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Coronavirus Vaccine Maker Has Promising Results From Early Trial

Patch logo Patch 8/7/2020 Alessia Grunberger
Novavax, a Gaithersburg-based coronavirus vaccine developer, has released some promising results from early trials in humans. © Shutterstock Novavax, a Gaithersburg-based coronavirus vaccine developer, has released some promising results from early trials in humans.

GAITHERSBURG, MD — A Gaithersburg-based vaccine developer has released some promising results from early trials in humans.

Novavax Inc. said in a press release that its coronavirus vaccine candidate — called NVX-CoV2373 — generated antibodies to fight the virus and was "generally well-tolerated" in healthy adults.

The phase one trial involved 131 participants between the ages of 18 and 59. It assessed two dose sizes — 5 and 25 micrograms — with and without a Matrix-M adjuvant (sometimes drug makers use adjuvants in vaccines to enhance immune responses).

Volunteers either received:

  • A placebo
  • One 25-microgram dose of the vaccine, plus the adjuvant
  • Two 25-microgram doses of the vaccine, plus the adjuvant
  • Two 5-microgram doses of the vaccine, plus the adjuvant
  • Two 25-microgram doses of the vaccine, no adjuvant

A visual can be found on page six of Novavax's PowerPoint presentation.

According to researchers, none of the participants had a severe reaction to the vaccine. Some, however, did experience side effects, such as tenderness, pain, and fatigue — which disappeared after a couple days.

Researchers also found that the vaccine, coupled with Matrix-M, "elicited robust antibody responses numerically superior to that seen in human convalescent sera," or people who have recovered from the new coronavirus.

Even with this promising data, it is too early to determine the how effective the vaccine candidate is until a large-scale study is conducted.

The data for phase one have been submitted to a scientific journal for peer-review.

Last month, Novavax was awarded $1.6 billion by the federal government to expedite the development of a coronavirus vaccine.

The funds would cover the cost of producing 100 million doses of Novavax's vaccine candidate, which would be delivered by early 2021. It's the biggest deal to date from "Operation Warp Speed," the White House's COVID-19 vaccine program.

The United States has more coronavirus cases than any other country in the world, with 4,895,868 positive infections, according to data released Friday by Johns Hopkins University. The death toll now stands at 160,255.

In Maryland, health officials are reporting more than 93,000 cases and 3,400 deaths.

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