New Omicron-specific vaccine to be ready by January, Novavax

December 6, 2021
New Omicron-specific vaccine to be ready by January, Novavax

Biotechnology company Novavax Inc. (Novavax) anticipates developing and mass manufacturing an Omicron-specific COVID-19 vaccine as soon as January next year. Different from current mRNA vaccines, Novavax’s new protein subunit vaccine involves engineering host cells – from a moth – to produce large quantities of the SARS-CoV-2 spike protein. These proteins are then harvested and shaped into a structure that resembles a coronavirus.

Novavax is simultaneously testing whether antibodies generated by its current iteration (NVX-CoV2373) can neutralise the Omicron variant.

“The initial steps required to manufacture an Omicron-specific spike are underway and Good Manufacturing Practices (GMP) manufacturing in a commercial facility is anticipated in January 2022,” the company statement says. “Lab-based assessment of a new strain-matched nanoparticle vaccine will begin within a few weeks.”

Novavax also notes its clinical trial data demonstrates the current iteration of the vaccine working very well against all circulating variants of concern, including Alpha, Beta and Delta. While Omicron displays a collection of unique mutations, it also shares a number of mutations with previous variants – Novavax is optimistic its current vaccine will still be effective; and has indicated it would be prioritising regulatory submissions to countries with urgent need for the vaccine.

Category: Features, Pharmaceuticals

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