After the European authorities approved the vaccine on December 20 and the Standing Commission on Vaccination (Stiko) also recommended it for adults at the beginning of February, Novavax is now causing a stir with new results. According to the manufacturer, its vaccine against coronavirus has been successfully tested in adolescents between 12 and 17 years of age. However, the efficacy is somewhat behind previously approved vaccines.
It was a Phase 3 study conducted by the company itself, involving 2247 adolescents between the ages of 12 and 17 in the United States, Novavax said in a press release Thursday afternoon (local time). The two doses of the vaccine were well tolerated, it said. Altogether one could determine an effectiveness of 82 per cent. Whether this means protection against a severe course or against the infection itself is not specified.
Nevertheless, the efficacy of the new protein-based vaccine from Novavax is thus somewhat below the results of the usual mRNA or vector vaccines. It should be noted, however, that the studies on both the Novavax agent and the other vaccines were conducted at a time when the delta, rather than the omicron, variant was predominant.
Novavax vaccine: mild side effects and courses after corona infection
In the press release, Novavax also reported rare side effects. In general, these had been pain at the injection site, fatigue or headache. The few confirmed Corona cases in the group of vaccinated adolescents have also been mild, the company further explained.
"We are encouraged by the results in this adolescent population given the ongoing need for alternative vaccine options," said the company's chief medical officer, Filip Dubovsky. The Novavax vaccine would represent a different technology than previously approved agents because of its protein base, which has been proven in other vaccines.
Within the next few weeks, Novavax said it would seek approval for this age group. The company also said it plans to begin clinical trials in younger age groups in the second quarter of 2022.
In Europe, the Novavax vaccine is already approved for adults, and approval is currently under review in the United States. There, only Biontech/Pfizer's Corona vaccine has been approved for adolescents so far. However, authorities and politicians worldwide hope that the Novavax vaccine could be of interest to people who are skeptical about vaccinations with the other already approved agents.
Photo by Piero Nigro