Novavax: How well does the new vaccine really work against the omicron wave?
Created: 01/18/2022, 02:42 p.m
By: Martina Lippl
Novavax's new corona vaccine is called Nuvaxovid (NVX-CoV2373).
The Corona vaccine Nuvaxovid from Novavax will be available in Germany in February.
But does the "inactivated vaccine" work against omicron?
Berlin – The Novavax vaccine is the fifth approved vaccine against corona in the EU and also in Germany.
The Covid vaccine is a new type - a protein-based vaccine and works in a similar way to flu vaccines.
But does the new vaccine also work for Omikron?
Nuvaxovid from Novavax: This is how the corona vaccine works
Novavax's Nuvaxovid (NVX-CoV2373) is an alternative for people who don't want mRNA vaccines or a vector vaccine. Novavax's protein vaccine is often referred to as "an inactivated vaccine". However, Nuvaxoid is only a dead vaccine in a broader sense: the vaccine contains tiny laboratory-made spike proteins of the coronavirus. Inoculated into the arm, these coronavirus particles are intended to stimulate the immune system to produce antibodies. As already mentioned, the components of the coronavirus are bred in the laboratory and produced in insect cultures. These particles are therefore not alive, do not contain any pathogens that can multiply themselves or cause disease. The mRNA and vector vaccines also do not contain any reproducible viruses and "can be equated with dead vaccines".explains the Robert Koch Institute (RKI).
Novavax vaccine needs an potentiator
However, the protein vaccine needs an effect enhancer - a so-called adjuvant - to boost the immune response in the body.
Adjuvants can be aluminum salts (alum), but also oil-in-water emulsions.
Novavax uses a new form of adjuncts made from saponins - from a soap tree extract reports
Although saponins have been used in potency enhancers for years, they are used here in the form of nanoparticles.
The US pharmaceutical company developed "Matrix-M1" itself and has not yet approved it in any other vaccine.
One vaccine dose of Novaxovid contains five micrograms of antigen and 50 micrograms of the enhancer.
"If someone does not tolerate the currently available vaccines, then the new protein vaccine is an option," said Thomas Mertens, chairman of the Standing Vaccination Committee (Stiko).
And further: "But one should also consider that we do not yet know as much about the new vaccine from Novavax, which also contains an immune booster, a so-called adjuvant, as we do about the vaccines that have been in widespread use for a long time."
Corona: Approved Covid vaccines in Germany (as of January 18, 2022)
Vaxzevria/ Covid-19 vaccine Astrazeneca
Covid-19 Vacine Janssen
Janssen-Cilag/Johnson and Johnson
Does Novavax work against Corona?
According to the approval study, Nuvaxovid works very well.
The probability of contracting Covid-19 has been reduced by up to 90 percent.
According to the company, the risk of a severe course with a full vaccination (two vaccination doses within three weeks) is reduced.
The effectiveness for protection against symptomatic infections was given by the EU medicines authority EMA at around 90 percent.
The data is based on studies in the USA and Mexico for a period in which Alpha, Beta and Delta were circulating.
Does the Novavax protein vaccine work against omicron?
How strong Novavax works against the omicron variant is initially unclear.
The protein vaccine is based on the wild type of the Sars-CoV-2 coronavirus.
The US company itself is confident, pointing out before Christmas that a third dose - a booster - would result in an increased immune response.
The pharmaceutical company also announces that it will develop an Omicron-adapted vaccine.
Health Minister Karl Lauterbach (SPD) expressed caution at a press conference on Friday (January 14, 2022).
He himself could not assess the value of the Omicron variant well.
But he assumes that the vaccine should work well.
Vaccinations with it would be recommended.
So does Nuvaxovid work against the omicron variant? According to World Health Information (WHO), there is currently insufficient data available. Can the protein vaccine prevent infection and transmission? According to the WHO, there is currently insufficient evidence for the Novavax vaccine to assess the vaccine's impact on transmission - as of January 18, 2022. However, the recommendation will be updated as new information becomes available, the website said.
According to immunologists, the Novavax vaccine is also suitable for booster vaccinations.
"Everything that is known so far indicates that Novavax is probably a very good vaccine," said the Secretary General of the German Society for Immunology, Carsten Watzl, of the
"According to a British study, Novavax is not quite as effective as the mRNA vaccines for booster vaccinations, but it is significantly better than vector vaccines," said the Dortmund immunology professor.
Novoavax vaccination start in February in Germany
Corona vaccinations with the preparation from the US manufacturer Novavax are expected to start in Germany at the end of February.
The first delivery of 1.75 million doses should be available from February 21, as Federal Minister of Health Karl Lauterbach said on Friday with reference to company information in Berlin.
Exact dates for another 3.25 million doses that have been purchased have not yet been determined.
Anyone in Rhineland-Palatinate who would like to be vaccinated with the Novavax corona vaccine can register for it from Monday (January 24).
Registration is possible on the country's vaccination portal, reports the SWR.