American biotechnology firm Novavax announced that its coronavirus vaccine is more than 89 percent effective in protecting against COVID-19 based on its phase three clinical trial conducted in the United Kingdom.
The results were based on 62 confirmed COVID-19 infections among the trial’s 15,000 participants. The company said 56 cases were observed in the trial group whereas just six cases were observed in the group that received its vaccine. That resulted in an estimated vaccine efficacy of 89.3 percent, it said.
With the results, the company “has the potential to play an important role in solving this global public health crisis,” Novavax CEO Stanley Erck said in a statement. “We look forward to continuing to work with our partners, collaborators, investigators and regulators around the world to make the vaccine available as quickly as possible.”
Effective against UK variant
The study also found that the vaccine appeared to be 85.6 percent effective against the new variant of the COVID-19 vaccine found in the UK, also known as B.1.1.7. A separate phase two study in South Africa showed that the vaccine isn’t nearly as effective against a new strain spreading in that country.
Novavax is among several companies developing a vaccine to fight the virus, which has infected more than 101 million people worldwide and killed at least 2.2 million till date, according to data.
In July, the US government, as part of the Trump administration’s Operation Warp Speed initiative, announced it would pay Novavax $1.6 billion to develop and manufacture the potential vaccine, with the aim of delivering 100 million doses by the beginning of 2021.
It’s unclear if the latest data will be enough for Novavax to be given an emergency use authorization by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) that would allow the distribution in the US. The company began a late-stage trial with 30,000 people in the US and Mexico in late December.