Novavax enters late-stage clinical trials for COVID-19 vaccine

WASHINGTON: US biotech firm Novavax said on Thursday (Sep 25) it is initiating the third and final stage of a clinical trial for its potential COVID-19 vaccine.

The trial will be carried out in the United Kingdom and aims to enroll 10,000 volunteers, aged 18 to 84, with and without underlying conditions, over the next four to six weeks.

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"With a high level of SARS-CoV-2 transmission observed and expected to continue in the UK, we are optimistic that this pivotal Phase 3 clinical trial will enroll quickly and provide a near-term view of NVX-CoV2373's efficacy," said Gregory Glenn, the company's president of research and development, using the technical name for the formulation.

It is the 11th COVID-19 vaccine candidate to reach the Phase 3 stage globally.

READ: A science first approach to making COVID-19 vaccines, says Singapore pharmaceutical industry body

The company has been awarded US$1.6 billion by the US government to develop and fund the drug, which is administered by two intramuscular injections.

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The Maryland-based company uses insect cells to grow synthesised pieces of the spike protein of the virus, which it hopes will evoke a robust human immune response.

It also uses an "adjuvant", a compound that boosts the production of neutralising antibodies.

READ: Commentary – The challenge of keeping COVID-19 vaccines at sub-zero temperatures during distribution

The company says the drug, which is a liquid formulatioRead More – Source