Andrew Neil criticises France’s vaccine rollout
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More than 32 million people have already received their first Covid vaccine dose to date in the UK. However, the vaccine candidate developed by American vaccine development company Novavax could be integral to the country’s ongoing successful vaccine rollout programme. The UK Government has secured 60 million doses of the Novavax vaccine which, administered in two doses, is enough to vaccinate 30 million people.
When will Novavax be approved in the UK?
The Novavax vaccine has not yet been approved by the Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency (MHRA).
However, the vaccine could be approved soon, as early results from trials show the vaccine to be safe and effective.
The Novavax vaccine is currently being used in a UK study investigating the efficacy of using two different Covid vaccines.
The Com-Cov study is investigating whether giving a first dose of one vaccine followed by a second dose of another vaccine prompts an immune response as strong as if two doses of the same vaccine were administered.
Matthew Snape, associate professor in paediatrics and vaccinology at the University of Oxford and chief investigator on the trial, said: “The focus of both this and the original Com-Cov study is to explore whether the multiple COVID-19 vaccines that are available can be used more flexibly, with different vaccines being used for the first and second dose.
“If we can show that these mixed schedules generate an immune response that is as good as the standard schedules, and without a significant increase in the vaccine reactions, this will potentially allow more people to complete their COVID-19 immunisation course more rapidly.
“This would also create resilience within the system in the event of a shortfall in availability of any of the vaccines in use.”
How effective is the Novavax vaccine?
The Novavax vaccine is different to the other Covid vaccines approved for use so far in the UK.
The Moderna and Pfizer vaccines are forms of messenger (mRNA vaccines).
The Moderna vaccine uses a fragment of the genetic code of coronavirus, which helps to train the body in the case of a real infection in the future.
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However, viral vector vaccines work differently as they use a modified version of a different virus to deliver instructions to cells within the human body.
The Oxford/AstraZeneca vaccine uses a chimpanzee common cold viral vector known as ChAdOx1.
The way the Novavax vaccine works is by combining an engineered protein from the virus which causes COVID-19 with a plant-based carrier, which then prompts the immune system directly.
In March, Novavax announced a final analysis of its UK trial confirms strong efficacy against the original COVID-19 strain and the UK variant of the virus.
The study enrolled more than 15,000 participants between 18 to 84 years of age, including 27 percent over the age of 65.
Efficacy was 96.4 percent against the original virus strain and 86.3 percent against the B.1.1.7/501Y.V1 variant circulating in the UK.
However, the Novavax vaccine did not show as strong efficacy against the variant first identified in South Africa.
The results of the Phase 2b trial in South Africa showed an efficacy of 48.6 percent against predominantly variant strains.
However, across both trials, protection against severe disease was 100 percent.
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