Novavax, the obscure company from Maryland that received a $1.6 billion deal from the government for its experimental coronavirus vaccine, announced encouraging results in two of its preliminary studies. In the first study, 56 volunteers were found to have produced a high amount of antibodies with no dangerous side effects. In the other, the researchers discovered that the vaccine seemed to protect monkeys from infection of the virus. A virologist at Columbia University, Angela Rasmussen, called them ‘encouraging preliminary results’, but stated that it wouldn’t be possible to say whether the vaccine is safe and effective until a study is carried out on a larger scale using a placebo.
The company, which has never before brought a vaccine to market, has said that if its vaccine is shown to be effective it can produce 100 million doses by the beginning of next year. Following this, the government will also provide money to undertake manufacturing of millions more doses.
Novavax’s vaccine is one of over two dozen products to be entering the first trial of tests in people, also known as Phase 1. There are 5 other coronavirus vaccines in Phase 3 trials, where thousands of people are being tested.