“Nova” means “new” in Latin. Novavax Covid-19 is the vaccine. Just received an emergency use authorization (EUA), from the U.S. Food and Drug Administration.This is certainly a new concept. It’s new in that it’s not completely new. That could make a huge difference.
The FDA declared the EUA on July 13. This was after the FDA’s independent Vaccines & Related Biological Products Advisory Commission had voted in support of the authorization the week before, on June 7. The EUA applies to those aged 18 and over. Novavax Covid-19 vaccine is available to those who are able to get Costco cards or pierce or tattoo themselves. The Novavax vaccine now joins the Pfizer/BioNTech, Moderna, and Johnson & Johnson (J&J)/Janssen ones as Covid-19 vaccines available in the U.S. for adults.
The Novavax Covid-18 vaccine, which goes by the Scrabble-friendly trade name “Nuvaxovid,” has been authorized as a two-dose primary series given three weeks. roughly two Scaramuccis from each. Nuvaxovid was already Dec 2021, the European Union granted authorization to use this product.And Japan’s April Return. So the U.S. certainly ain’t going to be the first country to use the vaccine.
FDA relied heavily on ongoing results from a placebo-controlled, randomized, blinded study in which approximately 17,000 adults were vaccinated in the United States and Mexico. Another 8,300 received a saline substitute. The vaccine has prevented 17 Covid-19-related deaths, compared with 79 in those who received the placebo. This suggests that the vaccine is 90.4% effective at preventing moderate, severe, or mild cases. For those 65 years or older, the measured effectiveness was slightly lower at 78%. These clinical trial results were published before the omicron and delta variants of Covid-19 coronavirus arrived on the scene. Take these effectiveness numbers with a big pinch of salt.
The trial hasn’t raised any substantial safety concerns about the Novavax vaccine. Side effects most frequently reported were the same ones that have been observed with other Covid-19 vaccinations. These included irritation at the injection sites (e.g.. pain/tenderness/redness and swelling), as well as general symptoms like fatigue, muscle pain and headache, joint pain and nausea/vomiting. There was an increase in myocarditis and pericarditis. This is similar to what happened with other Covid-19 vaccinations. However, the risk of developing these conditions is much lower than that of myocarditis or pericarditis as a result of being infected by the Covid-19 Coronavirus.
While the other Covid-19 vaccines may have received more fanfare in the U.S. when they first rolled out back in late 2020 and early 2021, this new “new” vax is not simply more of the same. Rather, it’s different in several key ways:
Key difference 1: The Novavax Covid-19 vaccine does not use mRNA technology. Instead, it uses traditional vaccine technology.
The Moderna Covid-19 and Pfizer BioNTech vaccinations are made up of mRNA enclosed in lipoprotein capsules. These mRNA act as blueprints to allow cells to produce the severe acute respir syndrome coronavirus 2(SARS-CoV-2) spike protein. These spike proteins adorn the virus’s surface making it look like a spiky massageball or the end of a BDSM mace that your roommate accidentally discovered in your closet. Similarly, the J&J Covid-19 vaccine uses a modified adenovirus to bring instructions to your cells to make these spike proteins.
These vaccines will not change your DNA. As anonymous anti-vaccination social networking accounts and some people have claimed. They won’t make you grow extra arms, morph into a sheep, or suddenly like Justin Bieber’s song “Baby.” Again, they simply provide blueprints for get your cells to produce the spike protein for a limited amount of time so that your immune system can see these spike proteins and react in spike, so to speak.
These technologies have been under development by researchers for years. However, Moderna Covid-19 and Pfizer BioNTech were the first to receive EUAs (and subsequent FDA approvals). The J&J Covid-19 vaccine approach is similar to the approach recently used for the Ebola vaccine but is still different from what’s been used for more traditional vaccines. Some people might have been reluctant to receive any of the three Covid-19 vaccinations that are available since 2021, as they are still relatively new.
The same can’t be said about the Novavax one. The Novavax Covid-19 vaccine includes a combination of the actual SARS-CoV-2 spike protein and what’s called the Matrix-M adjuvant. Novavax produces the vaccine’s spike protein using insect cells. Including the actual protein from a virus is an approach that’s long been used for other vaccines such as the hepatitis B and pertussis vaccines. The Matrix-M is not a movie sequel staring Keanu Reeves and some peanut butter M&M’s. Instead, it is made of saponin extracts derived from the bark. Quillaja saponaria Soapbark (soapbark), trees, along with some cholesterol and phospholipids. Chile is the home of the soapbark tree. The Matrix-M is an adjuvant. This compound can increase your immune response to spike protein. It is not a new idea to include an adjuvant in vaccines. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.Since decades, vaccines have used various adjuvants like aluminum and MF59. Shingrix’s AS01B adjuvant (the recombinant herpes virus vaccine to prevent Shingles), contains QS-21. This is also a compound from the Chilean soapbark trees. So it’s not as if using a compound from the soapbark tree is completely new either, making this a case where the bark is not worse than the potential bite of the Covid-19 coronavirus.
Key difference 2: Novavax Covid-19 can be transported and stored in standard refrigeration
The components of Novavax Covid-19 vaccine, unlike the fragile mRNA are more resilient. Standard refrigeration is sufficient for most vaccines, unlike the ultra-cold conditions required for Moderna Covid-19 and BioNTech. It can be much easier to transport, store and administer Novavax Covid-19 vaccine. It can help reach locations that don’t have the resources to maintain special freezers.
Key Difference 3 Novavax Covid-19 vaccine allows for more heterologous boosting.
This could be another example of the good news being different. I’ve covered for ForbesDecember 2021Mixing and matching vaccine types can be a great way to get the most out of your Covid-19 boosters and primary series. Heterologous boost is when the booster used in the primary series is not the same as the booster used in the secondary series. You can strengthen your immune response by exposing it to the SARS/CoV-2 in different ways. This is similar to dating different types of people that can help you recognize a douchebag and a Harley Quinn. That’s assuming that you don’t want a douchebag or a Harley Quinn. While the Pfizer/BioNTech and Moderna mainly differ in the amount of mRNA they contain and the mRNA vaccine differ from the J&J vaccine in the ways they get your cells to produce the spike proteins, the Novavax Covid-19 vaccine is even more different from all three. It would be beneficial to compare different mix-and-match strategies with the Novavax Covid-19 vaccination.
The FDA has so far only approved the Novavax Covid-19 primary series and not boosters. Novavax, however, has been in discussions with the FDA about using its vaccine to boost other Covid-19 vaccines. The FDA would approve this booster option, which would open up more heterologous booster opportunities. You may get a boost from the Novavax Covid-19 vaccination in a matter of days.
Novavax’s imminent arrival could be very good news. This could not only help more people get vaccinated but it may also be a heterologous booster option. It’s a reminder that more different Covid-19 vaccines are needed as well. Because there are currently Covid-19 vaccinations on the market, research and development of new Covid-19 vaccins should not slow down or stop. Competition and variety are great for innovation, which leads to better products. After all, you wouldn’t tell all manufacturers to stop designing new footwear simply because Crocs and Ugg Boots have already been on the market.