FDA advisory panel to consider approving fourth COVID-19 vaccine, this one from Maryland’s NovavaxA

FDA advisory panel to consider approving fourth COVID-19 vaccine, this one from Maryland’s NovavaxA

  • Health
  • June 7, 2022
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federal vaccine advisory committee meets Tuesday to decide whether Americans could soon get a fourth COVID-19 vaccine option. Development of the vaccine, from Novavax, a Gaithersburg, Maryland-based company, was started at the same time as others in 2020, but the company struggled to produce its shot in large quantities.A more traditional vaccine than some of the others, it might encourage some vaccine holdouts to get the shots, experts said. “There’s a lot of reasons that are not scientifically based for not having taken the vaccine (yet),” said Vivian Riefberg, a professor at the Darden School of Business at the University of Virginia. “This may convince some people because it’s traditional technology.”The Moderna and Pfizer-BioNTech shots, which have been given to three-quarters of the American population, are based on mRNA technology, which teaches the body to make the spike protein found on the surface of the coronavirus that causes COVID-19. Once the immune system recognizes the spike protein, it will attack the viral cells.The Novavax vaccine provides the spike protein directly, mass-produced in insect cells instead of the body, and delivered with an adjuvant that boosts its effectiveness. Such protein-based vaccines have been used to prevent hepatitis B, pertussis, pneumonia and meningococcal disease, among other diseases. (The J&J vaccine, which regulators have said should be a secondary choice after the mRNA shots, uses a harmless virus to deliver the same spike protein.)It’s unclear how many people will want to get vaccinated with the two-dose Novavax shots, after declining the other three.”I wouldn’t put it at zero,” said Prashant Yadav, a lecturer at Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health who studies healthcare supply chains.But in the United States, Novavax is more likely to eventually play a role as a booster.”There is this ongoing need, ongoing market, for a safe effective COVID vaccine into the foreseeable future,” John Trizzino, the company’s executive vice president, chief commercial officer and chief business officer, said in a recent call with media.Novavax is currently only asking for permission to provide its shots as a primary, two-dose vaccine to people who are not yet protected. The company will have to present more data to regulators before their vaccine can be offered as a booster.The Novavax vaccine is already available in more than 40 countries and is expected to be particularly useful in low- and middle-income countries, which may not have the freezer capacity required for long-term storage of the mRNA vaccines. Still, it’s important to authorize its use here, Yadav said.”We can’t go and tell the rest of the world that we are not going to use it in our country but you should use it

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