The fight against COVID-19 has reached a new milestone with the first human trials of a vaccine in the Southern Hemisphere beginning today.
Stanley C. Erck, the CEO and president of Novavax, said in a statement, “administering our vaccine in the first participants of this clinical trial is a significant achievement, bringing us one step closer toward addressing the fundamental need for a vaccine in the fight against the global COVID-19 pandemic.”
With hopes for results as early as July, it’s a massive achievement. But what does the vaccine do, and what will it mean for members of the community?
According to Forbes, Novavax is developing a ‘subunit’ vaccine – “which sends copies of the virus’s spike protein directly into the body to stimulate an immune response.” Apparently, it’s an established technology that’s already used against diseases like HPV, Hepatitis B and shingles.
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Novavax isn’t the only biotech company racing for a COVID-19 vaccine. Forbes reports that Moderna and BioNTech (in partnership with Pfizer) have also begun trials but both companies are developing mRNA vaccines, “a new type of vaccine that’s still unproven.”
The Australian Financial Review states that Novavax began development on their drug in January this year. While they made “30 different constructs” of it, the final trial drug was selected for its “stability, immunogenicity, and because it can be scaled up in a big way. “
Forbes adds that “if the results are positive, the company says it will immediately move into the next phase of testing at sites around the world.”
The human trials of a COVID-19 vaccine is a huge breakthrough for those working tirelessly at the forefront of this deadly virus. Here’s hoping it’s a success.
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