Title Covid-19: Whatever happened to the Novavax vaccine? Degree of recognition International Media name/outlet British Medical Journal Media type Country/Territory United Kingdom Date 8/12/21 Description Novavax had a vaccine with big promise. Its more traditional technology and easy storage attracted big global investment but, as year two of the pandemic draws to a close, the company struggles with regulators, disappoints hopeful governments, and lags far behind its competitors. Is there still hope, ask Serena Tinari and Catherine Riva
he Novavax vaccine candidate, NVX-CoV2373, is based on a technology already used in a few approved products. It contains a protein derived from moth cells, and its Matrix-M1 adjuvant is based on a saponin extracted from the Chilean soapbark tree (Quillaja saponaria). Hamid Merchant, pharmaceutical scientist at the University of Huddersfield, told The BMJ that a saponin was “the secret ingredient behind the success story of the world’s first malaria vaccine that recently met the WHO efficacy targets.” Crucially, the vaccine offers another option in addition to those based on novel technologies, such as Pfizer and Moderna’s products.
And with each switch of manufacturing facilities came more delay. Merchant told The BMJ that bringing in new manufacturing contractors is considered by regulators to be a “critical change.” He says, “It requires additional studies demonstrating consistency in manufacturing and quality operations and assessment of related risks in efficacy and safety.”
Huddersfield University’s Merchant suggests there is no longer a desperate need for an additional vaccine candidate “and hence the emergency use authorisation from the FDA may not be available any more.” Novavax might have missed the boat of the biggest business, as most of the middle to high income countries have already sourced their vaccine quantities. Another example is the withdrawal of an mRNA vaccine candidate by CureVac AG, dropped despite being under EMA’s review.
Producer/Author Serena Tinari and Catherine Riva URL https://www.bmj.com/content/375/bmj.n2965 Persons Hamid Merchant