European Union approves Novavax COVID-19 vaccine 

After showing strong results and high levels of safety in clinical trials, the EU has approved the Novavax COVID-19 vaccines, making it the fifth to be authorized for use in the bloc. 

So far, Novavax has been approved in Indonesia and the Philippines, and the company has filed for approval in India, Australia, New Zealand, the UK, Canada, and with the World Health Organization. It also hopes to submit an application with the FDA by the end of the year. 

Now, the European Medicines Agency (EMA) has approved it, making it the fifth vaccine in the EU after Pfizer/BioNTech, AstraZeneca/Oxford, Moderna, and Johnson & Johnson.

What is the Novavax vaccine? 

The manufacturer, Nuvaxovid, claims that this vaccine could help win over individuals that are hesitant or skeptical over other COVID-19 vaccines because it uses more conventional technology than the newer mRNA or viral vector options.

Novavax uses a “subunit” protein that contains small amounts of a purified pathogen. This then triggers an immune response in the patient. 

It works in a similar way to vaccines like hepatitis B and pertussis, which have been in use for decades. Additionally, it doesn’t need to be stored at ultra-low temperatures. 

Pfizer and Moderna use messenger RNA (mRNA) technology, which is a much newer technology that uses strands of genetic instructions that tell the cells how to make antibodies that will fight against the infection. 

The Johnson & Johnson and AstraZeneca vaccines use viral vector technology. This uses a type of modified adenovirus to carry genetic information to the cells. 

Both these vaccines have been found to be safe, but there have been rare cases of serious side effects like blood clots and heart inflammation. 

Novavax’s CEO, Stanley C. Erck, has argued his company’s vaccine “could help overcome key barriers to global vaccination, including the challenges of global distribution and vaccine hesitancy”, 

Reports show Novavax has 90.4% efficacy against the disease and 100% efficacy against severe to moderate cases.

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