, with the vaccine candidate shown to be 95.6% effective against the original strain and 85.6% effective against the variant.

Prime minister Boris Johnson said the Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency will start to assess the vaccination straight away.

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The study involved more than 15,000 participants aged 18 to 84, with 27% aged over 65.

An early stage study carried out on 4,400 people in South Africa included some volunteers with HIV.

Among the HIV-negative volunteers, the vaccine appears 60% effective and including the immune-compromised volunteers, overall the protection was 49, the company has said.

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The UK has already ordered 60 million vials of the vaccine which will be manufactured at the Fujifilm plant in Stockton-on-Tees.

It only needs to be kept at fridge temperature, meaning distribution and supply chain management is easier, like the Oxford/AstraZeneca jab.

After an initial dose, a second shot is given three weeks later.

At a cost of $16 (£11.66) per vaccination, the Novavax jab is more expensive than the AstraZeneca one, but cheaper than Pfizer or Moderna.

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Health Secretary Matt Hancock said: “This is positive news and, if approved by the medicines regulator, the Novavax vaccine will be a significant boost to our vaccination programme and another weapon in our arsenal to beat this awful virus.

“The NHS stands ready to roll this vaccine out as quickly as possible to those most at risk if it is authorised.”

Vaccines Minister Nadhim Zahawi said: “Having taken part in Novavax’s vaccine trial myself, I am particularly thrilled to see such positive results. I want to thank the thousands of trial volunteers, without whom these results would not have been possible.

“It will now be for the regulator to do its crucial work in assessing the efficacy and safety of this vaccine, but if approved it will be a further boost to our vaccination programme.”

Clive Dix, chairman of the UK Vaccine Taskforce, said: “These are spectacular results, and we are very pleased to have helped Novavax with the development of this vaccine. The efficacy shown against the emerging variants is also extremely encouraging.

“This is an incredible achievement that will ensure we can protect individuals in the UK and the rest of the world from this virus.”

Over three nights Sky News will host a series of special programmes examining the UK’s response to the pandemic.

Watch COVID Crisis: Learning the Lessons at 8pm on 9, 10 and 11 February

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