Novavax seeks COVID-19 vaccine use in India, Indonesia, the Philippines ahead of U.S.
A vial of the Phase 3 Novavax coronavirus vaccine is seen ready for use in the trial at St. George's University hospital in London Wednesday, Oct. 7, 2020. (AP Photo/Alastair Grant)
Lauran Neergaard, The Associated Press
Published Thursday, August 5, 2021 5:03PM EDT
Vaccine maker Novavax announced Thursday it has asked regulators in India, Indonesia and the Philippines to allow emergency use of its COVID-19 vaccine -- offering its shot to developing countries before vaccine-flush rich ones.
U.S.-based Novavax partnered with the Serum Institute of India to apply in the three countries, and plans later this month to also seek the World Health Organization review needed to be part of the COVAX global vaccine program.
Novavax CEO Stanley Erck called the submissions an “important step toward access to millions of doses of a safe and effective vaccine for countries with an urgent need to control the pandemic.”
The company announced it also plans to submit applications in Britain soon but not in the U.S. until late in the year.
The Novavax two-dose shot is made with lab-grown copies of the spike protein that coats the coronavirus. That's very different than other widely used vaccines that deliver genetic instructions for the body to make its own spike protein.
The Novavax shots are easier to store and transport than some other options, and have long been expected to play an important role in boosting supplies in poor countries desperate for more vaccine.
In June, Novavax announced the vaccine had proved about 90% effective against symptomatic COVID-19 in a study of nearly 30,000 people in the U.S. and Mexico. It also worked against variants circulating in those countries at the time. Side effects were mostly mild.
As for the highly contagious delta variant that now is circulating in much of the world, Novavax also announced Thursday that giving a booster six months after a second shot revved up virus-fighting antibodies that could tackle that mutant. Additional studies in Britain and elsewhere are testing if the Novavax shot could be used as a booster after other types of COVID-19 vaccines.
The Gaithersburg, Maryland, company said it was on track to produce up to 100 million doses a month by the end of the third quarter and 150 million doses a month by year's end.