By Manas Mishra and Carl O’Donnell
Novavax Inc announced on Tuesday that its experimental vaccine for Covid-19 produced antibodies against the new coronavirus and appears to be safe, according to initial data obtained in an initial small-scale clinical study.
The Maryland-based biotechnology company said that its vaccine candidate, NVX-CoV2373, produced higher levels of antibodies in healthy volunteers after two doses than those found in patients recovered from Covid-19, raising hopes for its eventual success.
Combined use with the Matrix-M adjuvant, a substance designed to boost the body’s immune response, heightened the effect of the vaccine in the study, the company said.
Effective vaccines and treatments are considered essential to contain the pandemic that has killed more than 695,000 people worldwide.
Novavax’s chief research officer, Gregory Glenn, told Reuters that the company will start much larger advanced-stage clinical trials soon and could potentially collect enough data to obtain regulatory approvals as early as December.
The United States government agreed in July to pay $ 1.6 billion to Novavax to help cover costs related to vaccine testing and manufacturing, with the goal of getting 100 million doses in January 2021.
(Reporting by Julie Steenhuysen in Chicago, Carl O’Donnell in New York, and Manas Mishra in Bengaluru)
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