Researchers at UT Health San Antonio are buoyed by the news that the Novavax vaccine is strongly effective against the COVID-19 virus. Biotechnology company Novavax released Phase 3 clinical trial results from 119 sites in the U.S. and Mexico on June 14.
UT Health San Antonio collaborated with University Health as part of the international COVID-19 Prevention Network and enrolled 176 Novavax clinical trial participants in San Antonio for the Phase 3 study, which is called PREVENT-19.
“We are so excited that UT Health San Antonio, University Health and our city played a part in this important trial,” said site principal investigator Barbara Taylor, MD, MS, associate professor of infectious diseases at UT Health San Antonio and assistant dean for the MD/MPH program diseases in the university’s Joe R. and Teresa Lozano Long School of Medicine.
“We want to say a huge thank you to our participants for their continued commitment to helping our community end COVID-19,” Dr. Taylor said.
The vaccine candidate, called NVX-CoV2373, is a protein engineered from the genetic sequence of the SARS-CoV-2 virus that causes COVID-19. The vaccine candidate was shown to have a reassuring safety profile and elicited a strong immune response in a Phase I trial in results announced by the company last August.
Because Novavax is a different type of vaccine than the Pfizer, Moderna and Johnson & Johnson vaccines, it promises to be an important solution worldwide.
“The Novavax vaccine is a protein adjuvant vaccine and the first COVID-19 vaccine using that strategy to show efficacy,” Dr. Taylor said. “This is important because it is stable in a standard refrigerator and can be used in locations where having a minus-80 degree freezer, required by some of the other vaccines, is a challenge: pharmacies, primary care clinics, rural settings, and low- and middle-income countries. This can be yet another tool to help address equity in vaccine access.”
Dr. Taylor said the local research team is particularly happy to see:
- 100% protection against moderate or severe COVID-19 disease.
- high efficacy in high-risk populations, including those over 65 years of age.
- high efficacy against variants of concern.
“We look forward to data from the study being published and an anticipated Emergency Use Authorization submission in the next few months,” Dr. Taylor said.
The Novavax vaccine is administered in two doses timed at least three weeks apart.