Experts say the Novavax Covid vaccine, which may be just days away from approval in the UK, may be safer for children than current UK vaccines.
It is hoped that the US vaccine – which uses tried-and-true vaccine technology and is manufactured in Teeside – can reduce frequency and boost uptake in children.
The UK government already has 60 million doses of Novavax on demand and trials show it to be 96 per cent effective in adults.
But it has been conclusively proven to cause fewer side effects compared to those caused by Pfizer, Moderna or even AstraZeneca vaccines.
The vaccine, scientifically known as NVX-CoV2373, would be the UK’s first approved dose of protein, if given the go-ahead.
Protein vaccines are already being given to children to prevent influenza, meningitis, and hepatitis.
Experts told MailOnline that approval of the vaccine could pave the way for the vaccine to be released to children, as well as encourage reluctance to offer the vaccine.
The final study data was submitted to the Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency (MHRA) last month and approval is expected within days.
Novavax injection, known officially as NVX-CoV2373, would be the first approved protein dose in the UK, if given the go-ahead. Protein vaccines are already being given to children to prevent influenza, meningitis and hepatitis
Other injections against Covid that are already approved in the UK are viral vector vaccines made with the common cold virus (AstraZeneca), or an enzyme-made mRNA vaccine (Pfizer and Moderna).
Novavax’s contains proteins that mimic the mutations of the coronavirus, causing the body to produce antibodies to fight infection.
If the body encounters coronavirus in the future, the body is prepared to fend off it.
The injection is given in two doses every 21 days apart. Unlike other hits that must be stored at extremely cold temperatures, Novavax can be kept in a regular refrigerator for up to three months.
Everything you need to know about the Novavax Covid vaccine that has prevented more than 90% of people from falling
How does the vaccine work?
Novavax works like other vaccines by teaching the immune system to make antibodies to the coronavirus spike protein.
The researchers inserted a modified gene into a virus called a bacteriophage, and allowed it to infect insect cells.
Spike proteins from these cells were then assembled into nanoparticles which, while looking like a coronavirus, cannot replicate or cause Covid-19. These nanoparticles are then injected into the body via the vaccine as the immune system mounts an antibody response.
If the body encounters coronavirus in the future, the body is prepared to fend off it. The vaccine is given in two doses.
Are there advantages to the Novavax vaccine?
Yes really. While jabs from Pfizer/BioNTech and Moderna should be kept at extremely low temperatures, Novavax jab is stable for up to three months in a regular refrigerator.
How effective is the vaccine?
According to the results of phase 3 trials, the vaccine provides 100 percent protection against severe disease, including all hospitalizations and death.
It is 86 percent effective against the alpha variant (Kent) and 100 percent effective in preventing cases caused by the original strain of coronavirus.
Is Novavax Vaccine Approved?
not yet. The UK Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency is reviewing the data on the jab.
In the United States, the data will be examined by regulators at the Food and Drug Administration after Novavax has applied for an emergency use authorization.
Maryland-based Novavax Phase III has found more than 15,000 people in the UK The vaccine has a efficacy of 96.4 against mild, moderate and severe illness caused by the original coronavirus strain.
Meanwhile, a trial of the vaccine on 30,000 people in the United States and Mexico found that it offered 100 percent protection against moderate to severe disease.
Protein vaccines already in use include the hepatitis B and meningitis vaccines, which are routinely given to newborns.
Vaccines currently used in the UK have saved thousands of lives, while hHealth chiefs said launching the program to children would help keep them in school classrooms.
More than a million students were forced to miss school in one week in England in July due to the virus.
But one in 10 over 18s in England has not had their first dose by November 18.
Absorption among those aged 12 to 15 years was only 38.4 percent, while 63.9 percent of children aged 16 to 17 years had a first dose.
The small risk that the virus poses to children, as well as concerns about myocarditis after vaccination, are thought to be factors behind its low absorption.
Data from the Joint Committee on Vaccination and Immunization shows that up to one in 56,000 people aged 12 to 15 years will develop myocarditis after the first Covid vaccine.
AstraZeneca and Jannsen have been linked to blood clots in young adults.
But Novavax’s trial data shows that the vaccine caused only mild, short-lived side effects, with no serious adverse effects.
Her study did not include people under the age of 18 and was not old enough to recognize any of the very rare side effects, but it did find that adults generally tolerate the vaccine well, with reported side effects being mild and short-lived.
But experts are hopeful the findings will remain strong when the punch is fired in the population.
Because the vaccine has fewer side effects than the current crop of injections used in the UK, Novavax could offer an alternative strategy for use in children that may avoid a very low risk of developing potentially serious side effects, Professor Neil Mabbott, chair of the Department of Immunology at the University of Edinburgh, told MailOnline. .
He said a similar protein-based technology has been used for years in routine childhood vaccines.
Professor Mabbott said: “This may help provide some reassurance of safety for those who have so far been reluctant to apply for their Covid vaccine.
This may also help alleviate parents’ concerns about the use of these vaccines in children. This could have a positive effect on the uptake of the vaccine.
He added: “It is important to note that serious side effects such as thrombosis and carditis after vaccination with mRNA-based Covid vaccines (Pfizer or Moderna) and adenoviruses (AstraZeneca or Janssen) were very rare.
The UK has ordered 60 million doses of Novavax. In total, Britain has ordered more than 400 million doses of eight different vaccines, but only four have been approved by the MHRA: AstraZeneca, Pfizer, Moderna and Janssen.
“Using these vaccines to prevent serious illness or death after infection with the coronavirus still outweighs the very low risk of side effects.”
But he noted that the approval of the Novavax vaccine “could have a positive effect on the uptake of the vaccine by encouraging as many people as possible to fully vaccinate against the Corona virus.”
MHR Decides whether any vaccine will be approved based on safety, quality, and efficacy data.
The agency said it could not advise when it expected a decision due to commercial confidentiality.
Dr Michael Head, a senior research fellow in Global Health at the University of Southampton, told MailOnline: “The approval of a new vaccine would be excellent news.
The publicly available data on Novavax looks very promising, both in terms of efficacy, but also more importantly in terms of safety.
The current COVID-19 vaccines are excellent. However, if more people can be persuaded to vaccinate because Novavax is a “tried and tested” approach to developing a vaccine, then that could be a good thing.
Dr Alexander Edwards, associate professor of biomedical technology at the University of Reading, told MailOnline that the Novavax vaccine is ‘very exciting’ because it is made differently from other Covid baits used in the UK and contains very different ingredients.
“The more different tools we have to reduce the damage caused by Covid, the better,” he said.
All vaccines stimulate antibody responses that effectively neutralize the virus, stopping it from growing in our bodies – the most important benefit being an impressively reduced risk of serious disease.
“But it also helps slow the spread, so vaccination protects you but also helps others.”