Canadian health regulators on Thursday approved use of Novavax’s Nuvaxovid, a Covid vaccine made using traditional protein-based technology rather than newer mRNA methods.
Nuvaxovid is the first protein subunit Covid vaccine authorized in Canada, which public health experts hope could convince some who are scared of mRNA vaccines to get the jab.
In January, Canada agreed to purchase 52 million doses of Nuvaxovid, with the option to purchase 24 million more doses, Novavax announced.
Nuvaxovid was 90.4% effective at preventing Covid infection and 100% effective at preventing serious symptoms during clinical trials, according to a study published December 15 in the New England Journal of Medicine.
Trials showed few severe side effects, the most common reactions being headache, nausea, muscle pain and joint stiffness, Novavax said.
Canada’s health department, which cleared the vaccine for people aged 18 and up, recommended two doses be administered 21 days apart, though provinces and territories will determine patients’ vaccination schedules.
While mRNA vaccines operate by teaching the cell to make a protein that stimulates immune response against a virus, protein subunit vaccines directly introduce harmless pieces of viral proteins to create an immune response. Though mRNA vaccines have been proven safe and effective, conspiracy theories claim that they are inadequately tested, cause infertility, alter DNA or promote Covid infection. Because of this, it’s hoped that protein-based vaccines like Nuvaxovid will help reduce vaccine hesitancy. Nuvaxovid has received conditional authorization from regulatory agencies including the European Commission and the World Health Organization, and was submitted for U.S. Food and Drug Administration authorization January 31. Novavax CEO Stanley Erck speculated that the FDA could authorize the vaccine in February, though the FDA said it could not foresee how long it would take to complete an evaluation. Novavax is contracted to deliver about 2 billion doses of its vaccine worldwide, Erck said in January.
80 million. That’s about how many people in the U.S. have not yet received a single dose of Covid vaccine in the U.S., according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
“If Approved, The Novavax Covid-19 Vaccine Could Help Reduce Vaccine Hesitancy In The U.S.” (Forbes)
“Novavax Asks FDA To Authorize Its Non-mRNA Covid Vaccine” (Forbes)