Novavax vaccine shows 89.3% efficacy in UK trails, less in South Africa

Novavax, a new coronavirus vaccine has shown to be 89.3% effective in large-scale trials in the United Kingdom.

The jab has also shown effectiveness against the new variant discovered in the UK.

The UK has secured 60 million doses of the jab, which will be made in Stockton-on-Tees in north-east England.

The doses are expected to be delivered in the second half of this year, if approved for use by the Medicines and Healthcare Products Regulatory Agency (MHRA), the government said.

The Novavax jab, which is given in two doses, was shown to be 89.3% effective at preventing Covid-19 in participants in its Phase 3 clinical trial in the UK.

The Phase 3 trials enrolled more than 15,000 people aged between 18-84, of whom 27% were older than 65, US firm Novavax said.

Stan Erck, chief executive of Novavax, said the results from the UK trial were “spectacular” and “as good as we could have hoped”, while the efficacy in South Africa was about 60% “above people’s expectations”.

The company hopes to get approvals by March or April for mass use.

Health Secretary Matt Hancock said the new vaccine would be “another weapon in our arsenal to beat this awful virus”, if approved.

Thanking researchers and volunteers who took part in the trials, he added: “I’m proud the UK is at the forefront of another medical breakthrough.”

Prof Paul Heath, chief investigator of the UK Novavax trial, said the findings of the clinical trials were “enormously exciting findings”, particularly because of the jab’s efficacy against the UK variant.

Peter Openshaw, professor of experimental medicine at Imperial College London, said the findings that the vaccine gave high levels of protection in the UK part of the trial were “excellent” but that the lower level of protection seen in South Africa was “a concern”.