Covid-19 roundup: Novavax set to release its first vaccine batch in US; Switzerland to buy over 1200 doses of Evusheld
Novavax, which received the FDA’s emergency use approval for its Covid vaccine last week, is all set to release its first lot in the US soon, Reuters reported.
While the Novavax vaccine may soon be available, the question remains how many Americans will actually get the Novavax jab, as the CDC estimates that over 80% of Americans older than 5 have already received at least one dose of a Covid-19 vaccine.
Unlike the mRNA vaccines by Pfizer and Moderna, Novavax’s shot uses the conventional protein-based approach. Laboratory-built protein units of coronavirus made using recombinant nanoparticle technology are injected into people. This stimulates the immune system to develop high levels of neutralizing antibodies. Coming behind both the EUAs and subsequent approvals for Pfizer and Moderna’s vaccines, the EUA for Novavax doesn’t guarantee FDA approval for the vaccine. Johnson & Johnson’s Covid-19 shot, which had gotten an EUA in early 2021, was more or less pulled from the US following cases of rare blood clots.
Following the FDA’s EUA, the CDC also unanimously recommended the vaccine on Tuesday.
President Biden called the Novavax approval a step forward in US’ fight against the virus. “The science and data are clear: vaccines continue to protect people from serious illness, hospitalizations, and death—and with BA.5 increasing infections, it is essential that people get themselves and their kids vaccinated and stay up to date on their COVID-19 vaccinations,” said Biden in a press statement last week.
Swiss Government to buy AstraZeneca’s combination drug
Switzerland will purchase over 1,200 doses of AstraZeneca’s combination antibody treatment of tixagevimab/cilgavimab, marketed as Evusheld and used to prevent and treat Covid-19, the government said in a statement on Wednesday.
“This medicinal product has not yet received authorisation, but under the provisions of COVID-19 Ordinance 3, may be used in the treatment of COVID-19 patients while the authorisation procedure is ongoing,” the statement said. The drug, originally only for preventive use, has also been found to be effective in treating people who already have Covid-19, it added.
This is the Swiss government’s second contract with the British company to reserve the product.