New Covid vaccine, tested at UW, en route for approval
The Food and Drug Administration has authorized the use of a Novavax Covid-19 vaccine for adults 18 and older. The vaccine was tested at the University of Washington School of Medicine for emergency use.
The vaccine is protein based and could soon be available to the American public, if the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention gives the final thumbs up.
“It's a vaccine that is more like traditional vaccines for hepatitis B or human papillomavirus,” said Dr. Scott McClelland, professor of medicine at the University of Washington School of Medicine. “There are over 40 countries that have already approved use of the Novavax vaccine, so it’s in use in a lot of places.”
UW Medicine's Virology Research Clinic was one of several sites throughout the U.S. and Mexico that were part of the vaccine trial. Nearly 500 patients were part of the phase 3 trial through UW.
“The primary results [of the trial] showed overall 90% efficacy at preventing any symptomatic infection,” McClelland said. “But like the other vaccines, we expect some decrease in the effectiveness as the variants get further and further from the original protein that the vaccine was developed for.”
The Novavax vaccine can be stored at refrigerator temperatures, instead of the freezing temps required for the mRNA vaccines.
Dr. McClellan adds that side effects for the Novavax Covid vaccine were similar to those for other Covid vaccines, such as Pfizer and Moderna. Most common were sore arms and headaches. Myocarditis occurred in both vaccine and placebo recipients (in the .005-.007% range).
“But it's something that certainly the FDA will be continuing to watch for as the vaccine goes to more people," McClellan said.
Myocarditis has been a concern expressed by the vaccine hesitant, but it is important to note that a Covid infection has a much higher risk of myocarditis than any vaccine.