Shot Number Four

A New Type of COVID Vaccine Is 90 Percent Effective

Novavax doesn't use the mRNA technology found in the Pfizer and Moderna vaccines.

Jun 14 / Dan Robitzski
Futurism
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The pharmaceutical company Novavax announced that its COVID-19 vaccine is 90 percent effective, potentially making it a powerful additional tool in the global fight to stop the coronavirus pandemic.

Novavax uses a different kind of technology than the Moderna and Pfizer vaccines that have already been distributed to much of the country, The Verge reports. Instead of using mRNA to instruct the immune system on how to fight off the coronavirus, the Novavax vaccine exposes the immune system to pieces of the virus’ spike protein so that it can prepare antibodies in advance.

Novavax plans to submit its vaccine to the FDA for authorization this fall but it may run into roadblocks inadvertently caused by Pfizer and Moderna, according to The Verge. The two companies are vying for full approval from the regulatory agency. If either gets it, the accelerated emergency authorization pathway that they used to get their shots into people’s arms sooner would be taken away from any vaccines that come after — Novavax included.

If the FDA does approve the Novavax vaccine in some shape or form, we may witness an interesting moment in the battle against medical misinformation.

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A great deal of the fearmongering myths surrounding the coronavirus vaccines that we have today have focused on the fact that mRNA technology is comparatively new; bad actors have spouted nonsense about the vaccines somehow altering people’s genetic code. Therefore, there’s a glimmer of hope that approving and offering a vaccine that uses a different underlying technology might inspire some of the vaccine-hesitant folks out there to actually get inoculated. Of course, anti-vaxxers posed a serious societal threat long before the COVID-19 pandemic and will probably continue to be a problem well into the future, so we may simply find ourselves combatting all-new conspiracy theories and medical misinformation instead.

Still, all anti-vaxxer speculation aside, the new Novavax data is great news for the battle against the coronavirus pandemic. Beyond from the obvious benefit of having more vaccine choices, The Verge notes that the pharmaceutical company has already cut a 1.1 billion dose deal with the global vaccine distribution program COVAX to help get more people in low-income countries vaccinated.


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