The vaccine from Novavax, a company supported by the United States government, said yesterday (28) that its vaccine against covid-19 offers robust protection against the virus (the effectiveness has been evaluated at 90% in Britain). However, the manufacturer recognized that the immunizer is less effective against the rapidly spreading variant discovered in South Africa.
This could be another setback in the race to end the pandemic, especially in the United States, which reported the first two cases of the virus variant in that country, just hours before the Novavax announcement. Moderna and Pfizer also recognized a few days ago that their respective vaccines were also less effective against this new strain of the virus.
One of six vaccines to receive support from the Operation Warp Speed initiative, Novavax has conducted tests in Great Britain, South Africa, the United States and Mexico. According to the company, in the test carried out on 15,000 volunteers in Great Britain, the two-dose vaccine was almost 90% effective. However, in a small trial in South Africa, that rate dropped to less than 50%.
New highly contagious variants
Observing that three vaccines with tested efficacy did not perform as well against the variant known as B.1.351 is a discouraging element in the fight against coronavirus, especially when considering that many of the trial participants in South Africa were infected even after have contracted covid-19 previously.
With these announcements, all eyes in the world are on Johnson & Johnson, which should have announced its results as early as last week. Some speculate that the delay is due to the discovery that the vaccine’s effectiveness has also been lower in its tests in South Africa. But the company’s director, Alex Gorsky, said he is eager to share the results.
Amid these disappointments, many experts point out that there are reasons for optimism, as vaccines remain effective. According to these health officials, the best way to combat new contagious variants is to speed up vaccination to decrease the virus’s ability to infect more people and produce more mutations.