Pharmaceutical company Novavax announced it has successfully tested a new COVID-19 vaccine, adding another tool to use in the effort against the coronavirus.
The company, which is based in Gaithersburg, Maryland, said its vaccine was a fraction above 90% successful against the coronavirus and can be stored in refrigerators rather than the deep freeze required for some other vaccines, which could be a boost in supplying developing countries.
If the vaccine is approved by the Food and Drug Administration, Novavax said it would provide 110 million doses to the U.S. and another 1.1 billion doses worldwide. The company will use “tiered pricing,” making the vaccine more expensive in most Western nations.
“We think it’s terribly important the vaccine get distributed globally and that you have equitable access to it,” CEO Stanley Erck said on CNN. Mr. Erck told The Associated Press that “many of our first doses will go to low- and middle-income countries.”
Novavax‘s vaccine was tested in December on some 30,000 patients in more than 100 sites in the U.S. and another half-dozen sites in Mexico.
There were 77 COVID-19 infections among the trial group, and just 14 among the group that got the vaccine. None of the people who received the vaccine came down with moderate or severe disease, and side effects of the vaccine were mostly limited to pain around the injection site, according to the company.
In March, the company found similar results in smaller trials in the U.K. Mr. Ernst said he hoped that results would translate to quick approval from the FDA.
If the FDA accepts the British test results, “that could save us a couple of months getting into the U.S.,” he said on CNN.
At the moment, the U.S. has approved three vaccines. Two, created by Pfizer and Moderna, required two shots administered three weeks apart; the third, created by Johnson & Johnson, is just one shot.
The Johnson & Johnson vaccine was briefly halted in the U.S. after a handful of blood clot issues were reported, although many doctors said that was an overreaction by U.S. regulators to a tiny sample group. The restriction was quickly lifted, but vaccination rates in the U.S. have stalled.
Novavax‘s vaccine, called NVX-CoV2373, has also proved to be effective against newer COVID-19 variants that have emerged in small studies, according to the company.
Despite Monday’s announcement, Novavax stock was down 5% early Monday, trading at around $205 a share.