LONDON – American pharmaceutical company Novavax has started the advanced stage of testing its possible Covid-19 vaccine in the UK because the high level of coronavirus circulating in the country is likely to produce rapid results, the pharmaceutical company said.
Novavax plans to test the effectiveness of its vaccine in a trial involving 10,000 people between the ages of 18 and 84, according to a statement issued Thursday night. At least 25% of the subjects will be over the age of 65, and 400 participants will also receive a licensed flu vaccine.
The trial is being carried out in partnership with the UK government’s Vaccine Group, created in April to help accelerate the development of a Covd-19 remedy.
“With a high level of SARS-CoV-2 transmission observed and expected to continue in the UK, we are optimistic that phase 3 of this clinical trial will deliver results quickly and provide a short-term view of efficacy (of the vaccine), “Dr. Gregory M. Glenn, Novavax’s head of research and development, said in the statement.
The announcement comes as Covid-19 cases continue to rise across the UK. The government reported 6,634 new cases on Thursday, the highest daily number in the country since the pandemic began. Britain has the deadliest outbreak in Europe, with almost 42,000 confirmed deaths from this disease.
Drug makers are rushing to develop Covid-19 vaccines with the backing of governments desperate to find a way to ease the restrictions that have hit the global economy.
The UK has already agreed to buy 60 million doses of the Novavax vaccine to ensure that it can be distributed as quickly as possible if it is approved by regulators.
Several other large pharmaceutical companies, including AstraZeneca, Moderna and Pfizer, have already published the protocols for their trials.