A new vaccine has been approved by the CDC and the FDA, Novavax Covid-19 vaccine. It is a conventional vaccine that includes a coronavirus spike protein mixed with an adjuvant to amplify the immune response. This review discusses it in detail.
What is Novavax?
Novavax is a biotech company in the US that manufactures the Novavax vaccine. The healthcare provider gives this vaccine as two injections, 21 days apart. It has been proven to prevent moderate to severe Covid-19. The Novavax vaccine is a traditional vaccine model, similar to influenza and shingles vaccines. This is different from the mRNA’s presently used by existing anti Covid-19 vaccine manufacturers.
In what way is the Novavax vaccine different?
Pfizer and Moderna used messenger RNA technology to tell the body to make the spike protein of the SARS-CoV-2 virus. The body recognizes the spike protein as something that is a different protein and mounts an immune response against it. However, as new Covid-19 variants developed, the vaccination was only protecting from moderate to severe Covid-19 for 6 months. This is why the CDC and FDA introduced booster vaccinations.
The Novavax vaccine, however, does not use mRNA technology. Instead, it uses a stable form of spike proteins from SARS-CoV-2. In addition, it contains an adjuvant, which is a substance that amplifies the immune response. Novavax uses an adjuvant made from saponins. These occur naturally in the bark of the Soapbark tree native to Chile. The spike proteins of the vaccine cannot multiply the way a virus would, and it cannot cause Covid-19.
Effectivity of the Novavax vaccine
A phase 3, randomized, placebo-controlled trial was conducted in the US and Mexico. 19,714 received vaccine, 9868 were in the placebo group. In the course of 3 months there were 77 cases of Covid-19 in both groups, 14 among vaccine recipients and 63 in the placebo group. The vaccine efficacy was 90.4%. 10 moderate cases of Covid-19 and 4 severe cases occurred in the placebo group, none in the vaccinated group. This meant that there was a 100% efficacy of the vaccinated group for moderate and severe Covid-19. On July 22, 2022 the US government secured 3.2 million doses. Since the end of July 2022, the Novavax vaccine is available throughout the US. One of the advantages of the Novavax vaccine is that it stores between 2 and 8 degrees Celsius in a regular fridge. This is quite different from the mRNA vaccines, which require much cooler storage facilities.
Side effects of the Novavax vaccine
Studies showed that the Novavax vaccine has similar effects against Covid-19 as the Pfizer and the Moderna vaccines, but less side effects. Tenderness at the injection site and pain in general were common for a few days. Fatigue, muscle aches, headaches and malaise are also common. Less common side effects were a fever, nausea, vomiting and joint pains. After a few days all of these side effects disappeared.
One of the rare side effects is inflammation of the heart muscle and the sac around the heart. The medical diagnosis for this is myocarditis and pericarditis. According to the European Medicines Agency (EMA) these two rare conditions must be listed in the list of side effects.
There is a similar protein based anti-Covid vaccine that has been approved in Canada.
Novavax Covid-19 Vaccine
A new conventional vaccine against Covid-19 was developed. It is effective against all variants of Covid-19. Side effects are somewhat less when compared to the Pfizer and Moderna vaccines. The Novavax vaccine is a traditional vaccine model, similar to the influenza and shingles vaccines. It is different from what anti Covid-19 vaccine manufacturers use presently with the mRNA vaccines.
Composition of the Novavax vaccine
Instead, it uses a stable form of spike proteins from SARS-CoV-2. In addition, it contains an adjuvant, which is a substance that amplifies the immune response. Novavax uses an adjuvant made from saponins. These occur naturally in the bark of the Soapbark tree native to Chile. The spike proteins of the vaccine cannot multiply the way a virus would, and it cannot cause Covid-19. This vaccine is presently available in the US. Over 30 countries, including the United Kingdom, Australia, and Germany, approved this vaccine for emergency use. Time will tell whether the immune response lasts longer than the mRNA vaccines.