Novavax will begin final-stage trial of its COVID-19 vaccine candidate, enrolling around 30,000 participants in the US and Mexico, federal health officials said.
The Maryland-based company will test the shot, known as NVX-CoV2373. at 115 sites, according to the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases.
“The launch of this study — the fifth investigational COVID-19 vaccine candidate to be tested in a Phase 3 trial in the United States — demonstrates our resolve to end the pandemic through development of multiple safe and effective vaccines,” Dr. Anthony Fauci, who is director of the agency, said in a statement Monday.
The vaccine maker is already carrying out Phase 3 trials in the United Kingdom, where enrollment was completed last month.
Novavax CEO Stan Erck said the UK trials will show whether the vaccine is as effective as the others already on the market in the US.
“We don’t know until we know,” Erck told Bloomberg TV, adding that they “expect similar results.”
The vaccine involves a manufactured version of the virus’ spike proteins, which is reproduced in insect cells then purified and injected into the human body, prompting antibody production.
If the shot is effective, it could be distributed to standard supply chains at refrigerator temperatures, unlike other vaccine candidates, which needed to be stored in specialized fridges, CBS reported.