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A New and Better Way? Novavax COVID-19 Vaccine

A New and Better Way? Novavax COVID-19 Vaccine

Effective vaccinations for COVID-19 have been readily available in the United States for well over a year and a new vaccine has just been added to the arsenal. Novavax (NVX-CoV2373), created by a company of the same name, was granted emergency use authorization in early July and has now been endorsed by the CDC.(2) Novavax is approved for adults who are 18 years and older and currently is limited to those who have not yet received a COVID-19 vaccine. Novavax is a two-dose primary series with each shot typically administered three weeks apart.(1)

Novavax operates through a different mechanism compared to the current vaccines, Moderna, Pfizer, and Johnson & Johnson. The Moderna and Pfizer vaccines utilize mRNA technology to transport genetic instructions for making copies of the SARS-CoV-2 spike protein inside of the body. Johnson & Johnson also provides the same genetic instruction, but instead of mRNA, the J&J vaccine utilizes a disabled adenovirus for transport. Once the body detects copies of the spike protein, an immune response will be triggered.(3)

Alternatively, Novavax is a protein-based vaccine that uses traditional technology that is similar to the influenza and shingles vaccines.(4) With Novavax, copies of the SARS-CoV-2 spike protein are grown in a lab from moth cells that are infected with a viral transmitter, packaged within nanoparticles, and injected intramuscularly. These packaged spike proteins resemble the SARS-CoV-2 virus. To assist the body in provoking an immune response, Novavax contains an adjuvant made from soapbark tree extract.(5) Potential side effects of Novavax include chills, headache, fever, and tiredness.(1) Instances of pericarditis and myocarditis are rare.(4)

Protein-based vaccinations have been a well-understood technology for many years and medical experts are hopeful that Novavax may ease some vaccine hesitancy in some people.(3) Studies done in both Mexico and United States show an efficacy of 90% after two doses for mild, moderate, or severe COVID-19.(2) While Novavax may not surpass the efficacy of the mRNA vaccines currently available, Novavax has the added benefit of being easier to ship and store. The downside to Novavax is that producing and purifying protein for the vaccine means manufacturing costs are much higher.(4)

Officials from the CDC stressed that a booster will need to be cleared for use around five months after Novavax recipients receive their second dose. The United States currently has 3.2 million doses on order and the first vaccines are expected to be available at US pharmacies during the end of July or the beginning of August.(3)

References: 1, 234, 5

by Alexandra Lopez

Business Development

Hardy Diagnostics

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